Banking through physical branches could phase out by 2025, a new survey has revealed, as the pandemic-era push to online holds its momentum.
Nearly 70 per cent of European banks, surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Temenos, said that brick and mortar banks will be dead and gone in just three years.
It comes amid the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology which has made online banking operations faster and more secure – after a string of Covid-19 lockdowns across the continent forced customers to avoid their usual branch trips.
Many European banks have their eyes locked on the fintech space, with more than a third looking to snap up fintech firms over the next three years to build up their online offering.
Almost half of the UK’s bank branches have been shut down or have been scheduled to close since 2015, according to research from Which? in December.
With 4,735 branches dying in the UK alone in the six-year period, onlookers fear that vulnerable customers are being left adrift.
Trust and bias remain a barrier to the rollout of AI in certain banking products, the survey also noted.
However, transparency from banks “is key” to improving trust from consumers and regulators for the need for AI, according to the EIU and Temenos.
Temenos chief science officer Hani Hagras said: “As AI becomes mainstream, banks need to establish a set of processes that provide transparency into the logic behind the decisions made by machine learning algorithms.”