Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Are bank branches becoming obsolete?


Great article by Brett King;  But I dont fully agree ; Here are my thoughts

Brett - I think as you have pointed out internet and mobile technology have greatly changed customers' banking experience. Yes , there has been a big drop in customer traffic as also banks have closed a lot of their branches. But I am not sure that this is due to customers moving away from branches. Here are some of my thoughts -
a) BoFa, HSBC and JPMC have closed their branches or have put off plans for branch expansion; this is largely due to the economy ; Branches are the first casualty in cost reduction;

b) In Europe and UK in particular, the conditions are not that different. Overall bank profitability is in the dumps.

c) Overall branch activity in the last 3 years or so has been on the decline due to a variety of reasons - most important being credit contraction. 

d) Branch traffic is also geographical; warmer states see more people going to branches to transact business

e) As you have pointed out, branches continue to provide great cross sell opportunities to the banks.

I think given all this, I certainly do not believe branches will be history; Yes , banks will continue to close them in poor economy; Will they open more branches if the economy improve - well I don't know; But certainly we have not seen the last days of branch banking;

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