Wells Fargo opening 'mini-branches'

For bank customers, so many of the services that once required physically going to a branch can now be done without leaving home. Checking bank accounts and transferring funds can be done with online banking and mobile phone applications can scan and deposit checks. According to The Wall Street Journal, there is an increased use of credit cards, which could mean that holding cash isn't as necessary as in past years. Because of all of these reasons, banks are finding ways to adapt.

Wells Fargo opened its first "mini branch" in Washington, D.C. this month, a 1,000 square foot branch that's about one-third the size of typical ones. Bank employees use tablets and mobile phones to assist customers, and instead of offices, there are "work stations," where a computer and benches can be accessed if a customer is looking for a mortgage or other loan. At the end of the day, a wall separates the three ATMs at the mini branch.

According to an article in the Washington Post, the idea is to provide the services of a traditional branch, but in a smaller space in urban areas where property is expensive. Since fewer bank customers go to the branches , cutting down on location sizes seems reasonable. 

This is Wells Fargo's first "mini branch," and officials have said they aren't sure how many more will open. But if the "mini branch" idea is successful, other banks may too incorporate this idea, by opening smaller and more concise stores in the future. 

This example points out the ways banks are adapting to the changing industry. But as we saw this month, having strong data systems with data engine software and data integration software can also help financial institutions adapt to changing regulations and uncertain industry norms. With quality data, banks can keep up with the future of the industry. 

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