Banks should allow branch design teams to experiment to develop a proposition that attracts young customers, says GlobalData

Banks have previously been too conservative in sticking to their core brand image, but innovative design can be key to attracting younger customers in a post-pandemic world, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s report, ‘Forming an Early Connection: Insight into Children’s Banking’, shows that breaking away from traditional branding can yield strong results. For example, Frank by OCBC has ‘Instagram-worthy’ branches – small but colourful places decorated with debit card designs and inspirational money advice slogans. These are located in food courts and shopping areas so that customers can get drinks and snacks in addition to conventional banking advice. Innovations such as this have been an important factor behind its success, as GlobalData has found 18–24 year olds are least likely to automatically choose a traditional bank over a non-bank provider.

Katherine Long, Lead Banking Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The COVID-19 crisis has significantly shaped consumers’ lives, particularly in banking – with the temporary and permanent closure of branches pushing consumers increasingly into digital banking channels in the past six months. However, branches today are by no means useless and can serve as vital areas for customers to receive complex advisory services that help banks strengthen the relationship and sell higher-value products.

“Even before the pandemic, there was a push towards transforming branches to become more modern, more digital and more welcoming. Yet, in the past, these attempts have often been far too timid – opting to install iPads and ATMs in the hope that this was enough. Banks in general have been far too constrained through having to stick rigidly to their overall image, to the detriment of the overall proposition.

“Banks are likely to rationalise their branch network and re-orientate it towards helping digital on-boarding, higher value sales and relationship building. However, they will need to make more than cursory changes if they are to attract and retain younger customers in the post-COVID age.”

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