Magazine article American Banker

Survey: 73% Still Prefer Branch Banking to On-Line

Magazine article American Banker

Survey: 73% Still Prefer Branch Banking to On-Line

Article excerpt

Despite the explosion of interest in the Internet and on-line banking, consumers still want and use traditional branches, a survey by KPMG Peat Marwick and Yankelovich Partners Inc. indicates.

Of 1,000 consumers surveyed in September, 73% said they preferred to bank in person at a branch. Only 22% said they wanted to bank exclusively by electronic means.

A separate group of avid personal computer users identified as "cybercitizens" also retained a preference for branch banking. Of those, 91% said they had security concerns about banking on-line, and 73% said electronic mail was no substitute for personal interaction.

The research tends to reinforce the increasingly accepted notion that brick- and-mortar offices need to be retooled rather than eliminated and will not soon be displaced by electronic alternatives. Studies by Payment Systems Inc. and individual bank marketers, for example, have shown that many heavy users of electronics also frequent branches.

Branches "are alive and well and still kicking," said Charlotte Wingfield, a San Diego-based KPMG financial institutions partner. "Banking in person ranks first on the list in terms of desirability." Even the cybercitizens are drawn to its availability and dependability.

Ms. Wingfield's presentation of the KPMG-Yankelovich data and defense of the branch contrasted with the otherwise boundless Internet enthusiasm that prevailed at the American Banker cyberspace banking conference this week.

Typical of the converted, Wells Fargo Bank executive vice president Dudley Nigg argued that Internet banking is attractive because "that is where the customers will be, and where many already are" and because of marginal delivery costs far lower than on any other delivery system. …

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