Cross Pollination

People interact with their banks differently today than they have in the past. Changing needs and perhaps a reluctance of many banks to respond to these changes have given rise to Internet banking options that appeal to today’s technology savvy, smartphone toting customers. A recent survey by research firm TNS, found that direct banks (those without physical locations that offer services via the Internet or telephone, like Ally and Discover Bank) were the only category of banks to gain share in the past decade among retail customers.

Traditional banks with costly branch networks are taking notice. Wells Fargo is testing a new branch model that’s a cross between an Apple Store, on-line chat, and airport self-service check in. The test branches have a smaller footprint, are located in trendy urban areas filled with their target audience of young and on-foot professionals and feature self-service electronic tellers. Bank associates armed with iPads circulate among customers to help facilitate transactions from check cashing to loan origination. Those same iPads alert bank staff to customers attempting a self-service transaction and in need of assistance.

Smart companies don’t limit themselves to best practices from their own industry. They find them everywhere and modify them for their own market.