Operations

Consumerize your customer experience

With the significant amounts of ink and dollars being spilled on digital transformation, especially over the last two years, many banks still aren’t seeing the ROI promised to them. Many are asking: Is “digital” just a pipe dream to sell tech or can it actually deliver? The problem often comes down to a common mistake of repurposing business-to-business solutions for consumer-facing banking rather than offering a consumer-first experience. [Continue]

Banks need to strategize for rollout

Community banks can often face challenges internally when rolling out new products and services. This can include everything from the logistics of consistent training for employees across the branches and internal willingness to accept change. [Continue]

Mindset, people key to competing in era of exponential change

I was cleaning out a corner of my basement the other day and came upon a stack of newspapers among my late mother’s things. The papers were yellowed and fraying but their headlines still screamed of our shared national history: “Kennedy Assassinated; U.S. Puts 1st Men On Moon; Nixon Resigns.”  [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]

These 3 trends will be competitive dealbreakers in 2022

More than ever, customers are juggling hectic work and personal commitments and they expect their community bank to deliver high-caliber, efficient experiences that match their speed of life, whether they be face-to-face, on the phone or digital. With almost two years of the ‘new normal’ now behind us, what does the future of community banks look like? What are the key challenges and trends that the banking community will face in the coming year as they strive to compete and earn the loyalty of customers?  [Continue]

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]

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]