A voluntary commitment from banks and building societies to reveal details of security outages and incidents, prompted by recent intervention from the FCA and Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), illustrates the value of a reassuring high street presence, a banking software expert has argued.
“Mobile and online banking are channels many customers love,” commented Mark Aldred, banking specialist at Auriga. “But they don’t often offer a full service and they are not infallible. Access problems do highlight the positive value to banks of having branches where customers can access a range of services. IT outages undermine customer trust and a bank’s brand value so maintaining a physical presence is incredibly important.”
True omnichannel banking needs to encompass the branch and self-service network too, he said, observing that reported outages may concentrate minds on how those channels need investment and development: “There is still huge demand from customers for a face to face service, especially for high value services like mortgages,” added Aldred. “Banks shouldn’t see their branch networks and physical footprints as a disadvantage – instead they can position it as a positive, if they’re able to adapt them. Modern digital technology can make branches more efficient than ever, and turn the self service banking technology in them from a cost to a revenue driver. Where branches just aren’t viable, free to use ATMs are the second part of the financial lifeline. Today’s ATMs can function as mini-branches, providing key services like opening accounts, applying for loans and managing bill payments. They are not just cash dispensers.”