Actionable Insights From APT's Retail Practice

Prepare for the Future of Branch Staffing

January 25th, 2010 | Posted by Will Weidman in Financial Services | Uncategorized

Branch staffing needs and the options available to meet those needs are changing dramatically. In a recent article, US Banker highlights several key trends that all banks need to be aware of.

First, the workforce has become more flexible, and branches have more options in how they can hire to meet their needs: “Managing part-timers and non-traditional full-timers is not an exception, but the rule.” Each branch needs to understand both the right overall staffing level as well as the right mix of full, part, and peak time employees.

Everyone has staffing models, but they often fail to account for the unique needs of each branch as well as changes in staffing needs. For example, as ATMs are able to handle more types of transactions, staffing needs may change as a result. Some leading banks are testing new staffing levels on a limited basis to better understand how each branch should be staffed. This approach has allowed them to improve upon existing staffing models and increase profit by millions of dollars.

Second, as customer needs become more diverse, branch staff has to become more specialized and provide “more personalized relationship support.” These new “relationship managers” are often primarily focused on growing bank relationships with existing customers. The key to making these specialists successful is knowing which customers they should target. The winning approach is to try assigning different types of customers to relationship managers, measure the impact, determine what types of customers responded best, and target those customers in the future.

Finally, this increased complexity in branch staffing makes employee training all the more important. However, for training to be cost effective, you need to understand which training programs work best and which employees respond best to training.

Branch staffing is becoming complicated, but there are more and more opportunities to get smarter and significantly improve bottom line performance. Will you be able to realize this potential value?

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