Home >Industry >Banking >Brick-and-mortar bank branches to lose relevance: Arundhati Bhattacharya

MUMBAI: The relevance of traditional bank branches will gradually decline even as they continue to co-exist with internet and mobile banking, said Arundhati Bhattacharya, chief executive of Salesforce India.

Speaking at the Global Fintech Fest on Thursday, Bhattacharya, also former chairman at State Bank of India (SBI), said banks will have to determine what they are going to look like going ahead.

"They could be asset-light and distribution-heavy or they could lead with liabilities and be asset-light as well. It is not true that all banks will be similar. Banks will be different because they will concentrate on different niche items," she said.

According to Bhattacharya, going forward, one will see these workspaces evolve to look different. "While brick and mortar will still be there because people trust banks, which can be physically seen. It will therefore not disappear. But the importance of the brick and mortar will come down."

“Nowhere am I saying that we are looking at a world where the workplaces will disappear altogether. It will shrink and become flexible. Today, you have a designated cubicle and maybe tomorrow there will be floors where you will have to book your cubicle if you are going to be in the office," Bhattacharya added.

Customers will be able to access and do everything from comfort of their homes but when there is a need to go out, talk to a person, that facility will be available as well, she said.

Speaking at the same forum on Wednesday, Rajnish Kumar, chairman, SBI, had on Wednesday, had said that only nine of every 100 transactions happen in the public-sector lender's branches and the rest are through alternative channels. Also, automated teller machine (ATM) transactions which used to account for 55% of total transactions three years ago at the time of demonetisation, have now declined to 30-32%.

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