Bank employees aren’t looking at the changes and digital banking tools as empowering their jobs as much as threatening the existence of those same jobs. In this article, Rory Brown discusses how virtual banking tools won’t cost bankers their jobs but instead will make them better bankers.

Traditional banks and bankers who work in physical bank branches are invested in the way that banking business has been transacted for decades. Bankers have historically been doubtful about significant technological advances that disrupt the standard face-to-face interactions that took place during banking hours and only when customers could travel to an actual bank branch. Many bankers opposed the advent of ATMs decades ago, as they believed that the 24-hour convenience of making withdrawals and deposits at a terminal location would make branches obsolete. That didn’t happen then, of course, as additional customer service only enhanced the attractiveness of banks with ATMs, and it won’t happen today with the rise of the internet and virtual banking for the same reason.

As the virtual banking industry grows, traditional brick and mortar banks will adapt to the technological advances directed toward greater customer service and satisfaction. Traditional banks will not disappear, but the way they conduct business will change. In times past, customers would need to visit a physical bank branch for basic services like opening up a new account. As these types of services are now easily accomplished online by both virtual and traditional banks, physical branches will transition more towards supporting online banking services and some in-person services such as wealth management or handling business loan issues.

Traditional banks will need to find ways to add value for specific customer groups in order to adapt to market demands for the convenience and lower fees that virtual banks provide. Essentially all traditional banks already offer a wide array of online banking services, and customers are certainly not going to move away from online service in the future. Just as virtual banks do, traditional banks must take the opportunity to use the time not taken up by ordinary transactional work to develop ways to add value to customer experience to remain competitive. All staff should be trained, and proficient in managing all customer needs related to online services.

The rise of online and virtual banking should act as a signal to traditional bankers that modern customers are establishing a new baseline of expectations for convenience, account accessibility, and lower fees. Bankers at physical branches will survive by exploring ways to emphasize differences between traditional banking and virtual banking while reducing overhead to remain competitive in a new marketplace. Every banker should focus their attention on customer service directed at convenience and lower costs that are the hallmark of doing business online. 

About Rory Brown

Mr. Rory Brown has focused on financial technology and investment management for 30+ years. Rory Brown Co-Founded one of the world’s first Internet Banks and writes extensively about the industry.