Actionable Insights From APT's Retail Practice
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Talk To Me: The Impact of Voice Recognition in Mobile Banking

May 20th, 2013 | Posted by retailblogadmin in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Talk To Me: The Impact of Voice Recognition in Mobile Banking)

Last month, US Bank announced that they will test features to allow customers to carry out banking tasks by speaking directly to their smartphones. To better understand the impact of the new feature, they will pilot the functionality by first allowing bank staff to leverage it. Piloting the features is a great way to understand the incremental impact of the implementation and what effects it will have on customers.

As banks evaluate customer-level investments in this way, they should keep in mind two key points that ensure banks properly understand the impact of the investment: (more…)

Retail Banking Trends and Analytics

May 17th, 2013 | Posted by Jatin Atre in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Retail Banking Trends and Analytics)

In this video, APT SVP Will Weidman discusses recent trends in the retail banking industry.

How to Retain Customers While Closing Branches

April 24th, 2013 | Posted by Jatin Atre in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on How to Retain Customers While Closing Branches)

“How to Retain Customers While Closing Branches,” a byline from APT SVP Will Weidman, was recently featured in American Banker. Click here to read more.

Banking Strategies: The Top 5 Retail Banking Trends for 2013

December 27th, 2012 | Posted by CCorman in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Banking Strategies: The Top 5 Retail Banking Trends for 2013)

APT VP Will Weidman recently wrote a great byline for Banking Strategies about the top trends for 2013. Check out the article here.

Will outlined the following five trends:

1) Multi-Channel Impact of Mobile/Online

2) Making Money from Mobile

3) Smaller Branches with Innovative Approaches to Staffing

4) Demanding ROI from Online/Social Media

5) Selective Investments in Branch Technology

Will argues that, “as these trends drive transformations in retail banking it becomes increasingly necessary to innovate while minimizing the risk involved in innovation.” Testing continuously proves to be the leading way to de-risk innovation while maximizing profits.

Video Killed the Bank Branch?

October 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Will Weidman in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Video Killed the Bank Branch?)

A recent American Banker article posed the question of whether some bank branches will be completely replaced by an ATM with video technology. The idea is that more complex transactions which cannot be completed at the ATM today could in the future be completed by a call center employee or a specialist in a remote office using video technology.

It would appear there is now more than one way for the branch to die. Customers continue to migrate towards online and mobile banking, and they may use increasingly sophisticated ATMs rather than set foot in a branch. In reality, neither will fully replace a branch, but this new technology offers interesting possibilities that banks should consider.

First and foremost, banks should start thinking about how this technology could impact staffing needs. Video ATMs could reduce the cost of servicing more routine transactions. We have worked with banks to measure the impact of ATM technology investments, such as remote check imaging. In some cases, this has reduced the need for tellers, and video ATMs could push this trend further.

This can allow banks to achieve bottom line savings, but they should also seriously consider shifting resources towards more specialized staff. The biggest benefit of adding technology in branches is that it often frees up resources to focus more on relationship management and increasing sales. As banks try out these new video ATMs, they should also try changing the staffing mix or adjusting staffing levels to find the right balance. Training programs are also important to help staff build this skill set.

Banks should also be highly targeted in how they invest in this technology or any new technology for that matter. This is an incredibly expensive investment, and, too often, we find that banks invest across the entire network. That is a waste of capital, and we have seen time and again that only a subset of branches will warrant this investment. Banks will need to determine if the investment makes sense based on a variety of factors, including branch traffic, size of the customer base, the competitive environment, demographics in the area, etc. When banks try out these new ATMs, they should therefore try them across a broad variety of branches that represent the full spectrum across these characteristics.

New technology is exciting and can help banks gain a competitive edge and find new ways to attract customers. However, without carefully testing the new technology’s business impact, it is all too likely that banks will overinvest and not realize all of the potential benefits.

Credit Card Fees: The Banker Response

August 19th, 2012 | Posted by Will Weidman in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Credit Card Fees: The Banker Response)

“While the $6.6 billion lawsuit between the credit card industry and a trade association of merchants has been settled, the battle is far from over. A recent Wall Street Journal article highlights a part of the settlement with far-ranging future consequences: the right for retailers to charge more for customers who use a credit card. Banks need to immediately start preparing for the possible outcomes of this legislation, including retailers’ reactions at the register.”

Click here to check out APT VP Will Weidman’s recent byline in Banking Strategies.

Investing in the Branch of the Future

July 19th, 2012 | Posted by Will Weidman in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Investing in the Branch of the Future)

There is intense debate right now about the future of the branch. Some say it will become increasingly obsolete as customers move towards online, mobile and other non-branch channels. Others point out that the majority of new accounts are still opened at the branch and customers look for who has the most convenient locations when selecting a bank. TD Bank is in this particular camp and recently announced an aggressive expansion of its branch footprint.

Time will tell how extensive branch footprints will be in the future but branches will continue to exist. The focus of attention, then, should be on understanding how to make branches more efficient, how to maximize revenue in the current environment and how to most effectively interact with customers as technology and channel preferences change. Click here to read more of APT VP Will Weidman’s Banking Strategies byline.

Who Wants More Fees?

June 8th, 2012 | Posted by Will Weidman in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Who Wants More Fees?)

It turns out the answer may not be “no one.”

Banks are still struggling to replace fee revenue, and customers have reacted negatively to new fees on existing products.  Just look at what happened when Bank of America tried adding a $5 debit card fee. 

The only major product that has increased fees has been checking accounts, and most banks now charge $7-$10 per month or more.  However, many customers are exempt from these fees because they have a direct deposit set up or they maintain a certain minimum balance.  Banks continue to raise requirements for free checking.  According to the Huffington Post, SunTrust recently raised the minimum required balance from $500 to $1,500. But a large percentage of customers still qualify for free checking, and checking account fees alone will not be enough to plug the revenue gap.

So if banks cannot add fees to existing products and cannot raise enough revenue from checking account fees, then what will they do?  (more…)

Try a New Model for Branch Remodeling, APT Featured in American Banker

April 4th, 2012 | Posted by Jatin Atre in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Try a New Model for Branch Remodeling, APT Featured in American Banker)

A byline written by APT VP Will Weidman was recently featured in American Banker. Will explains that many banks are not currently employing three easy strategies to realize significant returns on remodel investmentClick here to read more.

BofA Takes it Slow and Tests New Fees

March 9th, 2012 | Posted by Will Weidman in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on BofA Takes it Slow and Tests New Fees)

Last week, the Wall Street Journal shared that Bank of America is considering changes to its checking account fees.  The fees being considered are steep and range from $9 to $25 a month, though customers could avoid fees through actions like maintaining a minimum balance or adding a mortgage.

In this latest step, Bank of America announced that it will pilot these programs in Arizona, Georgia, and Massachusetts.   In recent years, many banks have quickly rolled out new programs that ended up not working and hurting performance.  For example, Bank of America tried introducing $5 monthly debit card fees but experienced significant backlash and had to roll the fees back. 

We are glad to see BofA testing before a broad rollout this time around.  This approach will significantly reduce losses from programs that do not work.  However, there is more opportunity to understand how to market these types of initiatives. (more…)