WSFS to Give All Branch Staff Tools to Perform Any Task

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Wilmington, Del.-based WSFS (WSFS) is plotting a major branch upgrade and redesign project that will be executed over the next year.

"Our focus is on making space more flexible in terms of functions, so that the branches are not traditionally designed with areas for transactions, sales and service," says Lisa Brubaker, senior vice president and director of retail administration for the $4.3 billion-asset bank.

Instead of relying on traditional design in which tellers and sales people are located in specified parts of the branch, the bank will give internal staff, which it calls personal bankers, access to a business intelligence-informed dashboard that allows account opening, sales, transactions and general customer service through links to the bank's CRM system — all from the same service station in the branch.

That way, customers can get a broader suite of in-branch personal service without having to move around or wait to meet different people. The bank will accomplish this through a mix of staff training and access to myriad sales and service platforms and software that will be deployed in the coming months, or will be combined with existing technology.

WSFS has signed on to use a group of Harland Financial Solutions products including Encore Sales & Service, Encore Teller, DecisionPro and uOpen, which it will add to Harland business intelligence and interaction management platforms that it already uses to support its full-service personal banker model (called Universal Associate).

For example, the integration of LaserPro, a loan compliance product, with DecisionPro will enable loan decisioning at the staff level. Encore will be used to drive consistent experience across branch and remote channels such as mobile and web, while synchronizing self-service and staff assisted service. The business intelligence product, called Touche Messenger, will be used to inform and create consistent cross-sell strategy at both branch and digital channels.

The WSFS deployment will take place in 45 branches, with the project beginning this quarter with delivery of the new tech expected to take place by November. Except for uOpen, which will be outsourced, all of the tech will be run in-house by the bank.

The bank has long given more transactional and sales responsibility to teller-level staff, and will increase that through the new project, which will add function and change the branch layout to a less modular form. "Some days their functions are sales, others it will be service, other times they may do both," says Brubaker. "We don't distinguish between functions."

The staff will access these programs on screen at workstations, while self-service kiosks will also expand to include more access to greater service tied to the product suite. "The [staffer] gets a view of relationships from the dashboard, so they can get a sense of how that customer is doing business with us today, and what opportunity may be for them," Brubaker says.

The bank's universal service-oriented branch strategy is an technological alternative to traditional methods of delivering service and cross sell through separate applications that in some cases are accessed by different staff. Other banks are also changing branch design to accommodate a more mobile customer base. In an upcoming Bank Technology News report in the April issue on how ATMs and branches, Wells Fargo (WFC) mentioned it is redesigning branches as part of the Wachovia conversion to improve customer flow and the mix of automated and personally delivered service.

"We see the branch experience as more of an opportunity to be face to face with customers, I don't see any of the channels giving way to one another. Customers like to have options," Brubaker says.

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