Smart branches, in search of a convenient and personalised banking experience

3 min. reading
About BBVA, BBVA Group, Digital economy, New Gen, Private banking / 29 June, 2023
Smart branches, in search of a convenient and personalised banking experience


The public still wants to go to a physical bank branch, but they are looking for that moment to be useful, easy and convenient. They already do most of their banking in an app, but they are looking for proximity and a personalised experience for other, less routine procedures. Smart branches are here to stay.

Not yet familiar with smart branches? You’ve probably seen a smart branch in your town. They are bank branches… that don’t look like traditional bank branches at all. They are more comfortable, functional spaces, they have fewer psychological barriers and are less hierarchical. This is a new trend in banking that merges technology with an increasingly tailored customer experience, reflecting the changes in the way users interact with their bank and how they want to manage their finances and business today. 

Digitalisation has enabled most banking to be done from an app or a phone, so branches are changing rapidly, reflecting the major paradigm shift that is taking place in banking and other sectors, affecting the function, form and substance of traditional bank branches.  

New times require new spaces that adapt to customers’ needs. As well as making it easier to interact with the bank through digital channels, these customers are looking for a trusted advisor to help them make the best financial decisions whenever they need to. And they can do so both online and in person.

In fact, today branches are increasingly becoming advisory centres where people resolve some of the most crucial situations in their lives, such as, for instance, taking out a mortgage or negotiating financing to start up a business. The new smart branch concept places more emphasis on their expertise with in-person service.

BBVA is putting this concept into practice and already has a new type of branch in place, namely Commercial Banking Centres (CBC), which offer highly specialised services in innovative and sustainable spaces. These branches normally have latest-generation ATMs to handle all day-to-day banking activity, including cash deposits and withdrawals, as well as transactions involving bills, transfers, mobile top-ups and enquiries. They also feature meeting rooms for personal interactions with their advisors and informal rooms for banking activities that require less privacy. 

These branches usually work by appointment, which saves time and improves the quality of the experience for increasingly connected and informed customers, who are accompanied at all times by an advisor capable of providing help and advice on anything they may need related to account management and other banking services. Another feature of smart branches is that advisors have a shared work area in order to work collaboratively while sharing knowledge and thus offering a better service to customers.

In addition, in the case of BBVA’s branches, they place an emphasis on sustainability, since they have energy efficiency systems, no files or individual wastepaper baskets. Here the goal is to transition towards paperless spaces, and selective waste collection.

Smart branches, which are normally found in strategic locations such as central streets, shopping centres and business centres, are transforming traditional banking and are expected to continue to be a trend that is seemingly unstoppable.