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Consumers have fewer reasons to visit branches, says Bankrate
MADISON, Wis. (3/25/14)--The traditional branch may not be endangered, but it appears to be in a stage of transition as mobile applications and online banking become more pervasive, according to a Bankrate.com survey.
 
Half of all credit union members and bank customers had visited their local branch within the past 30 days for reasons other than using an ATM, according to the Bankrate survey, which was part of its March Financial Security Index. About one-fifth of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 visited brick-and-mortar branch within a week of the survey. Around 30% of people over age 30 visited a branch in that time frame.
 
But financial institutions have reported a reduction in foot traffic as new technologies wedge themselves between the consumer and the corner branch, according to Michael Goodson, head of management consulting with Accenture's North America banking practice. That development occurred faster than expected, Goodson said.
 
Consumers simply have fewer reasons to visit branches with the development of new technologies to fulfill their banking needs, said Ajay Nagarkatte, managing director of research at BAI.
 
"The number and location of bank branches, as well as their functionality, will continue to evolve, but clearly they're not going away," said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com's chief financial analyst.
 
Three in 10 Americans haven't visited a credit union or bank branch in at least six months, according to the Bankrate.com survey. And while there was some variation among different age groups, it was not as wide as expected. Among those under age 30, 42% have been to a branch within the last 30 days compared to 52% of those over age 50.
 
One in five retirees has not visited a branch in over a year. Fifty-three percent have done so in the past 30 days, slightly more than the 50% figure for the overall population.


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