Making the Most of a Bank Branch Visit

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By nbkc bank
03/29/2024

While online banking continues to broaden customers’ access to their financial institutions, bank branches and the in-person experience they provide remain important to consumers.

In fact, in the post-Covid environment, people are returning to branches at an accelerating rate. According to a 2022 Statista survey of nearly 60,000 people, 46% conducted their banking in person at a branch, up from 28% in 2021. And a 2023 study by Accenture confirmed that, across all age groups, roughly 2/3 of all respondents believed branches are important, and used them when seeking to solve specific and complicated issues.

As branch utilization increases, customers may want to consider anew how best to make the most of branch visits. Peter Mercer, vice president and head of deposit experience at nbkc bank, recently offered customers some pointers. Most important, he said, is customers knowing what they want to accomplish and planning accordingly.

“If customers want to complete a simple transaction, efficiency is usually most important to them, so avoiding peak hours might be a good idea,” Mercer said. “If they want to apply for a loan or initiate a banking relationship, they should allocate plenty of time, because those actions are more involved.”

In general, Fridays tend to be the busiest days for banks, as people want to complete their banking prior to weekends. Every day, activity in branches tends to start slowly, then spikes during the lunch hour and toward the end of the business day. As a result, the best time to avoid any rush usually is Monday to Thursday before lunch.

One other consideration is that the banking days before and after holidays tend to be among the busiest for banks. Banks are closed on federal holidays, so it removes those days from branch availability, and people use banks heavily before and after them.

“We, and most banks, understand these traffic trends and staff accordingly to ensure that customers have a great experience regardless of the time they visit a branch,” Mercer said.

While customers making basic transactions may be most interested in completing them quickly, those engaging in more involved processes should be certain to block ample time, generally at least an hour, so they don’t feel rushed.

“Actions such as starting a banking relationship, applying for a loan, or purchasing a CD are important moments, and we want to make sure no-one feels rushed completing them,” Mercer said. “We want to leave time for questions, making sure that everything is clearly understood and completed accurately step-by-step. That’s not possible if anyone feels hurried.”

Regardless of what brings a customer to a bank, Mercer said banks often can be most helpful by going beyond a customer’s initial intent for a visit.

“I always tell customers that they should enter the bank with an open mind,” he said. “Of course, we’ll help you with the need that brings you to a branch, but very often we can offer useful insights beyond that specific need. We train our people to help you identify and think through opportunities to make best use of the bank and help you manage your financial life. That’s one way we try to be of most value to our customers, and the benefits can be meaningful.”