Digital Transformation Starts With the Customer

Digital transformation isn’t an end unto itself; the goal should ultimately be to make your customers’ financial lives easier. Without figuring out what customers need help with, a bank’s digital journey lacks strategic focus, and risks throwing good money after bad. In this video, Devin Smith, experience principal at Active Digital, walks through the key questions executives should ask when investing in digital transformation.

  • Customer Centricity
  • Creating a Cohesive Experience
  • Build versus Buy

Digitizing Documentation: The Missed Opportunity in Banking

To keep up in an increasingly competitive world, banks have embraced the need for digital transformation, upgrading their technology stacks to automate processes and harness data to help them grow and find operational efficiencies.

However, while today’s community and regional banks are increasingly making the move to digital, their documentation and contracting are still often overlooked in this transformation – and left behind. This “forgotten transformation” means their documentation remains analog, which means their processes also remain analog, increasing costs, time, data errors and risk.

What’s more, documentation is the key that drives the back-office operations for all banks. Everything from relationship management to maintenance updates and new business proposals rely on documents. This is especially true for onboarding new clients.

The Challenges of Onboarding
Onboarding has been a major focus of digital transformation efforts for many banks. While account opening has become more accessible, it also arguably requires more customer effort than ever. These pain points are often tied back to documentation: requesting multiple forms of ID or the plethora of financial details needed for background verification and compliance. This creates friction at the first, and most important, interaction with a new customer.

While evolving regulatory concerns in areas such as Know-Your-Customer rules as well as Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering compliance have helped lower banks’ risks, it often comes at the expense of the customer experience. Slow and burdensome processes can frustrate customers who are accustomed to smoother experiences in other aspects of their digital lives.

The truth is that a customer’s perception of the effort required to work with a bank is a big predictor of loyalty. Ensuring customers have a quick, seamless onboarding experience is critical to building a strong relationship from the start, and better documentation plays a key role in better onboarding.

An additional challenge for many banks is that employees see onboarding and its associated documentation as a time consuming and complicated process from an operations perspective. It can take days or even weeks to onboard a new retail customer and for business accounts it can be much worse; a Deloitte report suggests it can take some banks up to 16 weeks to onboard a new commercial customer. Most often, the main problems in onboarding stem from backend processes that are manual when it comes to documentation, still being largely comprised of emails, word documents and repositories that sit in unrelated silos across an organization, collecting numerous, often redundant, pieces of data.

While all data can be important, better onboarding requires more collaboration and transparency between banks and their customers. This means banks should be more thoughtful in their approach to onboarding, ensuring they are using data from their core to the fullest to reduce redundant and manual processes and to make the overall process more streamlined. The goal is to maximize the speed for the customer while minimizing the risk for the bank.

Better Banking Through Better Documentation
Many banks do not see documentation as a data issue. However, by taking a data-driven approach, one that uses data from the core and feed backs into it, banks transform documents into data and, in turn, into an opportunity. Onboarding documents become a key component of the bank’s overall, end-to-end digital chain. This can have major impacts for banks’ operational efficiencies as well as bottom lines. In addition to faster onboarding to help build stronger customer relationships, a better documentation process means better structured data, which can offer significant competitive advantages in a crowded market.

When it comes to documentation capabilities, flexibility is key. This can be especially true for commercial customers. An adaptable solution can feel less “off the shelf” and provide the flexibility to meet individual client needs, while giving a great customer experience and maintaining regulatory guidelines. This can also provide community bankers with the ability to focus on what they do best, building relationships and providing value to their customers, rather than manually gathering and building documents.

While digitizing the documents is critical, it is in many ways the first step to a better overall process. Banks must also be able to effectively leverage this digitized data, getting it to the core, and having it work with other data sources.

Digital transformation has become an imperative for most community banks, but documentation continues to be overlooked entirely in these projects. Even discounting the operational impacts, documents ultimately represent the two most important “Rs” for banks – relationships and revenue, which are inextricably tied. By changing how they approach and treat client documentation, banks can be much more effective in not only the customer onboarding process, but also in responding to those customer needs moving forward, strengthening those relationships and driving revenue now and in the future.

Opportunities For Transformative Growth

The bank space has fundamentally changed, and that has financial institutions working with more and more third-party providers to generate efficiencies and craft a better digital experience — all while seeking new sources of revenue. In this conversation, Microsoft Corp.’s Roman Chwyl describes the rapid changes occurring today and how software-as-a-service solutions help banks quickly respond to these shifts. He also provides advice for banks seeking to better engage their technology providers.

Topics addressed include:

  • Focusing Technology Strategies
  • Partnership Considerations
  • Leveraging Digital for Growth
  • Planning for 2022 and Beyond

The Next Wave of Digital Transformation

There is no question that digital transformation has been a long-term trend in banking.

However, innovation is not instantaneous. When faced with the obstacles the recent pandemic presented, bankers initially accelerated innovation and digital transformation on the consumer side, thanks to a broad scope of impact and the technology available at the time to streamline human-to-human interactions.

Now, as easy-to-use technology that automates complex interactions between human and machine and machine-to-machine (M2M) interactions becomes more readily available, the banking industry should consider how it can transform their own business and the banking experience for their business clients.

The First Wave
Why were consumers first served in the early days of the pandemic? Because there are often a lot of consumers to serve, with similar use cases and needs. When many account holders share the same finite problems, it can be easier for banks to commit personnel and financial resources to software that addresses those needs. The result is the capability to solve a few big problems while allowing the bank to effectively serve a large base of consumers with a mutual need, generating a quick and viable return on investment.

The first wave of digital transformation in banking concentrated on consumers by focusing on digitizing human-to-human interactions. They created an efficient process for both the bank employee along with the customer end-user, and then quickly moved to enable human-to-machine interactions with the same outcome. This transformation can be seen in previous interactions between consumers and bankers, like account opening, check deposits, personal financial management, credit and debit card disputes and initiating payments — all of which can now be done by a consumer interacting directly through a digital interface. This is also known as human-to-machine interactions.

In contrast, business interactions with banks tend to be more nuanced due to regulations, organizational needs and differences based on varying industries. For instance, banks that manage commercial escrow accounts for property managers and landlords, municipalities, government agencies, law firms or other companies with sub-accounting needs frequently navigate various security protocols and regional and local compliance. Unfortunately, these complexities can slow innovation, like business online account opening that is only now coming to market decades after consumer online account opening.

The Next Wave
Automating these business interactions was once thought to be too large of an undertaking for many banks — as well as software companies. But now, more are looking to digitally transform these interactions; software development is easier, further advanced and less costly, making tackling complex problems achievable for banks.

This will mark the next wave of digital transformation in banking, as the potential benefits have a greater effect for businesses than consumers. Because profits for each business client are much higher than consumer accounts, banks can expect strong returns on investment by investing in value-add services that strengthen the banking experience for business clients. And with so many niche business verticals, there is opportunity for institutions to build a strong commercial portfolio with technology that addresses vertical-specific needs.

While the ongoing, first wave of digital transformation is marked by moving human-to-human interactions to human-to-machine, the next wave will lead to more machine-to-machine interactions. This is not a new concept: Most bankers have connected two separate software systems, and have heard of M2M interactions through discussions about application programming interfaces, or APIs. But what may not be clear to executives is how these M2M interactions can be extremely helpful when solving for frustrating business banking processes.

For example, a law firm may regularly open trust and escrow accounts on behalf of their clients. Through human-to-human interaction, their processes are twofold: recording client information in an internal software system and then providing the necessary documentation to their bank, via branch visit or phone, to open the account. They need to engage in additional communication to learn the balance, move money or close the account.

Transforming this to a human-to-machine interaction could look like the bank providing a portal through which the firm could open, move funds and close the account on their own. While this is an excellent improvement for the law firm and bank, it still requires double data entry into internal software and banking software.

Here, banks can introduce machine-to-machine automation to improve efficiency and accuracy, while avoiding extraneous back and forth. If the bank creates a direct integration with the internal software, the law firm would only need to input the information once into their software to automatically manage their bank accounts.

The digital transformation of business banking has arrived; in the coming years, machine-to-machine automation will become the gold standard in the financial services industry. These changes provide a unique opportunity for banks to help attract and satisfy existing and prospective business clients through distinctive offerings.

Preventing the 3 ROI Killers in Digital Transformation From the Start

Digital transformation at community banks is often a complicated, time-consuming and costly process.

With the right approach, however, community banks can increase the value and return on investment of their digital transformation initiatives. The key to maximizing ROI is to take a systematic approach and avoid common pitfalls that could become barriers to success.

Any technology investment that a bank makes needs to meet — rather than hinder — its business goals. Adopting a customer-centric point of view and proceeding incrementally are essential to ensure a successful outcome. Digital transformation is ultimately about future-proofing the business, so it’s critical to choose technologies that can grow, scale and evolve.

The three most common ROI killers in digital transformation are:

  • Doing too much, too quickly.
  • Failing to connect with the customer.
  • Not selecting a connected and experienced partner.

Doing Too Much Too Quickly
The number and variety of technology solutions for the banking industry to choose from is nothing short of mind-boggling. But successful digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. Not all features are suitable for every bank’s needs or budget — or their customers.

Resist becoming blinded by the shiny objects some vendors will flash. Buying into all the bells and whistles isn’t always necessary at the outset of a transformation initiative. If the implementation fails, it will kill any ROI and team morale, and risks overloading staff and systems with immature solutions before the bank has confirmed they work.

A better strategy is implementing features and solutions incrementally using process improvement and customer satisfaction to quantify value. Taking smaller steps improves stakeholder buy-in and allows a bank to test-drive new initiatives with customers. Taking smaller steps towards digital transformation: implementing sidecar offerings and managed services instead of ripping out and replacing cores or launching products that the bank can’t fully support. New offerings must enable value without losing quality, security or customer satisfaction. Bank executives should establish clear and measurable key performance indicators to track progress, and only move on to the next step when the first is satisfied. There are few things worse than investing in technology that is too difficult to use or doesn’t achieve promised results.

Failing to Connect with the Customer
Misaligning technology choices with customer preference and digital banking needs sets up almost any initiative for failure before it’s out of the starting gate.

Banks typically cater to a broad demographic, making research and strategic planning critical at the procurement stage. Focusing implementations on tools favored by one specific group but not by others limits an organization’s capabilities and alienating others in the process. Customers groups have their own particular concerns and preferences, and it can be challenging to apply a single strategy that pleases everyone.

To avoid this pitfall, executives need to research, strategize, plan and focus to launch products that their customers truly want and need. Open dialogue with customers is the key to success, as priorities will differ vastly  in every community. It’s not enough to emulate competitors, although that is a helpful benchmark. Ideally, banks should seek customer feedback through surveys, direct market research and speaking with them when they interact with the branch or brand to understand their priorities.

Not Selecting a Connected and Experienced Partner
Finding technology companies to support digital transformation isn’t difficult. It’s estimated that companies in the United States waste up to 40% of their technology spend on poorly-made decisions, like investing in technology based on a pitch from a sales professional that does not understand or have expertise in the institution’s particular needs.

Community banks have unique needs, concerns and customers, and should seek technology providers that speak their language, with solutions and insights to advance their goals. Select providers with experience in your niche — one that understands the particular challenges of community banking in the post-pandemic world. They should be experts that are well-versed in the banking industry, provide all technical documentation, satisfy regulatory and compliance need, and offer technology solutions that create excellent user experiences while being flexible, scalable and within budget.

A Third Option for Banks Considering M&A

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra, American baseball legend

Clearly, Yogi Berra didn’t quite see the fork in the road as a binary choice. The industry has seen more than 250 bank acquisitions over the past few years, and experts predict M&A activity could ramp up in 2022 as deals that were put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic finally come to fruition. But rather than exploring paths that could lead banks to either be a buyer or seller in a transaction, what if there was another option? A door number three, like in “Let’s Make a Deal.”

Bankers could embrace Yogi’s wisdom; that is, they could take a pass on buying or selling while opting for continued independence as a high-performing bank. Without being naive nor blind to the imminent wave of M&A activity, there are an abundance of strategic options and partnerships banks can employ to maintain independence and fuel growth.

As anyone who has been on either side of the M&A equation knows, absorbing and combining banks is a messy business full of complexity, unforeseen challenges and risk. Institutions that expect to be involved in a transaction would be well advised to consider alternate service delivery models for some of their existing lines of business to reduce M&A friction.

At the same time, digital transformation continues to be a recurring theme for the industry. What is your bank’s digital strategy? Is your bank curating the right digital experience for your customers? Is your bank exploring strategic partnerships that can streamline the back office while leveraging the customer-facing tech?

Mortgage is an ideal candidate for this due to the level of complexity, compliance risk and volatility it inherently poses. Merging two mortgage operations into a cohesive unit or injecting mortgage operations into an institution where it did not previously exist can be massive undertakings that only add to the difficulty of completing a merger or acquisition.

Regardless of what side of the M&A transaction a bank is on, a mortgage offering helps banks find scale to drive technology or other investments, expand their geography, acquire new customers and grow revenue. Offering this foundational financial product cost-effectively through an outsourced fulfillment partner allows banks to progress on those goals by eliminating what could be a significant source of potential friction.

Outsourcing back-office mortgage operations also provides substantial benefits to both potential acquirers and acquirees. From an acquirer’s perspective, a fulfillment service maximizes their mortgage profitability and portability, enabling them to seamlessly extend their operations into the target bank without the hassle of integrating systems or solving for staffing issues. Acquirers can immediately enhance the franchise value of its acquisition by introducing mortgage services and begin generating an entirely new revenue stream without establishing new operational infrastructure.

On the flip side, partnering with a mortgage fulfillment provider can enhance the attractiveness of banks looking to sell. Outsourcing mortgage fulfillment enables banks to reduce the overhead and expenses required to maintain a full-fledged mortgage operation in-house, which can improve the liabilities side of the balance sheet, making them a more financially attractive acquisition target.

Outsourcing mortgage also enables banks to stabilize their staffing needs, avoiding the industry’s traditional “hire-and-fire cycle” of staffing up during high volume periods to keep up with demand and severely reduce staff when volume inevitably slows. Outsourcing the labor-intensive fulfillment portion of the mortgage process allows prospective sellers to redeploy their internal resources and ensure maximum staff retention post-M&A.

Improving scale, efficiency, profitability and stakeholder value are always the objectives for any bank, whether they engage in M&A or choose to stay independent. Regardless of strategy, outsourcing mortgage fulfillment using innovative technology can be a critical strategy for banks looking to grow their product offerings and revenue in the short term while setting themselves up for sustainable high performance.

It’s tempting to aim for the fences with a grand slam when it comes to digital transformation. But maximizing the profitability of a key product segment like mortgage could be a nice, achievable win.

The Great Labor Challenge Facing Banks

The biggest long-term challenges for banks won’t be low interest rates or inflation.

A transforming workforce and the long-term trend of slowed population growth are likely to pose the greatest threats to many financial organizations. Banks do have some ways to counter this great labor challenge, but a lack of action may create compounding negative effects in the future.

RSM Chief Economist Joe Brusuelas writes that five factors will likely lead to a lasting transformation of the U.S. workforce:

Baby Boomers Retiring: The pandemic disproportionately affected the health of older Americans. Combine that fact with increasing demand for new technological skills, and it’s no wonder baby boomers are leaving the labor force at an unprecedented rate. With such retirements, significant institutional knowledge also goes out the door.

Working Women: Women of prime working age — 25 to 54 — have borne the brunt of caring for children during each wave of the pandemic and the resulting impact on schools and day care. This has prevented many in this demographic from returning to work. While we expect this group of women to eventually return to the workforce, it is too early to assess this factor’s impact in the long run.

Ghosting The Labor Force: More workers are simply walking away from their jobs without giving notice. For a variety of reasons, the overall workforce participation rate — most notably in the prime working-age demographic — has declined significantly since the onset of the pandemic. The consequences of this shift will arguably last well beyond the pandemic.

Intergenerational Wealth Transfers: A little-discussed impact of the more than 888,000 U.S. deaths caused by coronavirus, as of early February, is the transfer of wealth to younger workers from relatives who have died. Such transfers may allow some workers to walk away from employment.

“You Only Live Once” Mentality: The extended shock of the pandemic is eliciting behavior change among younger workers, who are reassessing their lives and career arcs. Many may ultimately decide that what they were doing before or during the pandemic is no longer suitable, or does not align with their personal priorities.

On top of all these factors, data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a clear decline in the U.S. population growth rate since 1980, except for a short period in the 2000s. The BLS projects the growth rate over the next decade will be the slowest of any other 10-year period in the past 50 years.

These workforce and population shifts will have a long-lasting impact on financial institutions that do not act. While one solution to mitigate these trends may be to increase wages or salaries and improve benefits, focusing solely on compensation is akin to only performing physical therapy for a hip ailment, when a hip replacement would be far better in the long run. To address these changes on a holistic level, your institution should consider these actions:

Adopt Flexible, Hybrid Work Arrangements: While banking in the past was built entirely around having branches full of employees, the people who comprise the largest percentage of the workforce are starting to expect a flexible or hybrid work environment. Attracting and retaining a younger workforce may become increasingly difficult without such an environment.

Enhance Corporate Culture, Benefits: Actively engaging the workforce can help leadership teams understand how to continually improve not only the working environment but also employees’ work-life balance. Other enhancements could include better leave policies, providing more sick days or family sick days to care for a sick family member, or educational benefits such as student loan forgiveness.

Hire Diverse Talent: BLS data shows that racial minorities lag the broader workforce in terms of labor participation. This creates an opportunity for financial institutions to access a greater pool of available labor, and build and foster a more diverse working environment, which benefits the workplace itself as well as the organization’s bottom line.

Invest In Technology: Technology is not only the key to unlocking long-term profitability for banks; it is the catalyst to empowering the workforce to do more. Harnessing the power of data, process automation and productivity-enhancing technologies will provide the biggest return on every invested dollar. Along with improving workforce efficiency, such investments can help foster a more dynamic, exciting company culture.

To be sure, enhancing current working conditions, company culture and workforce recruitment, coupled with strategic technology investments, represent the best way for banks to address the great labor challenge.

Is Your Digital Banking Sign Always On?

You’ve already heard the promises: The digital revolution is here, and it’s ushering in a new era of profitability, velocity and efficiency.

Or is it?

While you’ve likely seen your bank’s technology budget grow over the last few years, it may be harder to see how that spending translated into gains in business share, customer satisfaction or the bank’s bottom line. You may be hearing from frontline employees that operations feel more fractured than ever before. What’s wrong with this picture?

Your digital experience may be suffering from a chronic case of squeaky-wheel choices as competing objectives elbow for access to finite budget dollars and project resources. Improving online and mobile offerings may come at the cost of enhancing digital lending capabilities. Operational efficiencies — a grab bag that can include any number of disparate automation tools intended to reduce cost and improve productivity — may take dollars away from compliance and risk management. You’re not building your digital business from scratch; you’re methodically replacing and upgrading components across your technology stack. But as long as you still have static data siloes and bifurcated systems in your operational mix, your digital service will collide with stopping points that interfere with a smooth user experience.

Bank transaction supply chains are likely the result of decades-old decisions and solutions so entrenched within the operation that it feels inevitable. Reimagining the end-to-end solution requires a fresh look at some previous assumptions and a fresh look at the ecosystem of fintech partners. Executives need to determine if their providers and partners are willing to collaborate to identify and address digital stopping points.

One of the most revealing questions banks can ask their providers is about their own investment strategy. How much are they putting back into the development of their own solutions? Small, ongoing investments mean that your partners are spending money on things that don’t sustainably deliver benefits to your bank. It also means they aren’t looking ahead to solve the next round of technology challenges. If their CEOs aren’t actively positioning their solutions for future viability, then you may have found the weak links in your own supply chain.

The customers your bank is trying to reach want speed, ease of use and mobile enablement in everything they do, whether it’s one-touch shopping on Zappos or depositing a check into their savings account. While these requirements have defined consumer preferences in retail segments for years, they arguably define consumer preferences in every segment following the quick adaptations the industry made in digital banking in response to Covid-19.

The dream of 24/7/365 banking requires a precise definition of digital: always on. Not “mostly on” until your bank needs a compliance update. Not “pretty much on” until you need to manually advance the loan in the loan origination software or collect physical signature cards. Interconnected services are critical to the always-on digital experience.

Your digital offer should take its inspiration from innovative disrupters outside of the financial industry, like Uber Technologies and Netflix that rewrote the delivery and service aspects of their products with interconnected, cloud-based systems. Your bank needs to be able to deliver to customers, regardless of whether someone is sitting at your service desk. Static and bifurcated systems are, by definition, unconnected, and need human intervention for updates to keep you in business.

As your bank continues to invest in technologies to deliver digital banking, make sure you focus on the end game for your customers. Digital must be as reliable as turning on a light switch. Interconnected, cloud-based systems from partners who are looking forward with you will help you get there more quickly — and with fewer headaches.

3 Ways Customer Data Benefits Financial Services

The financial service sector has seen sweeping changes in the past few years, due in large part to breakthroughs in technology and adaptations made in response to the pandemic, and banks are under a tremendous amount of pressure to cater to customers whose wants and expectations are dramatically different from before.

For financial firms to succeed, they must embrace digital transformation and set their strategy based on analyzing and using the mass of data at their fingertips. This data can help them in three crucial ways.

1. Gaining a deeper understanding of clients to cater to their needs

Banks, more so than other companies, have enormous datasets to wrangle. Every swipe someone makes with their debit or credit card is a piece of transactional data for financial companies — not to mention engagement with banking apps, calls to service centers and visits to branches. If banks are able to organize the data properly, they can understand their customers, predict their needs, personalize interactions and more.

No matter if you’re a boutique bank, or a large well-known brand — the key to success is customer loyalty, and that can be fostered by a positive experience. Customers expect their banks to predict their needs and tailor their interactions. With legible customer data, banks can identify and predict trends in customer behavior and create personalized approaches. Historically, banks have been more product-centric, for example focused on pushing credit cards or specific types of accounts. To build value, firms should move toward customer-centricity and concentrate on building brand value. This extra effort will result in happier customers, skyrocketing loyalty and retention, higher engagement and conversion rates and a more substantial return on investment.

2. Connecting with customers at pivotal life moments

Financial services is a lifecycle-based sector. To effectively serve customers, banks must understand what products and services will be of use to their clients at what stage in their lives. Customers don’t make big financial decisions when their banks want them to, but rather when pivotal life moments happen, such as marriage, moving out of state, or purchasing a home. By examining their data, banks can look at different indicators like customer engagements with other products or spending patterns, to anticipate important life events and prepare a product or offer for them in the right time frame.

3. Building a stronger business

If banks can form a complete view of their services based on customers’ usage and transaction data, they can discover where they fall short and how they can improve their business across multiple dimensions. There are many use cases that fall under the data and analytics category: Brands can develop new products and services, have better risk management capabilities and save money with more efficient internal operations. Using data even extends to financial investments: Brands can predict how the market may move and decide which companies or stocks to invest in.

Unlocking the potential of customer data in financial services depends on having a solid foundation of customer data. With that in place, banks can make informed decisions to drive adoption, increase revenue and boost customer satisfaction. But first, they must collect, clean, combine and analyze internal and external data from a variety of different sources. Without the right tools and guidance, this can be quite difficult, and often trips banks up; this is where a customer data platform (CDP) comes in.

A good CDP will help a bank make sense of messy data and turn it into valuable insights, allowing financial service companies to fuel their marketing efforts, cut back on costs and serve their customers better.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Digital Lending Transformation

For many mid-size community banks, the shift to technology has been slower than expected. There can be a resistant mindset when it comes to implementing financial technology practices, hindering any results that the technology can provide. Bankers try to make the tech fit to their existing processes, rather than the other way around.

If you’re already considering a digital transformation, you might be tempted to run out and overhaul your entire system right away. However, this can be an overwhelming approach, destining the project for failure. One recent study finds that most financial institutions that have partnered with fintech firms have seen moderate gains, but there is still a need to distribute more dedicated resources to a true digital lending transformation. However, there are a few quick do’s and don’ts that every institution can benefit from:

Don’t try to overhaul the entire thing at once. Take an assessment of not only your bank’s current technology state, but also of your current practices and approaches. Too often, financial institutions want to focus on “the way it’s always been done,” rather than looking to see how digital solutions can make processes easier and more efficient. Keep what works in today (and tomorrow’s) environment and find ways to adapt the rest.

Do start with the most profitable areas. One of the best ways to see the most return on an investment in digital is to begin with the areas that drive revenue and profit to the institution. Your back office and credit department will benefit the most from technology that allows them to operate more efficiently and make decisions faster, making them logical starting points.

Don’t try to mix and match solutions. When it comes to implementing technology into the branches, many choose to try and piecemeal different products and systems together. While you might think this approach saves money by only buying certain products from certain vendors, your bank is most likely losing key integrations that can come from having a single solution.

Do trust your technology partners to guide you. Finding a partner that understands what it means to work in a bank, with these current processes, ensures that you’re getting support from folks that understand what you’re trying to do. The key here is trust. Too often, banks are resistant to the idea that their technology partners might be able to teach them a more efficient way.

Don’t try to change the technology. Rather than looking at how the bank can adopt the tech to its processes, consider leveraging technology partners to explore how your bank can simplify processes through technology. When you purchase a solution from a financial technology provider, you’re also paying for their expertise. Don’t throw your money away.

Do adjust your mindset when it comes to tech. Tech in the banking industry has made giant leaps in the last five years, let alone in the decades prior to that. If your bank’s mindset when it comes to implementing or adding technology into your processes is that certain things can’t be changed because it’s always been done this way, you’re setting yourself up to achieve fewer desirable results.

When the coronavirus pandemic sent everyone to their homes for months in 2020, many banks were forced to recognize that an online portal or a mobile app wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Adapting to a fully automated process has become necessary, not optional. Now is the time to learn from this and to take control of your technology. Don’t wait until the next unexpected issue forces you to adapt, when you can get ahead of the game.

About Baker Hill
Baker Hill empowers financial institutions to work smarter, reduce risk and drive more profitable relationships. The company delivers a single unified platform with modern solutions to streamline loan origination and risk management for commercial, small business and consumer lending. The Baker Hill NextGen® platform also delivers sophisticated analytics and marketing solutions that support sound business decisions to mitigate risk, generate growth and maximize profitability. For more information, visit www.bakerhill.com.