Equinox Consulting

Analysis – Tick-tock, tick-tock… Time has come for bank branches to embark on the digital transformation journey

Barbara Busi at 2016-01-12 in Décryptage

Mobilise the Bank! That is the mantra of the book co-written by Jean Bouvier, Grégoire Forbin and Christophe Richard, which provides a study on the impacts of Retail banking’s digital transformation on HR. Following the book’s release, bankers were given the opportunity to share similar experience feedback during a round table held on the 10th of December 2015, which gathered representatives of leading bank networks (BPCE, CA, FBF and SG).

Table rondePredictably, our guests highlighted the changes in the retail model as the major trend, which is now leading to a decrease in the number of physical branches. Why? Because of the changes in consumer habits.

The number of customers visiting the branch has decreased from 56% to 21% in 3 years, with customers favouring remote access for performing basic operations such as management of their accounts or subscription to certain products. Consumers have become more independent in managing their banking operations, and visit their branch only to get advice on investment or to perform more important operations that require customer support (such as loan granting, insurance policy amendment drafting, etc.).

In parallel, to cater to these new requirements, physical branches get more and more equipped with innovative and smart tools, which require that support be extended to Relationship managers for them to master their new environment and lead digital transformation within the branch.  

1. Support to Relationship managers:

Table ronde 2Examples of support provided include the implementation of key digital competencies for all employees, or the need to adjust customer communication – historically product-focused – in order to lay emphasis back on the Relationship manager’s expertise. Relationship manager’s ability to communicate in writing with their customers (emails, chat), in addition to face-to-face dialogue, shall also be developed.  

Concurrently with Relationship managers’ skill ramp-up on the use of new digital tools, creative incentive methods, such as goal monitoring via « gamified » applications, and implementation of new compensation systems, shall also be considered in order to motivate and satisfy Relationship managers and better respond to the following equation: « a motivated Relationship manager conveys adequate communication = thus satisfying customers = contributing to increasing Net Banking Income ».


2. Leading transformation within the branch:

Table ronde 3A second key driver of digital transformation relates to the monitoring of teams’ sales performance. As the orchestrator of digital transformation within her/his branch, the Branch manager must have a clear vision of the digital changes to be implemented, as well as be able to quickly understand and anticipate digital impacts. As technology innovations are rapidly evolving, it is difficult to define an appropriate organisational model 3 to 5 years in advance.

To best adjust to these changes, support to Branch managers by HR Department is required. Standard HR methods must be revamped and innovative solutions offered both for recruiting and training Relationship managers. A more selective recruitment process, focusing on candidates with a 5-year postgraduate degree (« BAC+5 ») and used to technology innovations, as well as integration of interactive training modules in the HR approach, should most likely boost this success.  

What will be the methods mostly favoured by the various organisations? What is the most beneficial model? Following this round table, many questions remain unanswered, and it is not easy to provide the correct answer to this day; however, one thing is certain, the digital transformation journey will be long and unknown, and new innovative methods shall be certainly designed in the future.
To be continued…


  • Discover the book « Faites bouger la Banque ! » available online for reading or downloading: link

Barbara Busi   Barbara


Digital, Retail & SFS


Images credit : GABS, for Equinox-Cognizant, 2015

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