CBA Live Recap – Where Do Branches Go from Here?
At the beginning of the month, the Reflexis Banking Team joined industry leaders at CBA Live 2019 to explore new trends and developments in retail banking. One thing that struck us was that no one knows exactly what the future of branch banking will be. Topics of discussion ranged from shifting to a majority-digital model, to supporting CRA requirements and the impact of potential reforms, to redesigning branches as boutique consulting centers.
It seems like there’s still significant uncertainty about the role of branches, but from what we heard, some factors are consistent. Whether you’re growing market share by opening new branches or trying to optimize your current footprint, the key to continued success lies in being able to adapt and optimize staffing across all branches in the network with cutting edge tools for success.
Investing in Branches
Technology was a hot topic at the show; bankers identified investing in technology as a current top priority. Historically, banks have been quick to encourage customers to adopt the latest digital banking solutions, but slow to adopt branch or employee facing technology. In particular, we had a number of conversations with top banks that are bucking this trend and looking to mobile employee scheduling tools to improve employee satisfaction and productivity, as well as to support more market-level, in addition to branch-level, staffing and to make the process of cross-branch scheduling more efficient.
AI, in particular, was a leading tech topic at CBA Live 2019, with applications for both customer engagement opportunities and branch forecasting optimization. More banks are adopting workforce management solutions with AI and Machine Learning in order to optimize their labor forecasting and scheduling across the network.
No One-Size-Fits-All Branch
One thing that was clear in many of the conversations is that optimizing branch staffing network-wide is a key concern, in part, because many banks are operating a variety of branch models across their network with different goals and strategies given the traffic, demographics, and demand for the communities they serve. In some markets, branches are running lean, staffed for efficiency and maximizing transaction volume. In other areas, a high-touch, consulting center approach makes more sense, where branch staff are empowered to personalize the customer experience in order to drive high-value sales. This means that your labor forecasting and scheduling models need to be customizable on the branch or market level to ensure that each branch in the network can operate effectively.
Similarly, tools that streamline corporate to branch communications and prioritize work for branch colleagues can power productivity and efficiency at the branch; this is especially critical given that the average number of staff has reduced from 8 to 5 in most branches. For example, with a single solution for real-time activity management, banks can gatekeep and simplify non-customer projects being sent to branches so branch staff can quickly complete these activities without being overwhelmed or distracted from customer engagement priorities.
One theme that was constant throughout was that empowering branch colleagues to succeed at work, no matter what your branch goals are, helps reduce staff turnover while increasing customer engagement and satisfaction.