A recent article in The Globe and Mail highlights how bank branches are changing – they’re becoming more like retail outlets than traditional branches from yesteryear. Interactive screens, hot coffee and neighbourhood-like feels are becoming commonplace in branches, at least in major urban centres.
Branches – and branch security – have been central to the evolution of banking in Canada since before Confederation.
Indeed, Canada’s banking system – the soundest in the world, according to the World Economic Forum – grew up around the branch system. The four corners of most cities and towns across Canada had at least a few branches.
Much of that has changed recently, of course.
According to the Canadian Bankers Association, almost 50% of Canadians use online banking as their main means of banking. Mobile banking in particular is ramping up significantly.
But branches are still important.
As Paul Dilda, head of branch channel for North America at BMO, said in the Globe article, people like knowing that there’s a physical place to go to when it comes to money.
So what about branch security in this new era?
Dilda said that despite there being a lot of open space in some of the new-look branches, “areas dedicated to cash transactions are still constructed in ways which limit customer access to support safe operations.”
CCTV cameras are also central to branch security, with Canadian-based March Networks a global leader in providing CCTV solutions for financial services companies. Last year March was named the top supplier of video surveillance equipment in the America’s banking market by IMS Research.
March’s Searchlight Financial Transaction Investigation software can enhance physical security within and adjacent to branches, better identify and react to suspicious or fraudulent activity, and dramatically speed up investigations while also cutting costs.
More than 450 banks around the world use March Networks solutions for security and fraud detection.
Take the example of Centris Federal Credit Union, one of March’s clients in Nebraska that was looking to update its security.
March worked with Centris in installing state-of-the-art security systems that integrated with the credit union’s technology platforms. This included a fairly basic security feature that has a big pay off.
“The first thing anyone sees when they come in the front door of one of our branches is a welcome monitor with their picture on it,” said Michael Hoyer, Vice President of Technology Services for Centris. “It lets them know right away that they are under surveillance. So if they’re coming in with anything other than innocent intentions they’ll just turn around and walk right out. There have been several instances of this over the years.”
As branches across North America evolve, one thing is almost certain – they’ll all have coffee and cameras to help keep customers – and bankers – happy and safe.