Now that depositing a check or transferring money between accounts is as easy and accessible as the nearest smartphone, fewer people are regularly making in-person visits to their bank. In the United States alone, banks have closed more than 20,000 bank branches over the past decade.

Yet that macro-statistic hardly tells the whole story. Younger generations, particularly Generation Z, strongly value in-person experiences and IRL relationship building. In fact, Gen Z and Millennials now visit banks at a far higher rate than older customers, according to a recent study.

So what’s a banking institution to do? The answer, increasingly, is to look for ways to modernize the bank branch to make it an essential and valuable complement to the banking experience and in the lives of customers.

Quad’s Erin Slater, Head of Financial Services Strategy, offers a glimpse of what that looks like — and how Quad can help — in a new BrandVoice column published by

Bank marketers are pursuing many different ideas, including building smaller branches, installing interactive teller machines at high-traffic areas such as major shopping centers and sharing space with other businesses such as coffee shops.

The challenge before banks is not unlike that facing retail storefronts also disrupted by technology, and it requires the support of a specialized industry, led by Quad and others, that uses analytics, store design and shopper psychology to revamp brick-and-mortar for maximized customer engagement.

“The bottom line: Even in a digital-first era, the in-store/branch experience still matters,” Slater writes. “And with a holistic, omnichannel approach that transforms the IRL experience to match current consumer needs, it can matter more than ever.”