Nearly 80,000 empty buildings and endless more trained banking professionals without a job. But the effect on consumers could be even more dramatic. Most money-related banking interactions could transition relatively seamlessly in a branchless, increasingly cashless world. These are the bill pays, account transfers and check deposits that don’t require much thought. Most savvy consumers don’t need a branch to get their everyday banking functions done.
The more impactful question to consider is what happens when life’s biggest financial moments take place digitally, without a chance for human interaction and authentic person-to-person advice. Buying a first home. Starting a college fund. Refinancing to start a business. Taking out a second mortgage. Planning for retirement.
For these life-changing purchases, relationship building and genuine person-to-person exchange can still mean everything to people investing their hard earned money.
As with most technological advancements, a portion of the population would thrive in a branchless future, but the rest would long for the days when life’s most stressful decisions are made with the help of another person right in front of them instead of only via recommendations from algorithms, bots or faceless strangers over the phone.