Leveraging ‘coopetition’

If your bank is looking to grow niche products and services, how do you spread the word? Aggressive marketing is certainly one tactic, but word of mouth (especially within a community) can also expand your reach. For a new offering, you may not have enough new customers to spread the word … but your fellow bankers can help.

Even as competitors within a geographical region, community banks know that their survival is dependent on digital transformation, efficiently meeting regulatory burdens, and innovation.

Since niche products are designed to serve a specific target market … why not refer business to your fellow bankers? You may not offer cannabis banking, but another community bank does. Your loan department may not be equipped to underwrite a nonprofit loan, but you know another banker who can.

It’s about more than pointing the prospective customer down the street: It’s about providing a warm introduction. After all, bank customers are far less likely to remain loyal to a specific bank for all of their financial needs. They’ll follow the best product. And just because your bank can’t help with a niche product doesn’t mean the prospective customer won’t return for a checking account or a mortgage. They’ll remember your helpfulness. 

Not only that, but you’re creating friendly “coopetition” with your fellow bankers. Openly discussing your niche offerings means that referrals can run in both directions. What goes around comes around. You can create a network of opportunities and increase your word-of-mouth reach.

No community bank is built to meet every customer’s needs — so why not keep those customers within the community bank realm, rather than risk that they take their banking needs to the Wall Street banks or neobanks of the world?