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The moment of reinvention for the bank branch

As an industry, Financial Services has been headed in a digital direction for a while now. From the rise of mobile banking and payments to a surge of FinTech entrants, “digital transformation” in retail banking has been a long time coming. And one of the biggest impacts of this shift has been the decline in branch traffic and subsequent branch closures. Marketers had already been trying to understand the role of the bank branch in this new, heavily digital future.

And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit our lives and sped up all things digital seemingly overnight.

Back in March, the team at Hero Digital set out to understand how consumer habits were shifting as a result of COVID-19 and predict which of these changes could have implications far beyond the pandemic. As we enter the fourth month of the pandemic, we are starting to see major changes in consumer behavior. And when it comes to banking, with many branches operating in limited capacity during the pandemic, habits have certainly changed and many experts agree people who were kept away from branches and learned how to bank digitally may not be coming back. 

The challenge for marketers as we move into this new digital era will be to not just deliver a digital experience, but to deliver a good digital experience.

One that meets the needs and expectations of those who have traditionally preferred in-person banking while at the same time providing benefits like brand affinity that are generally built in branches.

Our newest research digs deep into the changing landscape of retail banking in a post-COVID world and how brands can address the needs of the different segments of banking customers: primarily in-person, those who prefer a mix of in-person and digital, and primarily digital. 

Impact of COVID-19 on banking style

Some key insights from the latest findings…

  • Around 1 in 10 customers prefer to bank “mostly” or “entirely” in-person
  • Digital preference is driven by convenience, speed, and ease whereas in-person preference is about security and deeper relationships
  • Up to 80% of customers who prefer to bank in-person have changed their banking style since the start of the pandemic
  • Half of those who prefer interacting entirely in-person plan to bank more digitally in the next 6-12 months