Where Are Banks Falling Short on Branch Efficiency?
Peter Daugherty, Solutions Consultant at Reflexis, shares his expertise on improving branch banking efficiency.
As a Branch Manager, I always felt the hardest part of the job was keeping the branch on top of the ever-changing operational and compliance demands; you got no credit for doing it right and negative repercussions for not. This required maintaining the entire branches’ focus on day-to-day activities to meet service and sales goals, and ensuring everyone was engaged, getting the support they needed to do their job, and up-to-date on the latest policies and procedures. Running a branch was a daunting task and involved juggling a lot of different and sometimes competing goals. For branch managers today, it’s even harder. The core of the job is still the same, but you are doing it with fewer resources and higher customer expectations than ever before.
Many banks recognize this and have undertaken continuous improvement projects to pull “non-critical” activities out of the branches to reduce some of the burden. Unfortunately, there are limitations on what can be removed without creating significant additional cost and processes to manage. The branch is where the employees and customers are, and therefore where many activities must occur.
So, despite the focus on efficiency, there are many ongoing issues that have not been addressed and are open for improvement. Let’s look at some of these areas of challenge from the perspective of both the bank and the manager.
For the bank, the challenge is managing the information flow from the various areas that want and need to reach the branch, prioritizing that communication properly, providing all the relevant details, and ensuring that the information is received and understood. For the branch manager, the big challenge is wading through the various communication channels—e-mail, text, intranet, or other storage tools—prioritizing what needs attention and when, understanding where to go with questions or issues, and confirming receipt appropriately.
The recent crisis highlighted how challenging it can be when these communications processes and tools are inefficient. A branch manager can spend hours carefully sorting communications and still miss mission critical information, while corporate teams have no idea if the message has been received or not and which regions or branches need remediation.
For the bank to manage, and provide oversight on branch operations, someone needs to inspect the activities and outcomes. There are usually multiple systems to manage this (compliance training and tracking, HR systems, performance management systems, and more), requiring bank leaders to manually access the relevant data to monitor completion or compliance with a policy or procedure. The bank is often chasing process holes because the reporting lags behind the actions.
In the branch, I often needed to create and retain paper documents for audit or monitoring purposes. Unfortunately, there are still far too many processes that rely on paper forms; actually ensuring things get done is too complicated and too time consuming.
Simplify Branch Operations
Fortunately, there are now solutions that can help alleviate all these problems and more. These modern solutions provide branch managers a single, unified view with an actionable “to-do” list, presented in priority order for the day. This can include information sourced from various systems, from fraud alerts to PTO requests, to operations forms that can be completed via a mobile device, and more—any system utilized in the branch today can be included. In addition, there is insight into the activities staff are expected to complete each day from a CRM, or other activity or case management system. The solution can also digitize all your forms, allowing visibility within and outside the branch on completion, and any authorized user can access the completed form to “audit” it for completion. Oh, and you have access to update those forms, changing questions and adding or deleting questions or function areas as needed—all at your fingertips.
Today’s retail leaders can help move the branch into the modern world with a holistic solution to organize, manage, and provide real-time views of execution. You can transform your branch efficiency to the next level—the level you will need to be at to deliver operational excellence, great service, and grow your branch business while under the constraints of staffing efficiency expectations.
To learn how Reflexis is helping banks power branch efficiency, effectiveness, productivity, reach out today to firstname.lastname@example.org.