The Growing Importance of Self-Service

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Celent have reviewed this profile and believe it to be accurate.
21 July 2010
Bob Meara
Reg. E changes, the Credit Card act of 2009, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act – all have eroded banks ability to generate revenue. While the full extent of the damage this legislation has caused the industry remains to be seen, one clear implication is that banks must shed costs. For example, in a July 2010 Celent survey of 200+ financial institutions, two-thirds of respondents cited cost reduction as one of their top-3 retail banking priorities. Shedding cost is relatively easy. Doing so without compromising sales and service delivery is a significant challenge. Celent sees self-service becoming increasingly important in the new normal. Here are several recent examples.
  • Chase is offering essentially free remote deposit capture (RDC) solution to small business customers as long as they make a requisite number of monthly deposits using RDC. The implicit objective is to reduce the branch traffic along with its related costs.
  • Bank of America is piloting a new eBanking account which is free to customers using 100% self-service channels. Using the branch for those customers will result in an $8.95 fee.
  • Chase began offering mobile RDC capability to iPhone users of its mobile banking solution. Mobile RDC offers a low-cost self-service deposit capability that, by definition, keeps check deposit transactions out of the branch.
  • A small but growing number of credit unions led by Coastal FCU in North Carolina have extended branch hours, not by keeping the branch open longer, but by deploying vestibule personal teller machines (PTMs) that combine ATM like experience with real-time video conferencing with tellers housed in a centrally located call center. Doing so has provided extended branch hours at a fraction of the cost of keeping full-service branches open longer.
The common thread among these examples is customer pleasing service delivery at significantly lower cost than the traditional branch banking service model. Is there any doubt that the trend will continue?


  • The concept of self-service banking which allows bank customers to apply for loans online has become more and more popular, in particular with the steady increase in the use of the internet to conduct online banking in the past years. The UK Payments Administration also reported that in the first half of 2009, 22 million adults used internet banking on their main current account. This meant that for the first time ever more than 50 per cent of regular internet users are banking online.

    Self-service internet banking has become is increasingly common, in particular across Scandinavia. Sparebank 1 in Norway, for example, is already employing a loan application solution that delivers cost-effective business processes and which supports and improves communication with customers. Statistics from Sparebank 1 have shown a significant reduction in the processing time for loan applications, which allows for faster response to customers while improving the quality of credit approval decisions. Through the loan application, customers benefit from simpler and easier access to banking services through a range of channels.

    However, in many ways, the full potential of self-service in banking is yet to be realised across the globe. While the majority of financial institutions now enable customers to complete basic banking tasks online, such as checking their account balance, transferring money or making payments, far less enable customers to complete more sophisticated tasks, such as loan applications, completely online. By introducing self-service for both the loan application process as well as for processing applications, banks can avoid losing out to the competition at this crucial time by improving customer accessibility as well as their conversion rates.

  • [...] DIY: Self-service channels critical to replacing lost overdraft income [...]

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Asia-Pacific, EMEA, LATAM, North America