February 22, 2021

Infusing Community Into Banking

DeepTarget offers insight on three “rules of engagement” that infuse a sense of community into banking.

Communities defined by membership criteria or a local geographic area are served by credit unions and community banks. In fact, community is not anymore defined by a physical boundary.  A community is often built with the sharing of a common ideology, set of interests or an affiliation (such as an employer) – it’s one where people feel a strong pull and sense of belonging. Community banks and credit unions are typically localized to a defined community and uniquely equipped to focus on the needs of the businesses and families of that community. The FI then operates with lending decisions made by people who understand the needs of their community of individuals, families and businesses. DeepTarget offers insight on three “rules of engagement” that infuse community into banking.

Rule 1: Return to your Roots

Following the financial crisis of 2008, consumer perceptions of the industry responsible for widespread recession were at record lows. However, a new light has been shed on banks and credit unions as they have emerged with clear leadership during theCOVID-19 pandemic, offering financial assistance to the public such as waiving fees and deferring loan payments. An ABA Banking Journal article said it best, “At our most successful, banks promote economic development, innovation and social well-being.” A recent Insight post points out that, like personal relationships, business relationships forged during difficult time often result in a thriving, long-term relationship after the storm has passed. This emerging and deepening sense of partnership provides an opportunity to reignite a sense of community pride in the impact of the community financial institutions that serve the community that both the FI’s team and the FI’s consumers or members call home.

Rule 2: Digital Doesn’t Mean Distant

Not too terribly long ago, online or mobile banking was viewed as an attractive amenity. Today – especially in the face of a worldwide pandemic – this is sharply contrasted with the reality that mobile and online banking is essential for success. One financial forum points out “we’ll never get back to the "good ol’ days” of personal bankers and local lending, but there’s hope to be found by way of one key word: community.” This is demonstrated with the example of a 30-year-old millennial that might choose to use unbundled financial solutions like Credit Karma, PayPal, and Rocket Mortgage which may serve a purpose, but neglects the benefits of holistic customer care. A comprehensive and personalized consumer approach is still achievable with a data-driven digital strategy that deepens consumer connections instead of distancing them. Digital platforms utilize the data you already have to create highly effective connections with relevant content and offers unique to each individual. This naturally builds trust as these targeted digital communications engage customers with the products and services that help them succeed.

Rule 3: Prioritize Personal Connections

As community banks and credit unions adopt digital practices to compete with larger banks, they cannot ignore the home-field advantage they possess. As The Financial Brand states, “traditional financial institutions have pushed customers into mobile-and self-service channels so hard that relationships have been stretched to a point where loyalty barely exists.” In contrast, community banks and credit unions have a unique opportunity to leverage their foothold in their respective communities to create a myriad of meaningful connections. A Forbes article points out that millennials are utilizing the internet not just to socialize or binge watch, but to research. These younger consumers trust user recommendations with more credibility than advertisements. A second article by Banking Dive points out that there are some aspects that technology investments won’t solve such as factoring in trust when choosing a financial provider. This article supports this concept with the example of 20-somethings switching to community banks following the recommendations of friends and family and positive online and social media reviews. Creating a community-driven culture in your bank differentiates your services in the eyes of those that have to choose from a sea of commercial and mega banking providers. A much better alternative for them is to choose the credit union or community bank servicing their community with meaningful, personalized touch points.

DeepTarget DXP is in use by hundreds of community banks and credit unions as they enable the automation of intelligent marketing and sales campaigns powered by a one-stop solution that deploys data-powered designs one time and use them to engage account holders in unique digital experiences across all digital app spaces for a meaningful digital experience. Grow deposits, increase loans, gain loyalty, and boost revenue with ease.

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