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BLOG: The Back End Impact of Front End Changes


The way we bank today is different than it was even five years ago. 

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Core functions that were once key components of bank services are now happening outside of the four walls of your branch, and often, online. Today, branch designs incorporate more meeting and consulting space and utilize technology to streamline and improve customer service and, as a result, banks are able to do more in less square footage. While banks across the nation have seen these trends play out, and many are now operating out of new, streamlined, technologically advanced branches – the back-end impacts of these front-end changes can’t be ignored.

Regardless of whether your customer is doing business with your bank through an app, a phone call or an Interactive Teller Machine (ITM), it still requires a highly trained workforce. But where do you place that highly trained workforce? The answer is simple -- an operations center. 

By bringing these workers together under one roof into a clean, efficient, high-tech office space, banks and credit unions will be able to more efficiently handle day-to-day business operations. 

IMG_9586Centralizing back-office functions like data processing, information systems, automated tellers, card processors, and human resource functions in an operations center creates efficiencies -- and drives effectiveness. When operations are split, and you have some backoffice functions at one branch, and some at another, your employees will likely be disconnected from the team members that matter most, resulting in ore time spent on even the simplest of tasks. 

By bringing these workers together under one roof into a clean, efficient, high-tech office space, banks and credit unions will be able to more efficiently handle day-to-day business operations. ITM tellers will be able to handle more clients, even beyond the common 9-5 branch hours. Customer service will function as one centralized team, be better able to address customer needs, and organization leadership will be a step - instead of a Skype - away. 

There are also a couple of important benefits of operations centers that are often overlooked. One such benefit: operations centers can create the right home for your servers. Often, servers are crammed into spaces that weren't designed for them, threatening security and the functionality of the equipment. A server room can be a key component of an operations center, and can be specifically designed to serve that purpose. This in turn enhances security, improves performance and increases the longevity of equipment. 

IMG_9613Additionally, - and very importantly - an operations center is a great recruiting tool. Workers today want a modern, clean, and updated workspace with options like outdoor seating, places to eat lunch, and multi-functional meeting spaces. Moreover, as branches invest in new technology and services, significant training is necessary. An operations center can be a great way to attract new talent, and be a space to train new talent. Some banks and credit unions even opt to have mock lobbies constructed into their operations centers to provide trainees as close to a real-life experience as possible.    
An operations center is an investment in your future. 

Not only will it enable peak performance of your current operations, it will enable you to plan for future growth. It will enable peak performance of your current operations, it will enable you to plan for future growth. It will provide your bank with the tools to attract and retain top-notch talent that will be prepared to offer your customers the highest level of service. 

When to Consider An Operations Center

New Branch(es)

Company growth is the number one reason to invest in an operations center. A new branch, or branches, require new employees to train, additional administrative, HR and support functions, and an increase in your customer base that will require key services. These functions are most efficiently and effectively executed under one roof at a centralized location. 

Acquisitions/Mergers

Acquisitions are becoming increasingly common in the financial industry. When an acquisition occurs, it is a prime time to invest in an operations center to bring key staff from the formerly two entities together as one. it ensures consistency in service and provides an opportunity for team building, training, and information sharing. In situations where one or both entities already had an operations center, the question is which to maintain. The right location will have room for growth - whether it's acreage to accommodate building additions or space for additional parking. Regardless of which location is kept, it will likely need to be updated and renovated to best fit the business plan of the new, larger, financial institution. Deciding which operations center is the best fit to invest in is also a key consideration in the case of an equal merger - but likely with added intricacies of "who is in charge" and "who gets to make the decision?" 

Technology Overhaul

As your financial services grow and evolve, it's likely you've integrated new technological systems that require a different kind of service and staffing. Technology integrations like ITMs require someone on the other end. That someone is going to be more efficient at an operations center where they can serve customers at numerous different branches alongside colleagues doing the same work. In fact, in most cases, when housed at a centralized operations center, one employee can service up to three ITMs at a time. 

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