The financial services sector is transforming at a staggering pace, with smaller footprint ATMs and other technologies aimed at creating more efficient workflows. In a series of articles, American Banker magazine explored the motivations, application and outcomes of the current push toward smarter technological integration.
Contributor Penny Crosman highlighted the fact that more banks are looking to upgrade or update their existing technological infrastructure in an attempt to remain competitive and relevant. Among the big ticket items on bankers' lists for improvement are mobile wallet adoption, data management, adjusting the design and layout of branches, security and technologies that augment existing workflows.
In the coming year, nearly 6 in 10 bank executives indicated they plan on adding to their technology budgets, while one-third indicated they'd maintain the same spending levels. A significant number of these financial services leaders are doing so to improve their revenue streams, increase efficiency and comply with new regulations.
"Bank branches are still the No. 1 source of revenue for financial institutions."
In a separate article for American Banker, Mary Wisniewski explained that in spite of the publicity surrounding mobile banking, a number of financial organizations are planning to upgrade their branches. But that doesn't mean they're going to expand in size. Similar to the retail industry where big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart have begun experimenting with smaller store formats, banks are aiming for locations with reduced physical footprints that more effectively take advantage of modern technology.
It's important to keep in mind that bank branches are still the No. 1 source of revenue for these institutions, but there's obviously going to be a period of adjustment as financial services providers adjust to the needs of today's digital consumers. New technologies aimed at improving customers' experiences are building off what many banks have already done in the past. Installing multi-functional ATMs that effectively eliminate many of the redundant tasks that tellers had previously been responsible for carrying out are being automated with more efficient bank equipment. For instance, modern ATMs can accomplish almost every task that a consumer needs in terms of account management.
Cummins Allison's full-function island model ATMs provide banking customers with both security and convenience while also integrating value-added services. Installed in a drive-up capacity, customers can access a number of functions, which are accomplished through a touch screen display that extends the services a branch provides and increases revenue. At the same time, small footprint ATMs facilitate the transition to sleeker bank formats by providing many of the same features of larger models, as well as robust security.
According to American Banker, customers are still more drawn to branches compared to other channels, like online or mobile banking. At the same time, these digital technologies influence expectations. To manage a variety of preferences, institutions are working to balance self-service and full-service branch features to ensure every customer's needs are met. Consequently, the footprint of in-lobby equipment can be adjusted to meet the demands of a specific branch's needs, while banks can increasingly look to drive-up models to perform many of the tasks tellers traditionally performed. This allows the institutions to allocate resources more effectively.
January 15, 2015