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Maintaining a balance between Digital Banking and Physical Banking amid Crisis

Ashish M. Shaji

| Updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Category: Digital Banking

Digital banking and Physical banking

Banks and credit unions that lack digital options have found it tough to stay operational amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has affected all those with poor online banking services, mobile apps, remote deposits, etc. Similarly, banks running with physical branches were also stuck. However, those who maintained the perfect balance between Digital banking and Physical banking progressed.

Has Banking managed to come out of the mess created by Covid-19?

The covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have hit many industries hard, and the positive cases have been on the rise, with many regions still reporting thousands of cases a day. Considering all this, it is difficult to predict when it will subside.

Banks that have shown preparedness and taken required measures for all possibilities are the ones that have shown the brave face and looked to tackle the challenges created by the pandemic.

Has there been a definite shift to remote digital channels amid crisis?

Many financial institutions have realized the fact that their employees can work remotely. Those institutions that invested in the right remote technology and cyber compliant service and equipment have fared well. Many consumers have also realized that digital technology has come to their rescue in these times, where they can easily access their bank accounts from the comfort of their homes.

We have also seen people who were reluctant to use digital banking, now learning how to use it. Now people, especially the older generation, are managing their wealth through digital channels as they can easily transact or open an account from the comfort of their homes.  The notion of not visiting a physical branch may have been foreign but not anymore as people are forced into adapting it.

Is there still a need for physical banking or a physical branch?

With the growing dominance of digital banking, many would think there is no need for physical banking. The digital community would be the first among them; however, there are few things that we must consider before we arrive at conclusions.

Notwithstanding the efficiency that digital banking brings, most people would still prefer a system where they can interact with others. As human beings, we love the company of other humans, which is also visible in our society where people have started to visit their friends and families. Therefore human to human interaction is a part of our lives.

Then there are customers who like visiting their bank branches for banking purposes, and they may not like banking going fully digital.

Moreover, when there is a dispute with respect to the money, people would want to go to physical branches and meet in-person to solve the issue. In the case of digital banking, there are also ways of handling such situations, but people have complained about the lack of proper communication channels when there is an occurrence of disputes related to money.

No doubt, we miss human interactions today when we are forced to function in a restricted way due to social distancing norms and lockdown. Most of the people have been longing to come meet people face to face once again. Another thing to understand is that there is nothing called 100% digital, even if we come to a point where there is a movement towards digital. Therefore we come to the conclusion that there will be a need for both digital banking and physical banking, and those that find the perfect balance between the two will thrive. 

How to find the right balance between digital banking and physical banking?

digital banking and physical banking

So now we come to the gist of the matter that is striking the right balance between the two. Many institutions believe that balance is a strategic blend of tailored solutions and customer experience. There is a need for both of them as digital provides efficiency and physical provides a human connection.

There are many ways for financial institutions to build their roadmap to strategy such as a Strategic Discovery Workshop can help to re-assess vision both digitally as well as technically and map out where the institution must be in the market.

Depending upon the findings from the above-mentioned workshop, an executive readiness test can be valuable in helping them identify areas of strengths and weaknesses in multiple categories where a financial institution must invest to be competent. Categories of digital platforms, cybersecurity, remote technologies, etc. are all covered to facilitate the roadmap strategy.

Maintain the balance between cash and digital is critical. Most consumers are of the opinion that the cash relating economy and digital solutions must be clubbed together to improve the banking sector. The amount of data available about one’s physical habits and purchasing habits can help the banking sector to serve the best products available to the customers. Having the cash can also help people out in situations where there is a system failure or in any other case of emergency.

The road ahead for financial institutions with respect to maintaining a balance between digital banking and physical banking

The strategy required for striking the perfect balance between digital banking and physical banking may not be adopted quickly by many financial institutions. This could be because they have not realized its importance, but time is not late for those who want to establish their roadmap and strategy, thereby becoming more efficient in both digital and physical aspects. It applies to all, whether digital or traditional.

Conclusion

The government also plays a critical role in helping the financial institutions to achieve the right balance between digital banking and physical banking. In developing the digital economy, it cannot ignore the need for a cash-based economy or the need for physical banking.

Also, read: Customer Onboarding in Digital Banks

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Ashish M. Shaji

Ashish M. Shaji has done his graduation in law (BA. LLB) from CCS University. He has keen interests in doing extensive research and writing on legal subjects especially on criminal and corporate law. He is a creative thinker and has a great interest in exploring legal subjects.

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