By Lee Perlman
For the Hollywood Star News
Despite recent national news reports that bank branches are being widely scaled back, Key Bank continues to believe that the branch is the hub of customer relationships and is investing in new and remodeled branches. In the metro Portland area, Key is building twenty new branches by 2012, including one in Northeast Portland, 3839 N.E. Broadway, which will open in August.
“Some banks have reduced their branch networks due to the economic downturn, banking industry consolidation and the popularity of online banking,” says Brian Rice, president of Key Bank in Oregon and Southwest Washington. “But our research tells us that branches are integral to winning and retaining client business.”
Key Bank’s branch expansion strategy is meant to achieve or exceed 10 percent market share in areas where it does business. “While we are equally proud of the robust opportunities for our customers to bank with us online and by phone, we deliver our best customer service to what we call ‘relationship clients.’ And developing a relationship is hard to do without meeting face-to-face,” Rice says.
A March 3 Wall Street Journal report, quoting research firm SNL Financial, says bank branches will decline in number this year for the first time since 2002. Some bankers quoted in the story suggest that branching is not a popular strategy in the current environment.
“At Key, what we’re more concerned with is what’s popular with our clients—they tell us that what they want is options, and their preferred options include convenient, modern branches staffed by bankers they know and trust.”
Key’s focus on customer service is getting noticed. It scored significantly higher than its four largest competitor banks in a 2009 customer satisfaction survey conducted by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). And at this time last year, Business Week named Key the top bank on its “Customer Service Champs” list, ranking Key 11 out of 25 companies known for customer service acumen.
Key companies provide investment management, retail and commercial banking, consumer finance and investment banking products and services to individuals and companies throughout the United States and, for certain businesses, internationally. For more information, visit key.com.