[Guest Post] Ben Christensen: CIO, Weber State CU talking Branches and what's really changing.


[GUEST POST] Ben Christensen is CIO of Weber State Credit Union. 


Branches – What's really changing?


Over the past ten years, advances in online and mobile technologies have allowed financial institutions to reach out to their members and customers to provide a robust real-time and always-on experience. 


As a result, and little did we know, we were driving people away from our branches while actively detaching personal relationships, with little thought at all. 



In the here and now - we, as an industry, are unearthing efforts to refocus organizational cultures and brand identities in a reactive attempt to discover mystical powers that will recapture personalized and authentic relationships with our (now) detached members and customers.


Take a moment to make a mental comparison of a branch back in the 1900’s to the current branching model. 



What has really changed? 


Aside from the coffee bar, the layout and function of the branch has remained dated and unchanged. 


With all the time and energy expensed in technology, attention to evolving branching operations and workflow has been side-lined to the technological wonderments that have been unleashed. 


Additionally, staffing has continued to remain in an on-demand role with little development to parallel the abilities of the technology counterparts.




So where does that leave us? 


Simply, branches and staffing roles must evolve with the technology! 


Members or customers make the trek to a branch to get our advice regarding a need or problem.  The “build it and they will come” approach clearly doesn’t work. 


In-branch technology solutions that provide a self-serve or assisted-served environment have been missing a quasi-tech minded financial concierge that can understand consumers financial needs and build relationships. 


We can now become a powerful consultant and advisor to our members and customers to create lasting relationships by leveraging near real-time data points about demographics, current used products and services, best next product, and the type of chewing gum the consumer prefers.


Imagine that. 




 The financial concierge and in-branch technology must work together


– hand in glove! 


Properly positioning an integrated technology and data solution into that hands of those that service the consumer now creates a pivotal relationship opportunity to consult and advise.  


This reiterative focus should always be centered around how to provide a consistent, exceptional and personalized consumer experience or accept the consequences of not doing it while your competitors actively are.


But…these are just the first steps towards branch evolution. 





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