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Road to multichannel integration will not be an easy one

Silos still rule, making near-real time integration difficult

Road to multichannel integration will not be an easy one

Banks are clearly looking for revenue growth, but how do they improve sales results in an increasingly multichannel world? How can they become less reliant on the branch network for revenue generation? How can digital channels become powerful customer engagement platforms? As evidenced by these questions, there are many aspects to doing multichannel right, according to Celent.

“Multichannel banking is obviously important, and many banks have made inroads towards making it a reality,” says Jacob Jegher, research director with Celent’s Banking Group and coauthor of the report, “Raising the bar in multichannel banking.”  “It’s quite common for banks to look for low-hanging fruit; that is, examples of multichannel innovation that provide value to the consumer and bang for the buck to the financial institution.”

Multichannel banking has a long way to go. Silos rule, and most banks are tackling it one channel at a time, according to Celent. There is good reason for this. Banks have plenty of room to improve in individual channels.

For example, most banks are still missing online and/or mobile features and are plowing ahead to determine the cost-to-benefit ratio of building beyond core transactional functionality.

The need to raise the bar in multichannel banking is manifest, driven by consumers’ growing use of multiple channels. In a June 2013 Celent U.S. consumer survey, for example, just two-thirds of consumers used a branch in a month, while a full third used mobile banking. Over the same period, however, nearly 80% interacted with their bank online.

“Most banks are on the path to improving user experience in individual channels and across channels,” says Bob Meara, senior analyst with Celent’s Banking Group and coauthor of the report. “This is a large exercise, but a critical one. Customers, not banks, will determine how each channel is used and for what purpose.”

John Ginovsky

John Ginovsky is a contributing editor of Banking Exchange and editor of the publication’s Tech Exchange e-newsletter. For more than two decades he’s written about the commercial banking industry, specializing in its technological side and how it relates to the actual business of banking. In addition to his weekly blogs—"Making Sense of It All"—he contributes fresh, original stories to each Tech Exchange issue based on personal interviews or exclusive contributed pieces. He previously was senior editor for Community Banker magazine (which merged into ABA Banking Journal) and for ABA Banking Journal and was managing editor and staff reporter for ABA’s Bankers News. Email him at [email protected]

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The U.S. has come a long way in its journey to real-time payments, with TCH and Zelle in market and FedNow just around the corner. COVID-19 has accelerated that demand to move to real-time. Yet many financial institutions remain unconvinced of the need to move, with less than 3% of financial institutions signed up today.

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