Retail branches: the bank of now, future-proofed & bionic
RATIO wrote this on Aug 23, 2017


Like our retail financial service clients, we think, see and hear about the ‘Branch of the Future’.

Whether you call it ‘Future-proofing’, ‘Bionic’ or ‘The Bank of Now’, these terms all refer to the strategic redefinition of retail financial services from operations to branch design.  Redefinition —  to ensure branch strategies meet needs of changing populations by providing centres of advice for life’s milestone moments.  People want face to face, consultative service for high-value transactions like small business loans, mortgages and life insurance.

“Customers have made it clear that they want choice in how to engage with their bank and that they expect service to be consistent, streamlined, and engaging no matter what channel they use. While 43% of survey respondents indicated a preference for digital-only experiences, the same percentage said they want a mix of physical and virtual interactions—a hybrid banking experience in which digital tools and capabilities combine with human input and advice at the moments that matter.”

From the Boston Consulting Group: Accelerating Bionic Transformation


Does the  “Branch of the Future” mean:

  • Physical branched being downsized or eliminated
  • Tellers a thing of the past
  • Technology everywhere
  • Retail is dead

Common financial service trend assumptions have problems:

  • Assumes all needs can be captured efficiently in a self-serve serve fashion
  • Service offerings bear no relationships to one another
  • Member’s needs can be forecasted simply
  • Advice can be gotten online easily
  • Technology can be – if not handled well – an impediment to communication

The path to the branch of the future is evident, with the customer leading the way.  To be competitive and stay relevant service delivery channels must align:

  • Online
  • Across diverse branch locations
  • In person, in business meetings
  • Mobile
  • Remote consulting

The quotes in this post above and below are from an interesting report by Boston Consulting Group on the state of retail financial services. BCG defines future-proofed retail financial services as ‘Bionic Banking’:

” ..blending digital technology and a human touch to deliver the right products and services to target customers: the bionic bank”


The BCG report ‘Accelerating Bionic Transformation follows up on the  2015 report, The Bionic Bank  which outlines six key strengths of  bionic retail banks:

  1. 1. Clear vision
  2. 2. A future-proof distribution model
  3. 3. Customer centricity
  4. 4. Technology and operational excellence
  5. 5. Organizational vitality
  6. 6. Financial and risk control

Read the full explanation of these six key strengths or the entire report here.

Retail financial services must embrace a ‘bionic transformation’

  • Reshape distribution & network
  • Personalize value
  • Redesign customer journeys

“A bionic transformation consists of three interrelated elements. First is the blending of digital and personal interactions to create a more responsive and cost-effective distribution model. Second is the articulation of a value proposition that combines human judgment with data power. And third is the adoption of a customer journey mindset with end-to-end processes that are supported with robotics and machine learning to reduce process intensity and improve customer satisfaction.”


These ideas align with our thinking on the strategic reimagination of the ‘branch of the future’, no matter what it’s called.

Here are few of our Financial Services projects:

Island Savings Credit Union

Valley First Credit Union

Community Savings Credit Union


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