BAI: Branches Not Dead Yet

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LAS VEGAS – Branches are evolving as consumers’ desires and expectations are changing, but despite reports to the contrary branches are still important to consumers.

That was the message at the BAI Retail Delivery convention Wednesday from a panel of bank industry representatives. Richard Carey, EVP of Retail Banking for Portland, Ore.-based Umpqua Bank declared, “As a community banker, I’m not slowing down…I’m building 10 more branches this year. Starbucks isn’t slowing down, either.”

Jeffrey Talpas, EVP of Retail Network for BBVA Compass, Birmingham, Ala., said, “There is no doubt we will continue to grow. The key point is what type of branches we are going to deploy. They won’t all be full-service branches because we will have far less transactions in our branches.”

Jay Freeman, EVP of Regional Banking for Wells Fargo Bank and chairman of BAI, said there is a temptation in the banking industry to think of branches by cost. “But they still play a vital role for interactions with customers. When a customer has a particularly difficult problem, one that keeps him up at night, the branch is where they come to see us.”


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