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A research study conducted by Novantas yielded the widely-cited result that 60% of American consumers prefer to use a physical bank branch rather than conduct their banking digitally. Jim Marous takes up the topic of this finding in a recent article for The Financial Brand, contesting those who interpret the statistic as supporting the need for preserving bank branches.

Marous suggests a number of possible contributing factors behind the decision of 60% of surveyed Americans to express a preference for physical banks. In many cases, due to a lack of digital options, consumers simply must use a branch in order to conduct their business. Additionally, a lack of consumer education about digital alternatives is a characteristic that seems to be prevalent in North America, in particular.

According to the author, the North American banking industry simply needs to catch up with other industries, in terms of digital alternatives. He highlights the need for a simplified system allowing for opening new accounts digitally, which cuts out the need to visit a physical branch.

The article closes with a brief overview of the diverse branch strategies that currently exist in the banking industry. Among major banks, some are tending to close branches, others are opening new branches to fill in the gap, and still others are more focused on developing digital options. Marous suggests that a better understanding of consumers’ definitions of convenience could help banks to establish a plan to position themselves for growth.

For more details, read the article in full at The Financial Brand.