With the advent of ATMs, smartcards, electronic money transfer and even bitcoins, I foresee the good old banking halls downgraded from imposing edifices to small corporate outposts or disappearing altogether. What's your take?
I had hoped so too and that is sort of where we should be heading. But, I can tell you that people still trust brick and mortar banks more when it comes to handling a lot of their information. I myself use both online banks and regular banks, and I just prefer online banking. But, sometimes, you do need to talk to someone to get your point across. Recently, when I was running around asking for money, the bankers who were most forthcoming were the ones where I knew people and had a good repo with them. And this is going to continue to exist.
The larger banks have reinvented themselves. This old bank that I've used for well over a decade suddenly and without me asking for one, assigned a "personal" banking representative, and another guy to "advise" me on equity. And I am not a high networth individual! The reason why the larger banks can do this is because they have a large workforce whom they can simply re-assign from being call center employees to being "personal representatives" without spending a penny more. And the customer will feel spoiled and hopefully not switch banks. I know I won't switch now - I have a personal banking representative
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