A poll sponsored by NCR has questioned whether the future of banking will be “clicks and no mortar”. How do banks and other commentators view the concept of the branchless “cyber bank”?
The result was a split decision. Of the 1,000 votes, 38% either agreed that the future could be branchless, compared with 48% who disagreed. The remainder were undecided.
The recent rise of Internet banks raises the issue of whether a physical presence is necessary to the successful operation of a retail banking facility. The introduction of sophisticated self-service-touchpoints means that a branch presence is no longer a prerequisite to offering customers services such as cash and check deposit and bill payment.
Paul Sweeney, author of an article, Clicks vs. Bricks and Mortar, says: “Across the US, large banks are up against a new breed – the branchless ‘cyber bank’ whose chief weapon is dramatically lower costs.”
A separate article by Nick Kirby, he Cost of Being Effective, concludes that: “The main hurdle facing Internet-only banking is the availability of a suitable deposit mechanism. Once that is overcome, some believe ‘bricks and mortar’ banks are in danger of being totally left out in the cold.”
Meanwhile, more traditional banks have acted in response to the competitive threat, quickly adopting the new technology. Caja Madrid has adopted the latest developments in transaction automation to free up tellers and improve customer services.
Christophe Primault, vice president of global marketing and communications for NCR’s Financial Solutions division, said: “Whichever way we look at it, self-service touchpoints will play an important role as the banking market evolves. Touchpoints provide more convenience to consumers, enable cost control and generate new revenue streams for financial institutions.
“We witnessed this trend in 2000 when we shipped a record number of ATMs and experienced a surge in demand for value added services. This trend is set to continue.”
* This poll appeared on Touchpoints an on-line community for the self-service industry. Sponsored NCR Corporation, the world’s leading provider of ATMs or self-service touchpoints, the site is run by Forward Group’s digital arm, Realsubstance. As well as being a repository of ideas, the site is a forum where individuals from all industries can exchange views and information on self-service issues.
The Forward Group is a multi-disciplinary marketing agency group which helps leading brands turn marketing opportunities into profitable customer behavior. In addition to NCR, clients include Tesco, Egg, Nasdaq, British Airways Holidays and BT.
NCR Corporation is a leader in providing Relationship Technology solutions to customers worldwide in the retail, financial, communications, manufacturing, travel and transportation, and insurance markets. The company’s business solutions are built on the foundation of its long-established industry knowledge and consulting expertise, value-adding software, global customer support services, a complete line of consumable and media products, and leading edge hardware technology.