Shelby Lum / Lantern photographer
For as long as humanly possible, I resisted the shift toward the digital age. Call me old-fashioned, but I really had no desire for it.
Inevitably though, I found myself jumping onto the 21st-century bandwagon, and surprisingly I’ve seen banks taking the jump as well.
Huntington Bank, PNC Bank, Fifth Third Bank and Chase Bank all offer mobile apps for customers.
This possibly means a change from the previous thoughts I had on banking and how much it sucks.
The team that handles the Twitter feed for Chase Bank is housed in Columbus, said Emily Smith, community engagement and media relations for JPMorgan Chase.
So Chase customers on campus who tweet problems are likely to get a response from a Buckeye fan, making it slightly more pleasurable than one of those never-ending phone calls we all enjoy.
Hillary Hall, second-year in food science, said she banks with Fifth Third and uses its mobile app all the time.
“(Fifth Third Bank) is in my hometown and it’s here,” she said.
Hall also said she might consider a bank even if it didn’t have a building near campus.
So with this new technology, it makes me wonder why banks still even have local branches. Are we just holding on to the traditional thought of a bank with a teller who greets you by name on the way out?
Teri Charest, spokeswoman for U.S. Bancorp, said she did not think branches were going anywhere.
“I think there will always be a need for a branch and individual person-to-person services,” she said.
Christopher Moore, vice president and manager of the Chase branch by OSU, agreed.
“We’re not going anywhere. The branches are here to stay,” he said.
But I can’t remember the last time I had a need to ever go into my bank. Like most people, I hate waiting in lines for something that can be done online.
I pay my bills, my rent and manage my account online.
So again, why the need for an actual building?
Simple – a banking interface partnered with The Bancorp Bank – shares my thoughts, which is probably why I switched to it. Or it could have been its catchy slogan, I can’t really be sure.
The slogan, “Worry-free Alternative to Traditional Banking” is captivating for sure, and Simple has carved out a specific niche without local branches.
“We also know that traffic at branches has been in a long-term decline and that brick-and-mortar banks under staff their branches so that lines form for the specific purpose of giving branch salespeople enough time to up sell you on services you probably don’t need,” said Krista Berlincourt, spokeswoman for Simple, in an email interview.
Seeing that, Simple decided to eliminate needless waiting that often comes with generic, soft jazz.
“We have customers who may miss their branch at first, but we’ve found that it’s really just an adjustment period when a Simple customer dumps their bank for us,” Berlincourt said.
Banks, like the rest of the world, are finding themselves in the rat race toward becoming the most technologically savvy, and that race might be heading toward banks without branches.
Simple, the hipster of the group, doesn’t like traditional fees or traditional buildings but loves slick mobile apps and customer service via social media, and is making headway in that race.
Chase Bank, Huntington Bank, PNC Bank and others are also tackling social media with Twitter accounts dedicated to customer service and help. Customers can tweet questions, comments, etc. and get a tweet response from their bank.
Social media and online banking options look like they are pushing physical banks toward oblivion, and I, for one, would be OK with this.
“One thing Chase likes to do is we follow trends,” Moore said. “We try and make sure we are on the forefront of technology, and the students absolutely love that.”
Even for me, someone who originally resisted Twitter and the digital onslaught in general, online banking without a building just makes more sense. It saves time and takes the hassle out of banking, because let’s be real, no one likes standing in line to deposit checks or open a savings account.