I’m not a fan of bank branches (except Chase’s Northeast Seattle outpost, Hi Ben). In my view, 80% of what goes on there is better done remotely, and the other 20% just doesn’t provide enough ROI. But if you do have good branches, you should at least use your digital presence to showcase them.
Probably the best example of growing a franchise using branching—at least in the United States over the past 20 years—is Umpqua Bank. It grew from a small community bank to a West Coast regional on the back of its innovative branching strategy. (Warning! Do not try to copy this strategy; it’s not 1995 any more.) So, it’s no surprise that Umpqua is one of the more adept FIs in showcasing their local, branch-based services.
Most large banks require users to enter a ZIP code to personalize the website experience. But even then, you generally have to go to an ATM/branch finder to locate the closest branch. Umpqua wisely automates this process on both its desktop and mobile website, though it works more seamlessly on the desktop (see desktop example, above).
The bank uses visitor IP addresses to showcase branches in their city, but it goes one step further (at least in Chrome), by asking permission to use your location. If granted, Umpqua shows the exact branch closest to you. The branch name, address, and contact info are showcased right across the top of the screen. Finally—and I love this little touch—during open hours, there is an old-school “Open” sign in the right-hand corner. They could go one step further and add the temperature and maybe the time right below.
Those personalization techniques, while quite simple, makes prospective customers feel confident that the bank has a local orientation and really desires their business, whether it be digital or branch-focused.
Not everything Umpqua does is perfect. The bank also attempts to showcase local events on the left-hand column. But in my testing today, they were wildly off base. For instance, it listed a farmers market that was 40 miles away and didn’t mention the one within walking distance.