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The Branch is Back: Global Case Studies in 21st Century Banking Success

By: David J Cavell

Published: May 2008

The Branch is BackThe branch is well and truly back as the lead delivery channel and is once again the subject of major development spend. This report reviews the state of branch banking across the world and presents case studies of industry leading innovation.

The report assesses the critical success factors involved in:

- The brand and the branch.

- Branch design.

- The branch in the community.

- Network planning and management.

- Self-service strategy.

- Sales systems.

- Staff skills.

Branches can be made to work effectively for all sectors of the market  and somewhere in the world someone has already solved your problem!

Who should read this?

Heads of Financial Service Providers, Executive Directors, Consultants Partners and Directors of Retail Banking and Senior Management in Retail Banking, small business banking, branch operations, delivery channel strategy.  Cash in Transit companies Directors, Head of Sales Trends,

What are they looking for?

Peer group experience, industry trends, material for business cases, re-assurance, education of potential, for example: self service and strategy options. Education on the issues and alternative solutions, best practice and trends, self service developments, and things likely to impact their business models.

About the Author:

Formerly a member of the General Management team of the highly successful UK Cooperative Bank, David J Cavell FCIB has led and supported a range of strategy and implementation projects.
Long established as an examiner for the Chartered Institute of Bankers, he assisted the development and launch of a new bank card examination for Visa International.
He is currently a panel member for the UK Banking Code Standards Board and a member of the General Assembly of the University of Manchester. He is a member of the judging panel for major annual industry awards given by the UK Institute of Financial Services and The Asian Banker Journal of Singapore.


This report reviews examples of the extensive work that is once again being undertaken by the world’s retail bankers to ensure that branches remain effec- tive and profitable components of the delivery channel mix.

The principal objectives of any delivery channel, and in particular the branch, are:

-     to project and represent the brand (or sub brand);

-     to protect and develop the existing customer base;

-     to acquire profitable new customers;

-     to provide service that is a critical requirement of its location.

This chapter discusses the issue of the brand and the branch, while the case studies and other chapters provide ample illustrations of the means by which all of these objectives are being pursued.


This section looks at three different retail banking development scenarios, each of which is built round a branch-led delivery channel strategy.

ANZ Banking Group is a profitable major player operating in increasingly competitive markets. The Australian banks are once again taking a positive view of the role of the branch. And for ANZ the branch is playing a role of strategic significance in its mission to:

-     develop wallet share among its existing customers;

-     acquire new customers in both existing branches and through the opening of new outlets;

-     build customer satisfaction to the point of advocacy; and

-     reach out to the many and various communities within which it operates.


This section of the report presents a range of studies, each of which examines some aspect of innovation in branch design. The chapters covering The Co- operative Bank and Wachovia reflect the experiences of banks which are market leaders in the use of environmentally-sensitive techniques.

The concept of the financial mall, a large flagship branch on a prominent site, has proved attractive to the banks of the Gulf region. In 2004, as part of a series of major bank-wide improvement initiatives, Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait conceived the  idea  of  developing a  series of  financial  malls throughout  the Kingdom. This chapter  provides practical insights about the design process, from the development of the first designs to the point of implementation.


Garanti Bank is the third-largest player in Turkey outside of government control, based on total assets. The bank’s own research confirms that its brand is both respected for its professionalism and innovation, and trusted. But the market within which the bank operates requires it to service customers from a very broad range of socio-economic backgrounds. The Turkish market is also very price-sensitive. The new generation of Garanti branches are smart and functional without being over-engineered. The bank deploys market-leading online functionality to facilitate the automation of many routine teller and customer transactions. And at the heart of its marketing strategy is a highly-sophisticated customer relationship management-driven  (CRM-driven) sales system. This case study provides a view of a bank that has  taken major initiatives, often industry-leading, in all the critical areas of retail branch strategy.


The banking case studies in this section of the report provide two world-class examples of how the branch can be deployed as both a service facility and a platform through which to reach and cultivate business within the local community. Indeed, the Bendigo Bank programme is entirely dependent for its success on the support  of the local community – who are stakeholders in their branch. The third study illustrates the increasing significance of the branch to the credit union movement within the US.


A view has been developed by Deloitte & Touche LLP (Deloitte) that UK banks are  struggling to maximise the benefits of their branch networks – for both their customers and themselves. Few banks are seen to have addressed all aspects of necessary branch transformation with the disciplined approach that the subject demands. Chapter XXX summarises the views of the firm on this situation and the six key disciplines that  it proposes as a route to effective branch transformation.


As this report also evidences, the key issues that must now be on the agenda of any bank committed to maximising the effectiveness of its retail branch network include:

-     the brand at the branch – and how it is fully articulated;

-     defining and developing the branch experience for customers;

-     the development of branch staff skills;

-     the development of CRM systems;

-     developing an optimal and affordable retail format to support the above initiatives;

-     the overall management of existing and planned branch investment to ensure that it achieves and sustains the required return; and,

-     maximising the effective use of customer-activated terminals within the branch.


1. Overview


2. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Australia

3. HBOS Group, UK

4. YES BANK, India


5. BBK B.S.C.

6. Credit Suisse, Switzerland

7. Lloyds TSB Bank plc, UK

8. The Co-operative Bank, UK

9.Wachovia Corporation, US

10. Cameos in branch design


11. TD Canada Trust, Canada

12.Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS (Garanti Bank), Turkey

13. Cameos in branch sales strategies


14. Bendigo Bank, Australia

15. Caja Navarra, Spain

16. Delta Community Credit Union, US


17.Winning with branches. Six key disciplines for branch tran

18. Increasing sales effectiveness

19. Back to basics – the eight-step solution

20. Optimising the return from branch network assets

21. Self service – automating teller transactions, customer service and sales

View full Summary Report


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