A year or two ago, you could easily rattle a room full of retail bankers by predicting a quick death for branches. Just point out how many teller line functions are now capable of being handled in digital channels, extrapolate all the data on today's youth and their dependency on smartphones, et voilà — bank branches are toast.

But it seems few bankers will buy that line of thinking anymore. Try to challenge the assumptions they bring to work every day, and they will argue that branches remain a vital touchpoint, and not just for old people or technophobes. The bricks-and-mortar channel may need some slimming down, and the skills required of staffers are definitely shifting, but just like websites and mobile apps and, maybe one day, wearable technology, branches have a legitimate role to play and are worthy of inclusion in an omnichannel strategy.

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