A brand new chapter in FinTech is here. In recent years, the banking industry has seen massive transformations, but the latest introduction – virtual branches – will change the way banking is done forever.
Just last year, Standard Chartered performed the biggest of bank launches in history by rolling out its virtual banking service in 9 countries to 5 million customers. Now, Citibank’s latest launch of virtual branches through a system called LiveBank is expected to reach even more customers across 16 countries.
But what exactly sets a virtual branch apart from regular internet banking? Well, unlike the latter, virtual banking completely eliminates the need for you to go to the bank.
Thanks to real-time face-to-face video chats with experts, real-time desktop sharing, co-browsing, voice biometrics or on-screen signing, and other secure connection technologies, customers will be able to complete complex banking processes such as obtaining a mortgage from anywhere in the world. All they need is an internet connection.
Through a process called eKYC, new customer onboarding can be done without the customer ever setting foot in the bank branch.
Needless to say, virtual bank branches will lead to lower operational costs for banks as fewer brick-and-mortar branches are needed.
What’s more, virtual branches can also lead to higher conversion rates since 95% of the bank’s offers can be transferred to this virtual channel.
Poland’s Bank Zachodni WBK (BZ WBK), which has 6 million customers, saw video connections increase 10-fold over the course of just one year. The bank now has 2,500 virtual sessions a day, and around 20% of virtual connections that start from active engagement end with completed online applications – a truly impressive feat.
A market leader with increasing reach
Currently, LiveBank is not only the most advanced virtual bank solution on the market, but it’s also available in the largest number of banks worldwide.
LiveBank owner Ailleron credits the system’s success and market leader position to its focus on meeting the needs of an ever-changing banking industry.
Last year, LiveBank served 40 million customers in 13 countries, more than double its 2015 reach of 18 million bank customers in just 2 countries.
In 2017, the company is predicting even more explosive growth, with an estimated reach of around 100 million customers in 30 countries.
Rafal Styczen, Ailleron CEO, explains that banks today are facing new digital contact demands from tech-savvy customers. This is where LiveBank, as a world leader in branch virtualisation, multi-channel messaging and customer service AI, can provide solutions.
Virtual banking a global phenomenon
While virtual branches are still at an early stage of market adoption, they are quickly becoming more prevalent.
According to the European Financial Management Association (EFMA), as many as 8o% of the world’s banks will be involved in virtual branch deployments by 2018.
As it stands, the digitalisation of bank branch functions are already common in many parts of the world.
The UK’s Nationwide Building Society, Bank of America, Bank of Montreal in Canada and Westpac in Australia are some banks which have already deployed video-conferencing systems that allow customers to remotely contact experts such as loan and financial advisors.
Other banks such as Standard Chartered Bank, Emirates National Bank of Dubai, Germany’s Commerzbank, ABN Amro in the Netherlands, Barclays in the UK, ICICI in India, the Royal Bank of Canada, and Poland’s mBank and BZ WBK have all implemented virtual banking, and are moving more and more traditional branch functions into the virtual arena.
To this end, the world’s most innovative banks, Citibank, Standard Chartered, Commerzbank, mBank and BZ WBK, have all chosen to implement the LiveBank solution.
“Having introduced our technologies to a number of banks, we finally feel it is entering the mainstream. We are very proud to be chosen by one of the biggest international banks. We are riding the revolution of virtualisation and automation,” Mr Styczen said.
Indeed, these are exciting and revolutionary times for the banking industry globally.
With an increasing number of mainstream banks turning to virtualisation, virtual customer service will undoubtedly become a standard bank practice across the world in no time, and banking as we know it will no longer be the same.
This article was sponsored by Ailleron, a leading innovative technological products provider.