Bank sectors have changed their way of serving customers. The role of banks was very important to the people a few decades ago but nowadays e-banks and mobile applications have become more and more common. Doing business online has become more popular and many bank branches have closed their doors and moved their activity to the Internet.
In the last few decades, the position of bank branches in people’s lives has been very important. At first, people physically went to the bank to pay their bills and take out loans. In the 80s, people didn’t get loans as easily as today. People had to have a lot of start-up capital to get the loan or they had to know the bank manager. Today, almost everyone can take out a loan. Earlier, if people wanted to get some business advice, for example, concerning loans, they got help from the bank officials. Things were treated face to face and by talking.
Because of the technological development, currently it is easier and easier to handle bank business online. In 1992, only two percent of Finland’s citizens paid their bills online. In 2010, the number was 74 percent. Finns are forerunners in electronic bank services. (Koivisto 2011.) The bank sector has invested in their websites and people can easily pay their bills and take out loans there. Online bank services are open 24 hours a day and people can use them everywhere. They can also modify their personal profiles there.
Mobile applications are getting more popular by the minute. People can download applications, from the internet and do their bank business by using these apps. Mobile banking is easier and quicker than traditional banking. However there are differences between age groups. Younger consumers prefer mobile banking but older customers are used to traditional banking. In addition, younger people use different kinds of applications and that’s why it is easier for them to adapt to the technological transformation. It’s normal for them do business online. They have always done so and they probably will do it in the future.
I think that in the future, there will be bank branches but much fewer ones. Bank branches will focus on selling high value products and services. Most customers still need advice from the bank clerk concerning major financial decisions such as loans and investments. Bank clerks can give more detailed advice. Banks may move their activity to the internet. In the future there will be 3D-cameras which help clients and bank clerks to communicate with each other. Bank officials can do their job at home, too, and clients don’t have to physically go to the bank (Pankki vuonna 2030?).
“The new branches would be smaller and fitted with screens and telephones so that customers could call a specialist department for assistance. This might include a video link similar to the Skype internet telephone service.” (Winch 2013.)
I still believe that bank branches won’t disappear completely in the next twenty to thirty years, but maybe someday bank branches will migrate entirely to the web. When the baby boom generation quits the national economy, bank branches probably will change their way of operation. Increasingly younger people use the Internet and mobile apps and that’s why it is natural for them to do business online when they grow up.