Sean Farrell

By: Sean Farrell on May 5th, 2020

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What Will Happen In The Branch In 2020 And Beyond

Cash Automation | Branch Transformation | Customer Service | ITM | ATM | Staffing | Thought Leadership

As states re-open in some form or fashion in the coming weeks, many Financial Institutions are faced with the new reality of what to do with the branch. Just about all Financial Institutions have shifted to drive through only service for transactions and appointments for other activities.

The big question is, what happens now? What is the best strategy to move forward, offering a better client experience, a more efficient staffing model, and the right blend of technology and people?

Clients Adopting Change

One of the biggest struggles many senior executives struggle with is, will my clients adapt to change? And if they do, can we get them to adapt without rocking the boat or causing pain?

Covid-19 has proven the American public, in general, is certainly capable of adopting new behaviors and methods of conducting business. Many clients have been forced to conduct all transactions via the drive-through and ATM/ITM.

Many leading-edge Financial Institutions likely benefitted from having ITMs already deployed prior to COVID-19, allowing maximum transaction capability with minimal impact to back end operations. 

The other forced shift was to rely on non-branch channels to get banking done. Many Financial Institutions saw a rise in online banking, mobile banking, and alternate channels.

This demonstrates that once clients try or are forced to use a channel, if the experience is positive, the likelihood of them continuing to use it is very high.

When you combine the added comfort of digital channels, plus the forced drive through interaction, you start to see a perfect environment for enhanced functionality at the ATM channel.

Whether it’s adding deposit automation at the ATM, employing Cash Recycling since cash deposits continue to rise, or adding Core integration with video teller support, the higher-end options are becoming very attractive.

As major players like Hyosung and NCR add more Cores to the integration suite, adoption of these cost-efficient and consumer-friendly technologies will flourish.

Lobby Assisted Self-Service

One of the other major drivers of Covid-19 is doing more for yourself as a consumer. Again, with high use at the ATM combined with digital channels, self-service transacting will continue to grow as people have gotten comfortable doing more for themselves.

Many of our clients are considering adding assisted self-service ITMs inside the lobby. With lingering questions about proper social distancing and keeping users comfortable and safe in the branch, assisted self-service allows nearly the same functionality someone would achieve with a teller but in self-service.

Universal staff members or tellers can be equipped with tablets to help and have relevant client information right on their screen to drive improved interactions and cross-sell opportunities.

With more users being comfortable with self-service in the drive-through, equipping lobby units with the same easy to use interface allows people to quickly adapt to the new service model, driving improved experience with no lines.

Generally speaking, the drive-through has been the fastest and easiest implementation for ITMs due to the similar experience in doing ATM transactions. The lobby has required additional thought and typically has been part of a phase 2, or transformative shift implemented across locations.

Now that self-service has become a way of life, we see the likelihood of lobby transformation combined with self-service to speed up dramatically.


In conclusion, it will be very interesting to see how many Financial Institutions emerge from the PPP frenzy and switch gears to “Now What” as a strategy. I think many executives will be wrestling with their branch distribution models, while retail bankers and member service executives will be discussing what the new post-COVID-19 experience looks like.

If you are an executive wading into unknown waters and want a strategic partner knowledgeable in best practices of change and successfully implementing self-service technology, give QDS a call!

Will self-service look different at your branch?

About Sean Farrell

Sean has been in the business since 2003 and always aims to be an expert on whatever solutions QDS is providing. Sean has grown into a thought leader in the space through research and company growth. Sean holds strongly to his Christian faith and uses those principles to guide the business.