Improving branch efficiency is a major concern for most financial institutions, and some financial executives think there’s just no easy way to make it happen. But by reorganizing and investing in the right technology and players, you can superboost your network’s branch power and hit that next level. This second blog in CFM’s Cheat Code series gives you a few good strategies to get started.

Where are you at in your branch transformation? Many financial executives today are trying to understand branch dynamics post-pandemic while also trying to assemble a budget that meets increasing technology and security needs. Knowing what new assets to invest in based on your clients’ uncertain likelihood to continue shifting to digital banking just adds to your headache. And what if proposed staffing and technology investments don’t give you the ROI you need to produce the required results?

CFM helps hundreds of financial institutions across the US increase their productivity, cut costs, and perform network-wide core integrations to streamline operations and also collect invaluable branch data. The following insights come from years of experience delivering software solutions and technology tools that really work. Are you ready to get your game on?

First: Beware the Forces That Drain Branch Efficiency

These undermining inefficiencies are out there. Lurking in the corners, teller lines, and office spaces of your branch locations, waiting to weaken and overtake your staff. They will scupper your operational efficiencies, and if you don’t do something about them, your banking network won’t advance to the next level. These forces come in several basic forms:

Outdated Staffing Models

Retail banking began in the US over a century ago, and although federal regulations and consumer trends have led its evolution, the physical face of the branch network has been slow to change. Traditional staffing models focus on transactional-level assistance in which tellers process deposits, withdrawals, and loan payments—activities that function within the linear flows of teller lines. Basically, a client enters the branch, waits in line, completes a transaction, and exits the branch. In the 21st century, this basic model is missing the point, encumbering a financial institution’s time and resources.

As digital and mobile banking options increase, financial institutions are beginning to remap how they want their branches to function and are shifting from transaction-based service to advisory- and sales-based service. This emerging model is highlighted by a reconfigured group of front-line staff who can complete nearly all transactions from anywhere in the branch. The bottom line is that if you want to improve functionality, you need to change your staffing structure to increase value-added service, accommodate end-to-end transactions, and cross-sell products.

Technology Gaps

If you’ve been in banking long enough, you probably remember when staff spent enormous amounts of time manually counting cash, writing out deposit and withdrawal slips, and running daily close-outs. Basic transactions took up most of their time and processes were slow. If you were lucky, your end-of-day ledger balanced the first time around.

Thankfully, cash automation solutions began making their way into branch banking decades ago and now Teller Cash Recyclers (TCRs) are widely adopted across banking networks. These adaptive machines help improve transaction speed and accuracy, increase security, and free up time, allowing branch staff to hold more advisory-based conversations with clients while also meeting clients’ transaction needs.

But there’s one aspect TCRs have been falling short on: they’re not always integrated with a banking network’s core, so daily close-outs and errors can’t be monitored from one central location, and data can’t be pooled for analysis. Thanks to CFM Inc., this doesn’t have to be an issue anymore. To fully utilize the capabilities of these machines, implementing a technology solution that connects cash automation hardware to a network’s core is a critical move that will cut costs.

Second: Gather Your Key Players

Now that you’re aware of two common forces that negatively impact productivity, it’s time to learn what players to acquire for leveraging your position. Here are CFM’s top picks:

Universal Associates

Also known as Universal Tellers and Universal Bankers, Universal Associates (UAs) can handle almost every transaction in the branch. From providing customer service to processing basic transactions, handling account actions, and processing loan applications, a UA is an expert at advising clients. Cross-training existing staff or hiring new members to fill these roles is a first step in shifting to an advisory-based staffing model. Exploring a tablet-based banking service approach will further elevate this experience for both clients and staff.

Teller Cash Recyclers (TCRs)

If your branches don’t already have TCRs, investing in these cash automation machines is an important part of changing your staffing model. With abilities to accept cash deposits, dispense bills, store cash safely, and sort bills by denomination, TCRs play a big role in increasing transaction accuracy and speed. Integrating TCRs into a Universal Associate (UA) rollout is a forward-thinking and cost-effective way to transition away from a traditional banking model, as machines can be utilized by multiple staff simultaneously and give UAs more time and flexibility for advisory conversations with clients.

Integrated Tech by CFM

Teller cash recyclers on their own are just one way to increase your branch network’s strength. For ultimate power, CFM has tools that connect your TCRs together, increase your staff’s in-branch capabilities, and deliver insightful data you can use to troubleshoot machines and forecast cash handling activities. They include:

Named a Fintech Product of the Year, RTA can remotely command your cash handling hardware to make deposits and withdrawals. With them, staff can run transactions from anywhere in the branch.

This software is a web-based solution that integrates your cash-handling hardware with your banking core. Deploying it will assist with full device functionality, reduce manual tasks, automate balancing, ensure faster processing speeds, and more!

This cloud-based technology tool helps optimize your cash automation, allowing staff to view and analyze data across all branches. Besides monitoring your network’s cash automation hardware usage, iQ can initiate preventative maintenance, troubleshoot, and forecast branch cash needs.

Are you ready to level up? Start by assessing your staffing model and the status of your cash automation technology and then contact CFM for a no-obligation consultation. Besides helping you implement a Universal Associate (UA) model across your network, CFM can help power up your cash handling hardware and prepare your network for a new transformation!

Contact CFM today for more information or to schedule a demo.