Even with mobile apps and banking robots, bank tellers are not going away: While conventional wisdom suggests that the job may be in decline, anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise, Bloomberg reported.
Some of the largest banks in the U.S. such as Fifth Third Bancorp, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. are reportedly increasing their minimum wages to the rate of $15 per hour. At the same time, tellers are being trained for more tasks such as helping local entrepreneurs, pitching loans and giving technical support.
“Years ago tellers just had to give you an account balance or find out if you wanted fives or tens,” OceanFirst Financial Corp. CEO Christopher Maher told Bloomberg. “Now they have to solve problems like my PayPal doesn’t work, or my Venmo doesn’t work, or why doesn’t Uber accept my card?’’
While mobile banking has its perks, survey reported in February found that 60 percent of Americans prefer opening a new checking account in-person at a bank branch. According to Reuters, the survey, conducted by consulting firm Novantas, also found that half of U.S. customers feel that online-only banks are “less legitimate” than those with branches.
But earlier in February, a report found that the mass exodus of consumers to various digital channels has pushed the closure of 1,700 branches in the 12 months ending in June 2017 — the largest one-year decline on record. From mid-2012 to mid-2017, Capital One Financial Corp. cut 32 percent of its branches, SunTrust Banks Inc. cut 22 percent and Regions Financial Corp. cut 12 percent.
Still, big banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are committing to opening new branch locations, specifically in new cities. Bank of America is expanding this year into Pittsburgh, while JPMorgan is said to open as many as 400 branches over five years into cities such as Boston and Washington, D.C.