Wells Fargo opens paperless ‘mini-branch’

April 24, 2013

Anyone that keeps their money in a checking or savings account may have found that many of the services that require going to a bank can now be done online or with a smartphone. Checks can be deposited with an app, money can be transferred between accounts online and “mobile wallets” allow users to pay with their mobile phone.

Since fewer customers are going to branches, Wells Fargo opened its first “mini-branch” in Washington, D.C. this month, according to the Washington Post. The branches are 1,000 square feet – instead of the typical 3,000 – and have pop-up stations where employees can work with customers. Separate areas are available if customers need a loan or mortgage which requires more information, and can be stowed away otherwise. At the end of the day, parts of the branch are locked up while the three ATMs remain accessible.

What also makes this idea unique is the paperless bank branch approach Wells Fargo has taken. Employees use tablets and smartphones, and all receipts are emailed.

“It was very environmentally friendly — everything was electronic so I didn’t need to sign any hard copies,” Nazmul Haque, who visited the branch, told the news source. “I’d never seen such a small location that had everything in it.”

Wells Fargo mini-branches are expected to appear in urban areas where property is more expensive, and as more bank customers turn to mobile banking, other major banks may also begin opening these smaller branches. In order to become paperless bank, however, paper records will need to be digitized, and in an environment like banking, no mistakes can be allowed. To do this, banks may choose to use data entry services, which can both digitize documents as well as use double key entry for the most accurate process.

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