A recent Celent report finds that while the majority of financial institutions said improving branch sales and service performance was their top branch-channel priority, few have invested in technology to help realize that goal.
According to the report, "Branch Banking in a Multichannel World," less than a third of surveyed financial institutions (28%) have operational CRM systems, and 23% have analytic CRM.
Account opening remains largely manual, with only 29% offering automated, paperless systems. Loan origination is similarly manual and relies on the movement of paper, with just one in five banks having automated systems.
In addition, cash handling requires dual control, largely manual work at most financial institutions. Only a fourth of surveyed financial institutions use teller cash recycling and those that do generally limit usage to only the most cash-rich branches.
The upside in the report? The research revealed that credit unions have a distinct lead over banks in terms of branch automation solution usage. While bankers ranked the branch channel as the top priority, for credit unions it is the Internet channel, with 56% ranking it first and 77% among the top two priorities. The branch channel followed at 20% and 55% respectively, and mobile banking third at 11% and 31% respectively.
"Most financial institutions are under considerable pressure to both reduce costs and improve branch sales and service effectiveness," said Bob Meara, senior analyst with Celent's Banking Group and author of the report. "Credit unions appear to be way ahead of banks in terms of having invested in technologies to help bring this about. Banks have lots of catching up to do."