Study: branch banking is all about the relationship

Feb. 26, 2013

A newly released study in the CustomerMonitor Survey Series from Mercator Advisory Group takes a close look at bank branch use, communication methods, and attitudes toward remote banking technologies. "Branch Banking 2012: All About the Relationship," also examines market dynamics, FI loyalty, and the use of shared branch networks.

The study is the fifth in a series of eight Mercator consumer survey reports for 2012. Findings are based on the Mercator CustomerMonitor Survey Series. The foundation of the series is data obtained from a national sample of 1,008 online consumer survey responses completed between Oct. 23 and Nov. 2, 2012.   

While survey findings suggest that branch visits are declining slightly, they remain consumers' preferred method of communication with banks. This method of interaction was mentioned by 34 percent of survey respondents and preferred by 15 percent.

"Branch banking is not going away, but it does need to evolve," said Karen Augustine, manager of the CustomerMonitor Survey Series at Mercator Advisory Group and the author of the report. "The branch, even in the digital age, will remain a key sales tool for the financial institution to develop and expand customer relationships."

Mercator found that branch banking remains a vital means for FIs to strengthen customer relationships and cross-sell products and services. Additionally, researchers found that innovations such as new remote teller technologies and videoconferencing are serving to enhance the customer experience. 

Nearly half of Mercator Advisory Group survey respondents said they would try videoconferencing with a customer service representative or product specialist if no branch representative or specialist were available in person.  

The 52-page report covers the following:

  • Year-over-year trending of the numbers and types of FIs used by consumers, the institutions they consider to be "primary," use of the primary FI's credit card, and types of financial advisors;
  • Shifts in consumer communication methods with FIs, satisfaction with those methods, and preferred types of branches;
  • Reasons for branch use, frequency of visits, and interaction with branch staff;
  • Consumers' favored methods of learning about new financial products and services;
  • Trends surrounding the interest in branch videoconferencing.

Read more about trends/statistics.

Topics: Bank / Credit Union , Research , Trends / Statistics

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