In the first six months of 2020, the global COVID-19 crisis rapidly accelerated the evolution of the branch-network footprint. It’s time now for banks to consider future-proofing their networks for a post-pandemic world.

Both the role and shape of branches are changing rapidly. In order for banks to cope—and to create a future-proof network—it is more important than ever that they combine data analysis with creative design.

“Left-brain” data analysis

Banks need to take into account external data sources containing information such as customer digital maturity or postcode-based housing market analyses. These will complement existing internal sources to provide a more holistic perspective.

When modelling closures and refurbishments, banks would be wise to use a wider territory view than just data from a single branch. Also, when it comes to an individual branch, they could benefit from our Kit of Parts (KoP) approach. The KoP compartmentalises the branch layout and calls for the deployment of common branch modules as appropriate to different branch formats. It offers the opportunity to change or swap modules between formats and to deploy only those that will make an impact on cost savings.

“Right-brain” creative design

In the post-COVID-19 world, banks will have to accommodate social-distancing needs and continue to cater to customers’ evolving preferences. Over time, these will change the role of the branch.

It’s important to consider different formats for each branch, as well as ways to design branches that can evolve over time without the need for refurbishment. Islandsbanki’s head office branch features three distinctive, interlinked zones that include a serving zone, a community lounge and an agile workspace.

We recently helped a leading UK bank plan the reduction of its branch network by half, with minimal customer coverage impact and an estimated 20 percent cost saving on the overall investment.

Transforming your branch network using a holistic approach that combines data analytics and creative design can not only future-proof it, but also help optimise your overall investment.

I’d love to hear your plans for branch network transformation in the post-pandemic era.


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