One bank marketing exec points out: 'if banks want to stay relevant, financial marketers need to stop selling and start problem-solving'.
So is the future of banking personalised customer service, a problem for many? Convenient service in neighborhood branches ('stores') has been fueling Metro Bank's UK growth since 2010. Metro Bank is poised for full-year profitability and has attracted 1 million customers with 48 branches.
As a 'challenger bank', Metro Bank is targeting individuals and businesses who aren't satisfied with the established banks. To induce switching, Metro Bank keeps its branches open 7 days, with extended hours for evening transactions. The branches look more like cheerful retail stores than stuffy banks. And it's connecting with customers on social media: Metro Bank has 13k Twitter followers and 24k LinkedIn followers.
Or is the future of banking in technology, speeding transactions without face-to-face service? Between more sophisticated cash machines and smartphone banking functionality, do customers want or need to visit a branch these days? Customer behaviour is shifting as more people adopt on-the-go banking using apps. Pockit is a startup financial services firm that offers app-based transactions such as remittances.
Sometimes cash is needed for everyday transactions. NCR, which makes video-capable ATMs, notes that such automation is 'a bank in a box', ideal for locations where a bank wants to serve its local customers, with or without a branch.