More than a third of consumers have said it’s very important to them that their bank has branches they can visit should they need to.

Today, retail banking is facing more than its traditional share of challenges and opportunities. Banks find themselves in the eye of a cost-of-living ‘storm’, where customers need high levels of support, service – and empathic solutions. 

And these solutions need to be delivered alongside the wholesale restructuring of the retail banking estate: the re-alignment of bricks-and-mortar, phone and digital channels with evolving customer needs and expectations.

Capita commissioned research to form an in-depth understanding of retail banks’ current challenges and opportunities and to identify in what ways they most need to adapt, and as part of this we asked consumers about how they access their bank’s services and by what means.

Our research sought to understand with what frequency consumers used their bank or building society for tasks such as making payments, checking statements, or making an enquiry. And through which channels they made this contact, be that in-branch, on the phone, through the website, or via an app.

And we found that, despite many predicting that banks will have no presence on the high street in 10 years’ time, consumers still see value of the physical branch. In fact, just over one in three (35%) of those researched said it was very important that their bank had branches they could visit, should they wish to. This was the case for 25% of the 18–23-year-old Gen Z-ers, rising gradually through the generations to 45% for those aged 75 and over.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, smartphones were by far the most common way to access banking. One in four (25%) of all consumers access banking this way every day, rising to 27% for a few times a week. Generationally, app usage isn’t restricted to the young. While 79% of 18–23-year-olds access their app once a week or more, 50% of 54–74-year-old Boomers and 36% of those aged 75+ do too. Just one in five (20%) say they don’t have access to an app.

Similarly, 24% of all consumers access banking through the web a few times a week, dropping to 12% who access it this way daily. At a generational level, weekly web access is far more equalised than apps. In fact, the same percentage of 18–23-year-olds and those aged 75+ (53%) access web banking once a week. And just 7% said they don’t have access to web banking.

Today’s retail banking industry must recognise that bricks and mortar branches are still relevant but that consumers also expect omnichannel access. Many leading banks are embracing this philosophy already, emphasising the importance a community bank or hub has to re-energise the high street while giving customers the flexibility they crave. A customer can, for instance, enjoy their regular bricks and mortar experience and then go on to actually purchase a product or make a decision later in the comfort of their own home, with no channel conflict or friction. Some banking brands have also begun utilising mobile ‘bank vans’ for when branches have been removed.

To access more exclusive insights, download the full Rethinking banking report via the button below, where you’ll find more insights into other key retail banking trends, such as what are the main motivators that cause people to switch bank and how important humans and humanity is in banking.
In total, 2,000 consumers were interviewed nationwide during the research, conducted by specialist research agency Opinium. The subjects were split by the five key consumer generations: Gen Z (18-24), millennials (25-40), Gen X (41-56), baby boomers (57-75) and those aged 76+. As well as focusing on those different generations, our data scientists have taken the research a stage further and defined six distinct new banking personas for banks. While working with the outputs from the research, our data scientists identified six new customer banking clusters – or personas – combining both traditional socio-demographic data with new behavioural, channel and attitudinal data from our recent banking research.

In the light of wholesale industry change, understanding these personas will help decision-makers in our specialist sector create more accurate (and innovative) customer solutions, spanning product, channel, service and customer experience.

Written by

Anna Koritz

Anna Koritz

Managing Director, Financial Services

Anna is a Managing Director of our Financial Services business, which focuses on driving better outcomes for our banking, mortgage, motor finance and insurance sector clients. She has extensive experience working in financial service environments, as a management consultant, as a corporate banker and as a banking client too, managing and transforming large scale payment operations and treasury services. Anna is passionate about effective deployment of best practise solutions and has an unrelenting customer outcome focus.

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