No one disputes that branch traffic is down and digital use is up at financial institutions. However, there is much debate over the conclusion that such a trend means that branchless banking is just around the corner. To some, the argument for keeping branches open seems to be backward facing, to a time long gone when most consumers had to make a personal visit to their financial institution to make deposits, open accounts and send money. Why hang onto branches when all those services and more can be completed on digital devices? To others, the inability of banks and credit unions to personalize the end user’s digital experience makes them hesitant to close the branches where they still do the bulk of their selling.
This past week, many industry news outlets reported on the new partnership between BBVA and Dwolla. According to the news release issued by BBVA, the agreement means that the bank’s customers will be able to use the Iowa startup’s real-time network to make money transfers.
Balkanization is a pejorative, geopolitical term, typically used to describe the process of fragmentation or division of a region or state into smaller regions or states that are often hostile or non-cooperative with one another. Bruce J. Summers, who consults with the financial markets group of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, recently used it to describe the impact of vested interests on the future of payments and money movement in the United States.