As digital banking continues to grow in popularity, it’s evident that the traditional model of banking is not coming back. Yes, there is still a demand, and therefore need, for in-person interactions and brick-and-mortar stores (read more on that here and here), but many aspects of traditional banking are more than likely gone for good. If the future of banking is digital, we can’t help but wonder, what does that mean for the future of banking jobs?
Since many customers no longer need employees to cash checks, make deposits, transfers, payments, or other small tasks, a teller station may start to look more like an Apple Genius Bar. The demands and needs of the consumer are what drive the changes in banking culture. What customers now need help with are things like downloading a bank’s mobile app, activation and setup, teaching customers how to set up and use ApplePay, Venmo, and other online payment apps. Employees will help customers understand the basics of these offerings as well as advantages, risks, and responsibilities of using these products.
The role of an advisor is also drastically different. According the Chris Maher, CEO of OceanFirst Financial, this position will be all but eliminated with the continued implementation of robo-advisors. There is still a need for traditional advising, but the role is much smaller. Most people coming to a bank branch for investing looking to save for retirement, a child’s education, or a house. They want a little bit of advice and peace of mind when opening the account, which is typically a 15-20 minute conversation. They are not looking to trade stocks or make millions, and therefore a continued advisor isn’t really necessary in these cases. Maher’s bank has implemented a risk-appetite questionnaire and several asset-allocation models to place customers in, which utilizes both human advisors and robo-advisors. There is also software in place to do the math and execution work. An advisor’s job is still needed, but can be done predominantly online with use of technology, mainly just a matter of video chatting with customers and entering data into a program.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the marketing department of banks. AI engines take “vast amounts of data to understand which are the non-customer prospects out there that look like they would bank with us, how can we reach them, and, when someone is out looking to establish a new banking relationship, how [we can] make sure that we make that consideration list.”1 So, digital marketing looks a little bit more like a data scientist. Digital marketing requires much more than just buying a bunch of ads. You have to be targeting, advertising, and promoting yourself to the right people at the right time. AI takes the guesswork out of that, leaving marketing to analyze the data to make decisions and pinpoint strategies.
Maher points out that you now see all areas of a bank branch utilizing data and technology, “we used to talk about how many people we have in IT, that’s an interesting number, but the more interesting number is how many jobs within the bank have an IT skillset associated with them, even if it’s just a [small part of their] day.” He believes this gives an exciting new edge to bank jobs, which he describes were “essentially assembly-line jobs.” The jobs that involved copious amounts of high-volume, repetitive-task, low-value transaction jobs are now automated, allowing maximum value from employees.
There will naturally be some resistance and change from employees. While most banks are willing to train employees accordingly, you will still find many employees that lack the interest in doing so. They did not enter the banking field to do jobs like these, and no amount of retraining or education can change that. Maher says, “these are not super complicated things, but you have to want to do it.” Jobs aren’t leaving the banks, just the skill set is changing.
- Penny Crossman, host. “What will bank jobs look like in the future? OceanFirst has an idea.” American Banker. 16 Dec. 2019. Retrieved from Apple Podcasts.