Scotiabank has launched two new branch formats to meet the changing needs of its customers.
Scotiabank Express was designed to make everyday transactions fast and efficient, said Maria Theofilaktidis, executive vice-president of retail distribution at Scotiabank.
The branch features digital tools and self-service options, such as ‘smart’ ABMs, and staff are on hand to help customers with services such as opening a new bank account or applying for a credit card.
The Scotiabank Solutions format is an “advice and learning branch” where customers can meet with advisors to build their financial plans and attend free financial literacy classes. The branch also has digital tools, such as a financial forecasting tool, for customers who want to help themselves.
The first Scotiabank Solutions branch opened this month in Guelph, Ont. Scotiabank Express branches opened in June in Guelph and Montreal.
“It goes back to our commitment to providing our customers with that excellent customer experience,” said Theofilaktidis. “You need to make sure that you are enabling your customers to bank how they want, when they want. And so, the branches are just one way that we’re changing alongside our customers.”
Last year, for example, Scotiabank launched its “Digital Factory,” an innovation hub in downtown Toronto. The bank is collaborating with FinTec providers and startups on tech innovations that transform the customer experience.
Scotiabank’s new retail formats come at a time when brick-and-mortar banks are losing favour with consumers. A 2015 Accenture survey found almost half of Canadian consumers (46%) said they preferred banking online to banking at branches, compared to 23% who preferred banking at branches. In addition, 37% of Canadian consumers said online is the most important channel for banks to invest in over the next five years, followed by branch (17%) and mobile (15%).
Theofilaktidis said Scotiabank’s customers do prefer to do their day-to-day transactions online and in mobile. “But, when it comes to core financial advice, they still prefer to do that face-to-face in a branch, and that’s even the millennials at this stage,” she said.
“What we’re trying to do is give them those options. For the day-to-day stuff, we’re giving customers those quick, efficient, self-serve options. And then we’re creating branch formats for them to come in and have those really important financial conversations.”
Theofilaktidis said Scotiabank was in a “test and learn phase” with its current Express and Solutions locations. “Once we’ve actually got that feedback and tweaked as we go, we will then roll it out going forward,” she said. “I do want to emphasize that these formats are complementary to our existing channels, so they are not going to result in our regular full-service [branches] necessarily disappearing.”