No more ATMs in branches?

At Diebold Nixdorf’s International Management Seminar, particular attention was paid to ‘connected commerce’.

No more ATMs in branches?

However, ATMs may not be part of this connection.

Philippine Risch, director of ING’s branches and cash in the Netherlands, believed ING’s purpose was to help its customers stay ahead by being “a tech company with a banking licence”.

Is there a need for branches in an increasingly digital world? Risch believed so.

At the event, she said: “The ultimate experience is ultimate digital mixed with ultimate human experience.”

However, she highlighted that the branch would only be useful if it was there to satisfy a customer’s needs. Even if a branch is not needed, customers can feel relieved to see one.

Additional services a branch can provide are human help and guidance.

Risch added: “Sometimes people just even want to vent at their bank and appreciate general attention. The human contact makes the difference in a customer relationship. The human touch adds to the heart and the emotion of the digital relationship.”

ING’s branches will focus on being advice branches or experience branches.

One thing that might not have a future in ING’s branch is ATMs. Risch would not elaborate, but said cash will remain in a large role in Dutch society, but will not play a huge part in branches. Therefore, ATMs would eventually be removed.

Christian Weisser, senior vice president and managing director Europe, Middle East and Africa at Diebold Nixdorf, said: “We see four global forces in our space: automation, digitalisation, individualisation, and a strong trend to consumer everything as a service. Cash as a service, ATMs as a service, everything is a service. These forces drive retail and banking.”

Weisser described the future as not necessarily a ‘cashless’ society, but definitely a ‘cash-lite’ one.

With PSD2’s imminent arrival, the four “global forces” combine and the financial sector needs to embrace this.

He added: “Connected commerce means providing an app that isn’t only financial advice, but also provides tips for lifestyle.

“By 2018, a billion accounts’ information will be available. So why not be the first to aggregate all this information into your app?”