Friday, August 2, 2013

PNC tests 'pop-up' branches

A PNC 'pop-up' branch. Photo courtesy of PNC
PNC Financial Services Group has become the latest bank to experiment with branches.

The Pittsburgh-based company, parent of PNC Bank, has opened what it calls a "pop-up" branch in Atlanta, according to a story by American Banker. The 20-by-8 temporary branch is, basically, a marketing tactic, intended to introduce the brand, the story says. The bank already has typical branches in Atlanta.

Here's an excerpt from the story:
The latest test branch will remain open seven days a week for about three months and is meant to engage people off the streets. 
"The pop-up branch is one way we are trying to give more [people] more exposure to PNC," says Todd Barnhart, executive vice president of branch banking at PNC. "If a [bank] is not out there testing and learning from its customer base today, it will quickly get left behind. …You can only go so far with a lab." 
PNC has branches in the Charlotte area. A spokesperson declined to comment Friday on if the branches will pop up in Charlotte.

PNC is not the only bank to test smaller branches. Wells Fargo this year began experimenting with a smaller, paperless branch in Washington, D.C.

The industry is reinventing branches as foot traffic to teller lines declines, thanks to more people shifting to online and mobile banking. As a result, some banks are outfitting branches with fewer tellers, more specialists and more technology, such as tablet computers, which bankers are using to show off their mobile platforms to customers.