If you had asked me last week, I would have told you that the local library is going the way of the Dodo bird.

If you had asked me last week, I would have told you that the local library is going the way of the Dodo bird.

After all, we’re an electronic generation, aren’t we? We see it in banking, right? People are fleeing the branches in droves for mobile banking and other electronic delivery … aren’t they?




Maybe not entirely.

As Mark Twain said, “Reports of traditional delivery’s death have been greatly exaggerated” (Or something like that, I wasn’t there to hear him say it.)

Consider this:






  • There are more library locations in the US than McDonalds.
  • Slightly more people carry a library card than carry a smartphone.



Banks and credit unions can learn from a study released in March of 2014 from the Here are 8 Life Stages you should focus on.

My theory is that the whole traditional vs. e-delivery discussion hinges on emotions.
It’s super convenient for me to pick up my iPad right now and download a book. I can be through the first two chapters in the time it would take me to get to the library and back. But, when I choose to be transported to another world … to relax and enjoy some quiet time … I would prefer the feel and smell and paper of a “real” book. I know I’m “old school,” but there’s something magical about holding a book. It’s an emotional decision. And there is no paper book created that will interrupt me with emails and social media messages as they come in like my tablet will. 

Banking is an emotional decision too. After all, we’re dealing with people’s money.  What’s more emotional than that?!? We want to know a “real” person is in charge. That there is an expert available when I need them.

In my crystal ball, e-delivery will not replace our branches – it will evolve them.

Like libraries, who are today, offering many events and services, and are experimenting with providing the next generation of “expensive and scarce” resources, from 3-D printers to recording studios, bank can move branches from transaction focused to relationship and experience focused.

We may not have a need for 3D printers, but consider, for example, the innovative 3D branch technology by Buffalo Pacific. Their Omni Suite can allow one of your knowledge experts to have a face-to-face 3D interaction (with full eye contact) with a customer in any of your branches without having to travel.

Unless you are solely transaction focused, you can not use mobile banking as the rationale to reduce branches like Bank of America. After all, you’d be making a decision based on only about 9% of your transactions. Like libraries, you need to rebrand as technology centers, and evolve your brick-and-mortar to focus on what REALLY maters to customers (and your bottom line)RELATIONSHIPS!


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