Operations

What help can your bank provide to financial caregivers?

I have a close friend whose parents both have late stage cancer. In short order, questions about caregivers and safe housing, and how to pay for it, landed in my friend’s lap. She and I spoke while she prepared to temporarily move to her parent’s small Iowa town so she could manage the logistics. I was a bit troubled, therefore, when I stumbled upon a survey that revealed that 31 percent of financial caregivers said their bankers were indifferent to their needs, while 22 percent were disappointed with the support they received from their banks.  [Continue]

Spend some extra time with your borrowers’ financials this year

It’s that time of year. Soon your loan customers will be compiling their year-end financial statements and, if their loan agreements dictate, providing copies to your bank for review. This year, like last, might include some extra scrutiny. PPP money combined with a “not quite back to normal” may make for some financial statements that don’t align with your borrowers’ pre-pandemic financials. Are your credit analysts prepared to assess the borrowers’ financial health, given these considerations? [Continue]

Entrepreneurs create banking niche

Will 2022 be the year of the entrepreneur? The Wall Street Journal recently noted that the number of self-employed workers has risen by 500,000 since spring 2020, to about 9.44 million, a 6 percent increase, and 4.54 million new businesses received federal tax ID numbers in the first 10 months of 2021, up 56 percent from the previous year. Some banks will be able to affirm the rise of entrepreneurship by delivering products and services specifically tailored to this unique customer group. [Continue]

Empathy humanizes each customer service interaction

The pandemic has been the ultimate stress test for banks, catapulting digital transformation to top priority status. For our 2021 TrendWatch report, we polled banks of all sizes about how Covid-19 affected the way they connected with customers. More than 57 percent of respondents said they’d accelerated their digital transformation, channeling consumers to the digital environment for activities they would normally perform in a branch. While technology continually transforms how people engage, the need — and desire — for human connection remains strong. [Continue]

Protecting against elder financial abuse response

A year ago in this space, I wrote about an elderly woman who was scammed out of thousands of dollars when a phony lawyer talked her into withdrawing money from her bank account and sending it to him. Financial scams aimed at older Americans are a serious problem. The good news is many banks are training their people to watch for elder abuse and take steps to prevent it. [Continue]

Gain customers by greening up some bank products

A church in my neighborhood is holding an electric vehicle expo this month. It’s a hands-on event with test drive opportunities and a chance to visit with EV owners. The expo sign caught my eye because I’ve been seeking new ways to reduce my own carbon footprint beyond using LED light bulbs, recycling and composting, and not using the air conditioner at home except for when the dewpoint creeps into the high 60s. As it turns out, I’m not alone. [Continue]

Customers want self-serve options — including appointment scheduling

We all know the feeling of trying to schedule a meeting. The back-and-forth via emails to determine availability, the no-shows, the rescheduling. Busy bankers likely felt this pain, and then it was magnified when Covid-19 hit and lobbies closed. Suddenly everything happened via appointment, from account opening to loan inquiries. Walk-ins — temporarily — not welcome.  [Continue]

Enhanced shareholder value comes through daily practices

Enhancing shareholder value is something that bank management needs in their filter daily. This mantra helps to make sure the decisions made today will help in providing value for the shareholders tomorrow (and not detracting from shareholder value). [Continue]