Jon Blakeney, the London Managing Director of the I-AM Group, argues that reevaluating the role of physical spaces in branch banking could improve lives.

When branch visits are no longer need-based their success requires a radical shift in thinking. The redefined role for these physical spaces would see inspirational spaces that improve people’s lives through shared learning and collaboration.

This focus on how finance can impact the customer could potentially put banks back at the centre of people’s lives with an emphasis on mind, body and soul.

Banking and Mental Health

Money worries are one of the primary contributors to mental stress – banks have a chance to lead the way in addressing mental wellness and stress caused by money issues.

Seminars focusing on how to handle stress, one-to-one sessions dealing with real life issues or talks from experts can all help create a safe environment.

 Financial Education

Once any negative aspects of mind have been addressed there is also a great opportunity to help people get ahead in their lives by enriching their knowledge through in branch educational initiatives.

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The key is to value the interconnection of all aspects of people’s lives and the impact that one part can have on another.

Lifestyle Space

At first glance the idea of banks engaging with wellness programmes and physical fitness seems ridiculous, however it’s not as mad as some might think.

The relationship between mind and body is intrinsic to wellbeing. Banks can choose to merge these two features into one seamless experience that capitalises on the demand for fitness classes and exercise before or after work.

Another natural extension for banks is to help satisfy the increasing demand for co-working spaces. Why have your audiences been spending their time working at Starbucks or WeWork, when they could be engaging with your brand and meeting like-minded people in your spaces?

By taking on these opportunities, we could gradually see these financial spaces start to take on a faster pace, with more energy and increased daily footfall.

Expanding the Envelop

‘By 2030, 80% of heritage financial services firms will go out of business, become commoditised or exist only formally but not competing effectively’, according to Gartner.

For bank branches to survive and succeed they not only have to create a destination, they need to grow their offering.

Banks need to get creative with their products and services – expand from their traditional transactional services and cross-sell through brand partnership, from the likes of travel services, telecom products … and really engage in offering various customer benefits that come with being a member of the bank.

Redefining the Role of People In Digital Transformation

Every bank brand is working towards digital transformation, but unless the internal processes evolve, employees are on-boarded and understand the scope of the banks new digital capabilities, these latest technological integrations will have very little impact.

Employees representing the bank should be the human touch that works side-by-side with the new digital features – so as to support a flawless and consistent customer experience across every touchpoint.