Are we soon reaching the era of faceless banking?
Technology is the 21st century dragon. It is devouring products, processes and jobs stead fast. While the users rejoice, it is pain to the losers. Shall we say, “One man’s meat is several men’s poison”? The changes technology has brought in to industries, in particular banking, are amazing. Banking companies have given way for technology companies to do banking. There is a drastic change evidencing that banks are becoming increasingly less personal, as the customers prefer it this way. It’s no longer the era where customers need to walk into a branch for a transaction to take place. So where is the banking done these days?
Gone are the days of brick and mortar banking. While a sizeable population still feel, “seeing is believing” and visit bank branches, a majority of the customers prefer to transact through mobile and internet, hence the trend has shifted to internet and mobile banking. This paves way for innovation and technology meeting together under the roof of banking. Banks will look towards closing down their branches, harnessing technology to save costs primarily and to serve a large customer base in a jiffy.
Upgraded generations of ATMs will require smart phone and thumbprint identification of the customers to do transactions. If the customer wants to apply for other banking products, the screen for that customer ID will behave like a human. It will pop up and do the necessary. Where is the real advancement seen here? In-case the customer gets irate with the human like avatar, it will immediately sense and will be replaced with a real human to handle the query.
Looking at the trend, the day is not far off when changes in depositing cheques will be from the comfort of home/office. The customer can scan the cheque through the app provided and the bank will receive and process the cheque. It calls for extension of the current technology used in image based satellite clearing (cheque truncation process). Major corporate clients could avail of this benefit by scanning the cheque and need not break their head to deposit the physical cheque before the cut off time.
Trending in Australia is Westpac Bank, where they are using an augmented reality app for mobile device. In this 3D imaging software provides visualisation of balance and transaction history as well as overlaying details over nearby Westpac branches. Under the branch service automation tag, Japan’s Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ customers are greeted by 58 cm tall robots which are designed to answer the basic banking queries in 19 languages and analyse the customer’s facial expressions and behaviours.
In conclusion, physical branches will be replaced by technology, reducing the premises size to a 10’ X 10’ room with one or two attendants to serve the diehard customers who refuse to live with tech upgrading. The money saved can be utilised for brand-enhancing measures, focussing on advertising, marketing and technology.