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Bank branches aren’t dead—yet. They are merely awaiting re-invention.

We keep reading that bank branches are dead.

Bank customers aren’t reading the same memos. Even when banks roll out new online products, high numbers of customers want to call and talk to a real banker.  Sometimes, they want to be reassured the bank is “for real.”  Other times, they simply have “out-thought” the bank’s best shot at sales material and need more information.

So, bank branch in-person traffic may be shrinking, but the desire to connect in person has not faded.

Here’s what a banker can do: recognize that customers still want to have some personal interaction with the bank. So, make  moves to “super branches” where smart bankers can be pooled and efficiently deal with customers. Roll out beefed-up call centers with good people and good equipment so that employees can be available 24/7 to spend the time necessary to provide customer service.

What’s really dying is the process, the interaction, of bank employees with bank customers

Sadly, many banks have neither educated nor trained customer service people to intelligently deal with 21st century customer issues.  We aren’t expecting enough from our branch people.  We aren’t focused on our customer experience.  or ew ways of dealing with the customer, new ways to re-purpose our employees.

And, finally, many bankers are in denial.  They are thinking this death-of-the-branch business is more of a buzz word than a near-term threat.  I hope these guys are close to retirement.  ‘Cause the world is changing and it’s changing fast.