Barely a month passes without us seeing an announcement from a financial institution about branch closures. Since January 2015 nearly 3,000 bank and building society branches have closed, with some reports suggesting a similar number will disappear from towns and villages across the UK in the next three years.
In 2011 there were 478 million ‘customer interactions’ in branches across the UK; 2016 saw about 280 million. With online banking, call centres and smartphone apps, are branches soon to go the same way as Blockbuster video stores?
At Coventry Building Society, we don’t think so. Of course, branches are places where you can deposit and withdraw. But there’s more to it than that. Being that trusted presence on the local High Street brings its benefits. Automated service is fine for routine transactions, but the face-to-face approach comes into its own when we step outside of the norm.
That’s why we’ve started a major five-year investment programme in our branches. Branches matter to our members, and the way branches are used has changed over the years. We've adapted our new branch design and layout to be simple, open and warm to reflect this.
The new design creates a more spacious, relaxed and informal feel. Importantly, rather than just replying on technology, we’re keen that members have more opportunity to deal with our branch teams face-to-face. Have a look – we think it’s a really different approach.
We’ve already rolled out the design to branches in Leicester, Birmingham, Merry Hill, Leamington Spa and Gloucester, with more to follow in the months and years ahead.