Challenges. If the last three years have given us anything, it’s an ever-growing list of new challenges to face. Remote work, new “normals” and limited contact have all contributed to a very different landscape, especially for banks and credit unions, where face-to-face contact is an integral part of the business. As we have discussed, branch visits still matter. This puts more burden on a staff that may already be stretched thin, and with so many new digital-only financial options (also known as Fintechs) threatening to steal away both customers and employees, the challenge becomes two-fold.

But there’s an old saying about life giving us lemons, and while it may sound like a cliché these days, the point still rings true. Challenges are just opportunities in disguise. Believe it or not, this changing landscape is an opportunity to shift the very perception of the branch experience and advance with new technologies and approaches.

Challenge Number 1: The Rise of Fintechs

By its most basic definition, Fintech (Financial technology) is new tech that seeks to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services. Initially used to describe the back-end systems of established financial institutions, there has since been a shift to more consumer-focused services, creating a broader definition that can encompass everything from traditional home and car loans to cryptocurrency.

For modern banking customers, Fintech unbundles the services traditionally offered by brick and mortar bank locations thereby expanding financial inclusion. (Financial inclusion refers to making financial products and services accessible and affordable to all individuals, regardless of their personal net worth.) Because Fintechs are primarily application based, this provides a completely remote work environment, which creates a hurdle to enticing a younger, more demanding workforce. This also creates an opportunity.

Opportunity Number 1: Financial Inclusion

As banking becomes more agile (and digital) the idea of advancing society while improving the bottom line has quickly become a reality. By providing affordable and relevant financial products to individuals that might otherwise lack access, banks can not only unlock growth, improving the lives of families and communities around the world, but also build trust and confidence in their institution. While this may not directly offer potential staff members a benefit, these optics play a large role in how the new workforce approaches where they work. And by serving formerly marginalized banking customers, banks can drive inclusive growth, which builds new customer relationships, restores trust, and ultimately, boost profits.

Challenge Number 2: Exhausted Resources (and workers)

The pandemic helped usher in a new era of remote and hybrid work schedules. While branches require face-to-face contact with their customers, the hybrid approach to scheduling has been adopted by many banks and credit unions. This can put a strain on employees working onsite with fewer associates on any given day, as they see more responsibilities falling on their shoulders, many of which are unfulfilling or even physically taxing. This not only makes finding new employees a challenge, but it can also make retaining them just as daunting.

Opportunity Number 2: Automation and Evolving Roles

Sometimes, the biggest changes are ignited by simple needs. With growing technologies sit the opportunity to evolve and refine how tasks are allocated and executed. As automation and the ever expansive digital landscape become more prevalent, roles will require the room to grow alongside the developing technologies, allowing future employees to see the opportunity to advance their careers, while being allowed to focus on the more meaningful aspects of their jobs. Advancing branch automation provides employees with opportunities that are flexible, which will empower them to grow and excel in their role and beyond.

The Biggest Opportunity

The biggest opportunity is growth. In order to bring in new, engaged talent into your branch, it is critical to grow, not only with emerging trends and technologies, but with the roles you fill, and how they evolve as consumer needs change. Embracing financial inclusion, expanding capabilities and providing more meaningful tasks and exchanges require adjustments—but as we like to say, small change can make a big impact, and when the greatest impact is on the people in your organization, true growth can occur.Are you evolving with the needs of your staff? Coinstar can help you automate your branch and create a working environment that allows your staff to focus on more meaningful tasks. Speak to a financial expert today and learn how you can give your staff more room to grow.