LinkedIn Group Debates Branching Future
The debate over whether branching is in a transformational stage or a death spiral has been an ongoing in the CU Times LinkedIn group.
Likening branches to now-closed Blockbuster storefronts, CU Times Correspondent-at-Large Robert McGarvey said in a March 31 article that branches “an expensive albatross around the industry's neck.”
Some, like Sandra Haltner, president/CEO at the Houston-based Haltner Architecture Interior, suggested rather than the extreme scenarios of branch or no branch, the focus should be on continuing to evolve the retail locations.
“Just keep improving branch transformation,” she said. “What works in a large downtown metropolitan city may not necessarily work in a small suburban community. However, both branches can be transformed linking technology with the physical building.”
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Haltner continued, “Technology will continue to push change. Maybe, technology can be reined in a little but we all know it cannot be stopped. Time will allow everyone to keep making better decisions.”
Jeffrey Baker, CEO at Image 4 commented on LinkedIn that “transforming too slowly puts you into a death spiral — or at least on the approach. Look at and learn from, the struggles facing retailers.”
Many in the group suggested attempts to draw parallels between how videos or music are sold and financial services were the equivalent of comparing apples and oranges.
“There's a qualitative difference in the nature of the service and the relationship with the customer,” commented John Hyche, principal/senior vice president of strategic consulting at LEVEL 5. “Technology is undoubtedly part of the future of financial service distribution. But the physical channel will retain an important role because the sense of a personal relationship will remain important.”
Join the CU Times LinkedIn group and get in on the debate.