The pandemic has accelerated the digitization of banks. Agencies are expensive and are less visited.
Friday, ING has confirmed a rumor that had been circulating since several weeks : the health crisis will cost more than 40 branches in the retail bank. These spaces will re-open their doors, and will add to the list more and more long branches and points of services, where ING still operated in 2010. Ten years ago, more than 280 offices existed, and 500 points of service would complete the network in shopping centres in particular.
40 agencies to a quarter of the 170 offices remaining will stop their activity. ING bank explained in a statement that the crisis had ” accelerated the process of digitization “. Local media reported that it was still impossible to know what were the agencies involved. It will certainly offices the less visited by customers, which are also less many to come into the agency.
“Two to three clients per hour “
Necessarily, the period is not indicative of a normal situation. But ING has already drawn up conclusions : the customers will be less and less likely to come into the agency so that they can perform all their tasks directly from the application, and requesting the aid of a adviser through the customer support.
In a press release, the CEO of ING netherlands Ruud van Dusschoten explained that there are ” offices, which are now on average two to three customers per hour “, before adding that ” we have scanned a number of processes for which clients were previously in the office. This means that fewer customers visit our offices. In the end, there are not enough visitors to keep a local office open “.
On the other hand, the bank wants to be reassuring with the payroll. It says that some will be able to continue to work with ING in forming on a new post. The establishment still seems to forget that already more than 150 employees would be affiliated to these 40 agencies closed, and the closure of other local is expected to continue in the coming years for the 128 agencies remaining.
What is the future of physical networks ?
There is a real acceleration of the scanning process of the banks in 2020, and competition from online banks and new banks just does not help the traditional banks to want to quickly start their shift. However, other institutions are making the choice to bet on the physical network, to the bank’s image Nickel.
Belonging to BNP Paribas, the bank network alternative has chosen to work with tobacconists French (and soon Spanish and Italian) to be able to rely on a physical network. The benefits are many. Of course, the image of bank proximity is not really found, because the bank Nickel does not have advisors. But tobacconists can allow customers to deposit cheques and of the liquid, which is obviously impossible with a neo-bank.
Let’s end on another solution proposed by the network of Caisses d’epargne Bretagne pays de la Loire (CEPBL), in which the staff of the classic agencies would be replaced by bankers who are ” independent “. The regional fund affiliated to the people’s Bank would like to solicit independent to become agents exclusive of the bank.
The new organization would by experts that cover a part of expenses (staff costs and agency) in exchange for commission on the banking products sold. It would draw a current model in Belgium, and would replace the network of traditional bank branches franchised. A solution that the bank account still be able to validate with the ACPR.