"The way customers want to interact with us is changing," says Kevin Sullivan, managing director for distribution strategy at Fifth Third Bank. "Customers are wanting to bank with us where, when and how they want to" — increasingly, through digital outlets. This trend has prompted the bank to set up test branches for piloting new technology to appeal to changing needs.

The Ohio bank — like financial institutions nationwide — has observed transactions migrating to self-service channels from its teller lines. "There has been an annual decline in teller transactions," says Sullivan, estimating the typical decline in the 4% to 5% range for Fifth Third. "With the rise of digital channels, that rate of decline [in 2013] has almost doubled."

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