main-street-sign3Bradley Leimer, the US-based community banking technology developer and engagement banking proponent, gave a definite call to action, one which all banks should heed, in our most recent Webinar: 10 Key Trends from the Community Banking Trenches (Click slides below).

We agree. There are serious changes afoot that are impossible for banks — of all kinds — to ignore.

These changes go beyond the traditional economic, demographic, and generational. Changes in customer behavior are creating a disruption that can only be met with agility. Because of the speed of these changes, companies, not just banks, need to innovate to meet the challenges. Emulation is simply not enough. This doesn’t mean lessons can’t be learned from the best technology innovators just that personalization and originality will be what reaps rewards.

As Leimer points out, community banks are under pressure and some of the ways they must change include making money transfers, online banking and bill pay, easier. If customers can’t move their money – they will move themselves to a financial where they can do, even if it isn’t in their community.

How else can banks respond according to Leimer? Well, after making it possible for customers to do what they want with their money, banks can provide more contextual search and sharing. (KLM, as one example, takes proximity search and creates contextual answers for web users.) Banks can work more with merchants to provide customer rewards, or they can integrate more cross-selling activities with account opening processes, as a few other examples.

Above all, banks, especially community banks, need to listen to customers and respond to them in unique ways.  If a bank can’t do anything else it should, “at least try to say ‘yes’ more often”, says Leimer.

Photo courtesy of: westoftheei.com