By: Michelle Danisovszky, Vice President of Marketing at Sound Payments –
Currently, I am the Vice President of Marketing for Sound Payments Inc., a diversified technology company that provides innovative solutions for the Payments, Healthcare, Financial Services, and Petroleum industries.
Nearly 15 years ago, I had a great little part-time college job – I was a bank teller. This experience as a teller provided a perspective that has been surprisingly helpful in my role at Sound Payments. In many ways, I have come full circle (now working for a company that provides solutions for banks), but the banking landscape and customers’ expectations have changed drastically. However, many of the customers’ basic banking needs have not changed. The ways in which these needs are met have evolved and continue to evolve as technology advances.
Let’s consider checks. It wasn’t long ago that depositing a check required a physical trip to a bank or credit union. However, the convenience of mobile check deposit for a consumer has changed the way banking is done and expectations. Surprisingly there are many financial institutions that don’t have this feature as part of their online/mobile banking platform, and many smaller community banks and credit unions that offer no online/mobile banking platform. In fact, there are more than 200 banks and 1,000 credit unions that are not currently using any of the major existing platforms. Now we are seeing the shift toward the virtual wallet, contactless payments and person-to-person pay. Expectations continue to evolve to make day-to-day needs easier and more convenient.
Families are busier than ever before. Time is precious, and people want to focus on what matters most – which let’s be honest – it’s not driving down to the bank or credit union to deposit a single check! That’s what we used to do! You have fewer consumers going to branches, but you still need them for less frequent transactions and banking needs. That’s where advanced ATM’s come into play – they can perform the transactions of a teller – many of the transactions and banking needs that I was responsible for in my role 15 years ago. This may scare some, but the fact is that consumer expectations are turning the branch into a digital service center. This is not a bad thing. There are two strategies that can help a financial institution make this transition – they can either lower the number of FTEs at existing branches or as the bank or credit union looks to grow, it can deploy digital branches with advanced kiosks.
A branch is also not required for a car or home loan for consumers – in fact, the winners of issuing a loan to a consumer are often those financial institutions that take a more proactive approach. If you wait for someone to walk into your branch for that service (which I remember when I was a teller that was the norm), you will lose against those financial institutions that are using technology to increase revenue, improve retention, and capture market share. How many times have you searched for something on Google and then you are “followed” around social platforms with other companies marketing the services or products you are seeking?
Indeed – times have changed! However, I have been surprised at the number of financial institutions that are falling behind. You do have some consumers that are still interested in performing transactions at a physical branch, but that will continue to decline over time and now is the time to start looking at a strategy that makes technology an integral part to not only survive but to succeed!