OCBC, a Sinaporean bank, has launched a new brand called Frank to better cater towards younger customers. Reflecting this younger brand, two pilot branches have been opened which have been designed more like electronics and fashion shops (bit.ly/k91q09) than the stale financial transaction centres that retail banks typically represent (bit.ly/maZZZ1 ). As such, OCBC, would appear to be following in the footsteps of Umpqua Bank (bit.ly/kL7jSh) and Jyske Bank (bit.ly/kL7jSh), designing branches as places that people may actually want to visit. Interestingly, the insurance sector also appears to be jumping on the band wagon with State Farm trialing a similar oulet branded 'Next Door' that is due to open in Chicago this August (bit.ly/lzS527).
Commerce Bank is another example of a bank that seems to be taking its cues from outside the financial services sector. Commerce Bank has extended its opening hours to actually fit with customer lifestyles. Typically Commerce Bank opens its branches from 7.30am-8pm Monday to Friday, as well as most of the day on the weekends (bit.ly/koR4oE). Such a move just seems to make sense from a customer perspective since banks usually choose to have opening hours that are extremely inconvenient for those who work 9-5 jobs or even longer hours.
Consequently, there does seem to be a slow, but positive trend from a small number of innovative banks to transform the branch experience into something more inline with what consumers expect. As banks struggle to keep up with rapidly increasing customer expectations, those banks that are primarily focused on providing services through the branch channel may well benefit from developing more customer-centric innovations, such as the examples descrived above.