How Remote Work and Banking Tech Have Changed Branch Operations

As consumers embrace digital channels, financial institutions are adapting. Long-term trends of branch closures and consolidation have provided ample opportunity for organizations to rethink their branch strategy and operations for the future.

Although consumers visit brick-and-mortar locations less frequently than in the past, the in-person branch visit is still a vital part of the overall consumer experience.

The Most Satisfied Banking Customers Still Visit Their Local Branch

According to a report from Apptopia + Adjust, more than half of Americans have been making fewer branch visits since 2020. In fact, some have totally removed branch visits from their routines. Thanks to technological advancements and changing consumer habits, a growing segment of retail banking customers are “digital-only.” In other words, these consumers get all their banking needs met without ever stepping foot inside a bank branch.

For some, this may be ideal, but research shows that digital-only customers have the lowest average satisfaction levels. According to a 2020 study by J.D. Power, customer satisfaction tends to decline when customers transition from branch visits to digital-only banking relationships.

This is significant. While no one can deny the convenience of banking from our phones, research reveals that even occasional branch visits result in higher levels of consumer trust and satisfaction. People save their most complex and consequential transactions for in-person visits, which means banks need to make the most of these experiences.

Consumers expect a branch experience that is complementary to their digital banking habits. 

Working from Home and Blended Workspaces Have Become Commonplace

Banks and credit unions have more employees working from home than ever before. Although many of us are “getting back to the office,” it has become common for workers at financial institutions to have a blended or completely remote work arrangement.

Financial institutions that offer work-from-home or blended work positions gain access to a larger pool of talent, with more candidates placing value in the time and money they save from having fewer commutes. As banks adopt new branch strategies and designs, workspaces have become more adaptable.

But just like the consumer experience, staff also benefits from in-person interactions. Modern workspaces encourage the kind of team collaboration you can’t get on a Zoom call. A mix of open-air workspaces and private areas that promote focus can create a positive office environment, even among those who aren’t there every day.

A Modern Approach to Branch Strategy

Today’s branch network supports consumers and staff who rely on digital channels for engagement. That means financial institutions are delivering more services to more people with fewer branch visits than ever before. Remote workers are making substantial contributions without being in the office on a daily basis.

Even as entities merge and branches consolidate locations, the in-person customer experience is impactful, and for many consumers, a deciding factor. Consider how your branch strategy can adapt to the “new normal” and prepare for ongoing changes in preferences and technology.

NewGround helps financial institutions develop branch strategies based on actionable growth research. If you are looking for the insights you need to renew or strengthen your branch strategy, we can help.

We offer a Free Branch Growth Snapshot. If you want to get serious about strategy, reach out. In 7 days, we can develop your branch growth snapshot, giving you valuable insights into the most important decisions you can make for the future of your organization.


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