Branching Out Monday, November 14, 2016 - Forbes, Middle East

As consumers become ever more connected and insistent on easy, quick, online service, the traditional retail bank branch model is changing. David Horton, Head of Innovation at Synechron Middle East discusses how institutions are evolving in tune with the digital world.

As we become more dependent on digital platforms, is traditional in-branch banking becoming obsolete?
Digital has the potential to completely transform the financial services industry. Whether we are talking about blockchain, AI, Robo-advisors, P2P or UX, digital will change and is changing the status quo. However, that does not mean that the bank branch will become obsolete. Global tier one banks and regional banks alike are realizing that if they embrace digital, they can create new, omni-channel banking experiences that bring in the best of beacons, interactive display walls, voice recognition, and other new digital technologies to create more interactive, meaningful in-branch experiences. What digital will do, therefore, is redefine the role of the traditional bank branch.

The branch of the future will be a physical-digital branch hybrid that creates a seamless experience across all bank channels, but demonstrates the unique value add that patrons will gain through an in-person digital branch experience. Despite the improvements in mobile banking and digital enablement, the branch will always remain an important factor in new customer acquisition and when customers seek advice on big ticket items like mortgages and retirement planning they will still value the face-to-face interaction of the bank’s experienced branch staff. The new bank branch will serve as a trusted advisory service with a range of digital interactions that support the decision-making process.

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