Author: Grace Durie
Time for the evolution of bank branches
Apple are one of the few brands acknowledged worldwide as genuinely revolutionary. After all, these are the people that have given us the iPod, the Mac and who, in 2007, singlehandedly redefined the way we looked at mobile phones forever.
However one of Apple’s brightest ideas has not been purely technological… they have given the world ‘the Genius Bar.’ The Genius bar is for those who have any iProduct and haven’t a clue how to use it… I remember my grandmother re-appearing from her hour long appointment with an Apple ‘genius’ and suddenly being our family’s resident iPad expert.
Living in a society, as we do, where technological innovations come thick and fast, a service such as this one is indispensable… Considering this, as I watched an eighty year old woman navigating her iPad with ease, my thoughts ran to what financial services providers could learn from this particular innovation of Apple’s. It is at this point that we should take a step back and think about just how much the banking industry has changed…
Over the last four years we have seen the number of channels available to banking consumers explode; with devices such as the smartphone, the tablet, the smart watch and even interactive glasses all on the map and all of these devices supporting banking apps. With the influence of the branch dwindling amongst the younger generations, perhaps a re think is due… maybe it is time for bank branches to evolve, to become ‘Genius Branches.’ I think the future for the branch lies in the ability to show customers the full functionality of all the digital channels that these institutions have to offer. Having a resident branch ‘genius’ or two, who could demonstrate any app on any platform, simultaneously demonstrating their banks evolution into digital and showing the older generation of customers how a smart watch banking app could be integrated into their everyday life. This would breathe new life into the branch, giving a whole new sense of purpose to a long standing institution that, in recent years, has somewhat lost its place.
In order for branches to survive the digital revolution they must become integrated into a financial institution’s framework as seamlessly as an app can integrate with a tablet and what better way than following the lead of a company who have not only profited from the new digital age, but are almost credited with its creation? And it seems so simple doesn’t it, but will the Genius Branch catch on?