VIDEO: Arvest Bank Uses a Branch to Prove Branches Don’t Matter

Can we stick a fork in branch banking if a bank proves its branches are worthless?

That’s essentially what Arvest Bank, in Bentonville, Ark., has done with its new ad promoting its recently unveiled mobile app. What is striking about the video below is that the customers interviewed at the bank branch all are talking about how the mobile app lets them bank everywhere — except in the bank branch. It appears as though the customers in the TV ad are on an island within the Arvest branch. We can’t make this stuff up, folks.

Now, Arvest is a truly interesting bank. Owned and operated by Sam Walton’s son, Jim, the bank has grown aggressively since 1984, when Jim took a major role. The bank, which uses Fiserv for its technology, now has about $14 billion of assets and more than 260 locations, and even has a tint of Walmart to it. One of the bank’s main products is called Free Blue Checking, a checking account with no monthly fee and a brand name that sounds a bit like Walmart’s Bluebird prepaid card. Perhaps the bank’s Walmart colors explain the video below?



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JJ started the first iteration of Bank Innovation back in 2007, and has been working on it ever since. He also serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Royal Media, Bank Innovation’s parent. He founded Royal in 1995 and oversees all aspects of the New York-based diversified media company. Prior to forming Royal, JJ was on the editorial staff of American Banker, the daily newspaper, and worked as an editor of a business magazine in Hong Kong. As a reporter and editor, he has won journalism awards from the National Press Foundation, Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Foundation, and the Reader’s Digest Foundation. He has a BS in Economics from Yeshiva University and a Master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was also a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Banking. He lives in New York City with his wife, two daughters, and son. He counts among his accomplishments one New York City Marathon, two New York City Triathlons and the 2010 Father’s Day 5K, the first race he ever ran with his daughters. He can be reached at or 212-564-8972.

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3 thoughts on “VIDEO: Arvest Bank Uses a Branch to Prove Branches Don’t Matter

  1. Mr. Hornblass – It was a nice surprise to see your post featuring our new television spot “Deer Woods” which shows our customers raving about Arvest’s Mobile Banking service. Thank you. This is one of a total of five spots, all of which are available for view at (some spots feature the in-branch experience and location convenience). I would encourage you to embed a couple of those other spots as well here in your post.

    I’ve added this comment however to clarify the intent and message behind these spots. We do not believe the branch is dead, it is evolving. In fact, Arvest Bank has purchased or opened more than 30 new branch locations in the past calendar year and we believe our branch density is an important part of our business model. To your point, these customers are discussing mobile banking while standing in a branch. This isn’t an oddity, it is the norm. Most of our customers, when given the option, use multiple channels – branches, drive-thru lanes, telephone, online and mobile. A truly satisfied customer is allowed to bank through whatever method best serves their need that day. As a recipient of eight J.D. Power awards for highest in satisfaction with retail banking over the past five years, Arvest Bank believes in providing our customers layered options for their banking experience.

    Thanks again,

    Jason Kincy
    SVP, Marketing Director
    Arvest Bank

  2. Thanks for the comments Jason. I know BI writes from a very forward looking perspective (in this case not exactly your bank’s vision).

    I’m observing that we are in a period of retail banking transition, but not the end of the line for branches. The exciting part of digital channels is the ability to serve customers quickly and efficiently. The hard part is figuring out the right mix of branches: size, number of, which neighborhoods and what services.

    In general, they need to handle services not yet available on digital, solve complex or timely issues (e.g., lost cards) and handle customers who just prefer to stop by from time to time. I like to think I’m pretty well versed in banking products, but occasionally I need someone to SHOW me something.

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