Emily Farrimond, Director, Baringa Partners says: “The news that HSBC – who historically placed a strong emphasis on its local branch presence – has closed over 200 branches this year is just the latest in a series of branch closures across the industry as banks react to changes in customer behaviour and the need to reduce operating costs. However, ongoing closures is not sustainable and a new approach to product sales is needed. The banking industry should learn from the telecoms sector and create ‘The BankStore’, the Carphone Warehouse of banking.
“The BankStore would allow customers to compare the prices of retail banking products from a range of providers under one roof. Sales assistants would be able to provide independent advice on a range of products and customers would then be able to buy from any provider. If customers then want to purchase additional products from a different provider, they wouldn’t have to provide any further information as it would all be registered with The BankStore.
“As well as increasing competition in the banking industry, a key focus for the regulator, The BankStore would also support vulnerable customers who do not have access to digital channels or do not feel comfortable using them. The question is, will banks take the lead or will a new challenger step up to the plate?”