Bank branches have become the unofficial theme of this week following reports that the rate at which bank branches are disappearing from the high streets is accelerating, at the same time European consumers are gradually warming to mobile banking.
To round the week on a more optimistic note for bank branches, Metro Bank opened a new, American fast-food type of branch today in London’s Southall.
The new service will allow customers to carry out cashier services from the comfort of their cars. They will be able to pay in cash and cheques and withdraw funds from their account with the help of two dedicated cashiers.
The store and its drive-thru service will be open 8am – 8pm Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm Saturday and 11am – 5pm Sunday and bank holidays, 362 days a year, and will have safety deposit box services.
“We’re thrilled to be bring a true banking alternative to the Southall community and look forward to welcoming both personal and business customers on our journey as we revolutionise UK banking,” said James Baughan, regional director at Metro Bank.
To celebrate the opening, the bank invited Southall residents to join colleagues for opening celebrations taking place on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th October.
“Local residents and families visiting the unique store will be treated to stilt-walkers, popcorn, balloons and live music. At Metro Bank Dogs Rule, so customers are invited to bring their canine companions along with them for tasty treats and fetching bandanas,” the bank said in a statement.
Listening to customers?
However, is there much substance to this reinterpretation of the bank branch behind all the pomp and gaiety of stilt-walkers and popcorn?
In a way, it will probably more convenient to drive up rather than spend more time trying to find a parking space on the high street, but amongst the plethora of concerns, that is definitely not at the top.
It should be noted that this drive-thru is only offering cashier services, but even in such a limited service there are positives. Metro said that the new bank branch will be open 326 days a year, on weekends and bank holidays, more importantly, the branch will stay open until 8pm, thus appearing to placate a big consumer concern.
A recent report found that a large group of working people were left frustrated by their bank’s opening and closing hours, saying that they couldn’t go to a branch during their working hours, and by the time they got off work, the bank would already be closed. Six out of ten 25 to 34-year-olds said that they want their branch to offer longer opening hours by 2018, and it appears that Metro Bank has taken notice of this common complaint.
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