New Report from Aite Group Examines the State of North American Branch Networks

23 July 2008

A new report from Aite Group, LLC examines the current state of top North American branch networks. The report, based on a survey of 14 of the top 100 North American banks by number of checking accounts, provides insight into the focus, challenges, expectations and areas in need of improvement within bank branches. It looks at areas of expected growth, including how internal improvement may aid the branch channel over the next 24 months.

In recent years, online and mobile banking channels have seen significant growth that could theoretically lessen the importance of the bank branch. However, while the branch channel does have challenges that didn't exist just a few years back, many in the banking industry still view this channel as the cornerstone of the retail bank. In order to make the most of the branch channel, banks must excel in areas considered to be among the most important to customers. These include providing convenient hours, enabling efficient transactions, and the ability to evaluate customer needs and recommend appropriate products. "With banks competing for the same customer segments at the branch, convenience, products and differentiation in service are ways in which some banks are trying to grow the branch channel," says Kate Monahan, analyst with Aite Group and author of this report. "To continue to do so, banks will need to keep focus on targeted customer segments, develop in-depth knowledge of these segments, provide convenient and high-quality service, and, when there is a gap between customer expectations and their ability to deliver, find ways to improve and implement the changes needed to close the gaps."

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