With the influx of technology solutions in retail banking, which includes ATM upgrades that enable more types of transactions, mobile solutions, and internet banking, banks are seeking to change branch models in high-traffic urban areas.
Similar trends have already been a focus for retailers and restaurants where there is a shift towards opening smaller, but more technology-based, stores in the past few years. Mary Wisniewski speaks to this trend in an American Banker article, which discusses how Wells Fargo has recently opened urban branches in densely populated, urban areas, such as the U Street corridor of Washington, D.C. In doing this, Well Fargo aims to target customers who are comfortable using technology and who prefer their branches to be within walking distances to either their home or work. In addition to these changes reflecting customer demand and behavior, she notes that the cost savings are a huge bonus: “Because they are significantly smaller than a typical branch, they are also helping Wells to reduce branch overhead at a time when branch traffic continues to decline.”