By David Labuskes
The future of retail banking: the focus is local.
As the world becomes more digital, banking institutions are evolving to keep up with the needs and preferences of their customers and employees
At the 2017 ABA Annual Convention in Chicago this fall, the discussion on the power of audiovisual experiences in retail banking offered two case studies with a common theme:
In this era of online banking, retail branches continue to play a crucial role in their communities. And AV technology is critical to building bonds with those communities.
Here’s a summary of those case studies.
Bank of America’s retail “branch of the future” initiative.
Bank of America is, of course, a large bank with a personal philosophy (“Life’s better when we’re connected”) and a local vision that requires targeted in-branch communications.
Bank of America already had a network of 6,000 video displays in 38 states. For efficiency’s sake, it wanted to control content on those avscreens from a central location, but it also wanted to make each ofthose AV experiences relevant to each individual branch.
Now an intelligent content management system feeds information to branches about local:
- Enterprise programs
- Community activities
Even ambient music is localized. The effect is an in-branch experience that is very much of the community.
AV technology plays other roles in connecting with customers. Video screens in Bank of America branches are installed strategically to help shape the in-branch visit, speeding people through the teller line, for instance, or encouraging them to dwell and engage in meaningful conversations with bank platform specialists—the kind of one-on-one interaction that can’t take place on a mobile device.
Bank of America has also piloted “branches of the future” in large U.S. cities. No cookie-cutter approach; the communication experiences are different, depending on location, with bright, high-definition video walls making important connections.
- A video wall in New York enables self-service.
- In San Francisco, it offers additional banking services.
- In Boston, a branch’s video wall and bank concierge work in tandem to get customers where they need to go inside the bank.
In all three cases, audiovisual experiences foster connections.
PNC’s Fairfax Connection.
In Cleveland’s historic Fairfax neighborhood, PNC Bank has shown a more literal commitment to connecting with the community. PNC Fairfax Connection is not a bank—it’s not supposed to be. It’s a community center and an expression of PNC’s commitment to early childhood education and financial literacy.
The bank was able to connect with an underserved urban community through audiovisual technology.
When people enter the center, a large screen welcomes them with information about events and available facilities. A large interactive map of the neighborhood engages visitors and prompts them to add their story—in words and images—to a digital tapestry celebrating the history and culture of Fairfax.
The center’s programs—chosen and designed by the community, not the bank—include audiovisual experiences for all age groups.
- Children engage in learning experiences from around the country on a giant interactive screen.
- Teenagers enjoy a state-of-the-art video production studio.
- Adults develop technology skills.
- Small business owners learn how to take their ventures online in a learning environment infused with AV technology.
As a community initiative, the PNC Fairfax Connection has been a notable success. So far, 6,500 people have signed up—about the population of Fairfax itself. Last year, 15,000 people visited from all over. In fact, this “non-bank” has been so successful that the community asked PNC to put an actual retail branch nearby.
And PNC got as much from the project as the community. The center has influenced PNC’s thinking about the retail branch experience. Today, actual PNC branches are getting similar community screens, so when customers walk in, they can make immediate connections—not necessarily with the bank, but with the community.
In short, PNC learned that audiovisual experiences can connect an institution to the communities it serves by telling great local stories.
David Labuskes is the CEO of AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association. AVIXA represents the $178 billion global commercial AV industry, and produces InfoComm trade shows around the world. It hosted a discussion at the 2017 ABA Annual Convention in Chicago. For more detail on these and other case studies, download AVIXA’s recent report, The Power of Integrated AV Experiences in Banking.