Is social media the next bank branch?

Long gone are the days when a branch was needed to speak to your bank.

Now, there are a variety of options, including the exponentially growing realm of social media. While banks are unlikely to be defined as ‘social’, they are taking the medium, particularly Facebook, by storm. Patrick Brusnahan writes

In RBI’s 100 Most Liked Institutions on Facebook table, it shows that the financial sector is still focusing on the site to interact with its customers. With an average rise in ‘Likes’ of 66%, it has been a strong showing for the financial sector.

Visa finished top of the table yet again with a total of 19.8 million fans, a rise of 19% compared to last year. MasterCard finished second with 13.4 million fans, a rise of over 25% year-on-year.

While these two remained triumphant again, some institutions saw remarkable rises in the amount of ‘Likes’ they received with both State Bank of India and Intesa Sanpaolo increasing their total fans by over 1000%. The region with the biggest risers was the Middle East and Africa, with six of the ten most improved banks in this realm from this region.

The bank with the highest rating was HDFC in fourth place, closely followed by Banco Bradesco and ICICI, with 6.8 million fans, 41% more fans than the previous year.

The highest placed UK-based bank was Barclays in tenth, the same position as last year. The lender saw a 21% rise in fans to hit 4.3 million.

This shows a clear emphasis from huge financial institutions. Banks can no longer drag customers into a branch, they now have to go where the customer resides, i.e. social media. The power has shifted somewhat.