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Brick and Mortar Banks Aren’t Dead Yet

A Wells Fargo bank branch on Madison Avenue in Midtown Manhattan,  New York, U.S., on Saturday, April 11, 2015.  Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg *** Local Caption ***A Wells Fargo bank branch on Madison Avenue in Midtown Manhattan,  New York, U.S., on Saturday, April 11, 2015.  Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg *** Local Caption ***
A Wells Fargo bank branch on Madison Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.Photograph by Getty Images

Robo-advisors and online-only banks may pose a threat to traditional banks, but bank branches are likely here to stay—at least for a little while longer, according to a new survey.

Although some consumers are leaving banks entirely, the majority, 87%, still crave human contact. Even most millennials, 86%, say they will use a bank branch at least two years from now, according to a Accenture survey that polled over 4,000 bank customers in the U.S. and Canada.

“In fact, consumers most commonly report that they will use the branch two years from now because ‘I trust my bank more when speaking to someone in person’ and ‘I receive more value from my bank when speaking to someone in person,'” the study stated.

More consumers also say traditional banks should invest in their branches, while fewer survey respondents said that banks should develop their online channels in comparison to 2015. While consumer interest in branch investment grew by four percentage points since 2015, 30% of consumers say banks should focus on growing their online channels. That’s down four percentage points since the year prior.

 

But that preference for human interaction hasn’t stopped consumers from leaving behind traditional banks. Roughly 4% of U.S. consumers left their bank joined a non-traditional provider, such as an online-only bank, payment provider, retailer, or insurer—largely due to the lower cost.

“Consumers no longer view switching banks as a hassle, which puts pressure on firms to not only attract new customers, but find ways to keep existing customers loyal,” continued Edmondson. “According to our research, 79% of consumers consider their relationship with their bank to be purely transactional.”

“In fact, 45% of consumers said the top reason they would stay loyal to their bank is if it offered discounts on purchases of interest,” the report stated.