With the growing popularity of online and mobile banking, it stands to reason that branch banking hours should be on the decline. A decade ago, full service branches were being replaced by smaller satellite branches and ATM-only locations.
But banks are staying open longer to meet the needs of our busy lives, offering extended weekday hours and opening on weekends.
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After opening their first Sunday branches in 2007, CIBC has ramped up their approach by doubling the number of branches open on Sundays – over 100 branches – and opening another 92 branches on Saturdays to give them more than 600 Saturday banking locations.
TD Canada Trust started Sunday banking two years ago as part of a national strategy and now has the most Sunday hours branches in Canada with over 400 locations.
Getting Face to Face Advice
While the majority of everyday banking can be done online, when it comes to making big financial decisions we’re still looking for face-to-face advice. For many of us, that means visiting the bank after work or on the weekend.
“Baby boomers, new immigrants are looking for advice, but it’s difficult for them to come in during the week,” said Larry Tomei, a senior vice-president at CIBC.
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TD research shows that 62 per cent of Canadians find it hard to get errands done Monday to Friday. Four-in-ten run errands on weekends, so providing banking services to customers when it suits them is essential.
We’re also more comfortable performing certain banking activities like signing a mortgage, setting up a loan or buying investment products in person, rather than online or by phone.
In research released earlier this year from CIBC and Harris/Decima, only 49 per cent of Canadians had met with an advisor in the last 12 months.
“This speaks to the importance of advice and giving people greater access to having a conversation with an advisor”, said Tomei.
Offering full service banking, seven days a week comes at a price, and not all of the big banks are on-board with this approach. The only other major bank to operate on Sundays is Bank of Montreal, with 35 locations across Canada.
Tom Dyck, executive vice-president of branch banking at TD, said they’re not targeting any specific demographic, but being open on weekends and longer weekday hours is part of a national approach to offer customers more choice of when to do their banking.
“Weekends are a very important part of our business strategy,” said Dyck. “When we choose a Sunday branch location, we look at other businesses in the area that tend to be open on Saturdays and Sundays, which means there is traffic there and demand by our customers and that we should be open.”
I do most of my banking online, but I have taken advantage of extended banking hours recently when we bought our house and when we set up an RESP for our kids. I definitely appreciated being able to come in later in the evening after work or on the weekend.
Do you need to bank during the evening or on weekends?