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As the U.S. economy slowly emerges from the impacts of COVID-19, many individuals are re-opening their small businesses, others have left corporate jobs to start businesses, and many recently retired baby boomers started micro-businesses as a way to help supplement retirement income.

For traditional financial institutions, there are many opportunities to become the primary bank for these small businesses.  Traditional financial institutions are readily equipped to service these small businesses with checking accounts, credit cards, business loans, and merchant services.  However, the payment landscape is continually changing with modern technologies and new competitors are working to attract more of the traditional banking relationship of these small businesses.  

The Changing Payments Landscape

An example of a company changing the payments landscape is called Ayden, which was highlighted in a recent article by Fortune.  Ayden is a payment company based in Amsterdam that allows businesses to accept e-commerce, mobile, and point-of-sale payments.  The value proposition of the company is that they can make payments choices easy for merchants by providing a full end-to-end solution, managing the entire payment flow from checkout through to final settlement.  A single platform that is a payment gateway, risk management system, and acquirer rolled into one is an alternative to the payment processing offered by many legacy banks that still use disparate tech that was developed as far back as the 1980s.

 

Traditional vs Ayden Payment Platform

 

Ayden is expanding beyond its payments business to specifically target bank services to small businesses that operate on Ebay, Etsy, and AirBNB.  Adyen has grown its payments business by 70% in 2021 and is looking to continue its rapid growth.

The Fortune article also mentions Block (formerly Square) and Stripe are also providing banking services to small businesses.  The primary difference between Block and Stripe is that Stripe is best suited for e-Commerce while Block is a specialist for in-person transactions.  Regardless of the platform, there is a lot of information for small business owners to consider before identifying which solution can best meet their needs.

Small business owners getting started in the post-COVID economy are presented with a jaw-dropping number of options to accept payments into their business.  Innovators such as Ayden, Block, and Stripe are enabling businesses to gain access to hundreds of payment methods and many different currencies to help them streamline operations, reduce costs, and optimize results.

Understanding the rapid change in the payments space is critical to enabling an effective strategy to grow and retain your relationships with existing customers. Financial technology firms and non-traditional financial services firms are providing more products and services that encroach on traditional FI’s core business banking relationships. IFM can provide deep insight into your business customer’s external relationships (merchant services, lending, credit cards, etc.) and assist with leveraging this insight to identify opportunities to deepen relationships with your existing customers.

To learn more about IFM’s strategy and analytical capabilities you can communicate directly with me at rreale@infimark.com, or visit our website at www.infimark.com.

 

 

 

Right now, the transactional profile of a consumer checking customer at financial institutions across the US is likely to include a P2P account with either PayPal or CashApp and a newly established Coinbase account as customers’ education and investment in cryptocurrency continues to grow.  They are making regular monthly payments to a SoFi student loan, Rocket Mortgage, or Prosper personal loan, many are using their Apple credit card, and are regularly adding and storing money onto their Starbucks or Dunkin apps.  From a small business customer perspective, many are using QuickBooks for their accounting and payroll, using Square’s merchant services, or have a small business loan from PayPal or American Express.

 

 

As consumers and businesses have rapidly adopted app-based financial tools and services, many-core transactions are conducted with competing institutions.  Given these customer scenarios, how will your financial institution (FI) grow loans, prevent customer attrition, and maximize profitability?  Can your bank’s strategy compete in today’s digital and fast-changing world

Regardless of the geographic area your traditional bank or credit union serves, these might be the profiles of many of your consumer and business checking customers.  Understanding what attracted them to engage with competitors is paramount to the development of a strategy to win them back.  Proactive strategies that include identifying the changes in your customers’ financial behavior, life events, and lifestyle changes, on a daily basis, can effectively provide your FI with the insight to help implement a direct, specialized, and personalized experience for customers that will in effect strengthen their relationship with your FI instead of continuing to send them to the competition.  

For 20 years, IFM (Insight Financial Marketing LLC) has worked with financial institutions of all sizes across the US to provide cutting-edge data science technology to financial services firms.  IFM’s data tools offer an industry-leading customer intelligence solution that enables personalized communication with your FI’s consumer and business customers.  

If you’re interested in learning how your FI can leverage daily customer intelligence, data, marketing tools, and strategic guidance to compete more effectively today and in the future, we invite you to communicate with us directly at our website www.infimark.com or contact me at rreale@infimark.com

 

Bank Strategy During COVID

 

In 2020, At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Insight Financial Marketing held a webinar titled, Outlook for the Future: Bank Strategy During COVID-19 and Beyond. From our discussion, it was clear how big of a role technology played in economic recovery.  We also saw banks receive increased deposit balances, as CARES Act-related assistance was disbursed to consumers and businesses.

This year we felt it was only fitting to share an update regarding the same topic, looking at bank strategy amidst the continuing impact of the pandemic and beyond.

In the presentation, we put a spotlight on three topics:

  • The pandemic’s impact on the economy and the Financial Service Industry
  • The continuous impact technology has on the Financial Service Industry
  • Actions needed for Traditional Financial Institutions to survive the future business environment

 

 

COVID Impact Review

In 2020, we saw businesses close their physical offices, reopen, and for some, shut them down again. Moreover, Financial Institutions supported small businesses by rolling out PPP loans and enhanced Federal Stimulus payments quickly to help cushion these companies from the unprecedented shocks of COVID-19.

According to the Deloitte Economic Spotlight, in May 2021, there were 7.1 million fewer people in the labor force this year as opposed to February 2020. Deloitte further adds that the pandemic significantly affected employees in low-wage occupations by 5.4% compared to the higher-wage populations, which stood at 2%.

We also highlighted COVID’s impact on lending. The most notable change was the decreased rates in mortgage interests in 2020. And as of October 2021, there was a seasonal slowdown, specifically in the real estate market.

Investors Reaction to COVID-19

A review of the Nasdaq, Dow Jones, and S&P 500 indexes shows the pandemic led to a dramatic lagging of the financial market at the onset. However, in 2021, due to the multiple Federal Stimulus packages that were rolled out, the markets recovered and have increased significantly.

Outlook for the Future: How the Changing Economy Will Affect Bank Strategy and the Financial Services Industry
As for the future of retail banking, data shows that:

  • There might be an uptick in interest rates in 2022/23.
  • Due to the success of the economic assistance programs, there is an increase in the money supply.
  • Fintech and technology firms will transform how money moves.
  • As we move forward, the top 2 traditional banks will continue exerting competitive pressure.
  • Outlook for the Future: How the Changing Economy Will Affect the Financial Services Industry
  • We also discussed the changes occurring in the financial services industry, influenced by technological solutions.

FinTech companies continue to succeed because of their customized solutions that meet business and consumer needs. For instance, American Express recently established a digital business checking account for SMBs.

Decentralized finance is becoming more popular—owing to its ability to meet specific needs. With blockchain, traditional areas like saving and investments will in the future not require middlemen such as brokerage firms.

FinTech companies have become more ‘bank-like.’ For instance, Venmo has grown its offerings to include services like debit and credit cards, traditionally bank services.

There’s an increasing rise in neo-digital banks that indicates the dynamic nature of consumer behavior.

As for cryptocurrency, the number of coins and wallets continues to grow. Moreover, the terminology and technology continue to change.

Outlook for the Future: Actions FI’s Need To Make To Survive the Future Business Environment

To close the presentation, we discussed the practical steps FI’s needed to take to enable their future success and survival. First, FI’s will need to identify their value proposition. Traditionally the focus has been on financial products and services that meet customers’ desires.

However, with the advancement in technology, we’ve seen a shift in customer demands. For instance, people now expect instant solutions. And as a result, the traditional face-to-face approach is less favorable, especially from a COVID-19 standpoint. Additionally, more people want to perform basic transactions online, as it is more convenient.

Secondly, analyze your FI’s competitive edge. Once you’ve figured this out, work on implementing strategies to improve the customer experience further. Remember, while technology is the future, we certainly can’t ignore the power of good customer relationships.

Finally, your institution’s ability to stay updated on behavioral trends and lifestyle changes will provide the required customer insights that will increase your competitive edge. From payments to money transfers, leveraging data on consumers’ financial activities coupled with new technology is the most straightforward bank strategy that will deliver continued success and survival.

Contact us today to take advantage of our free, no-obligation evaluation offer to get a first-hand view of your consumer and business customers. To learn more, visit us on our website at www.infimark.com.

 

Bank Strategy During COVID

 

Financial Institutions & Digital Capabilities

Financial Institutions have moved swiftly to enable more digital functionality. This effort has taken on many different paths. For some, the move has been to offer a combination of the following: BaaS, Open Banking, digital loan applications, a stand-alone digital bank, faster payments, access to cryptocurrencies, P2P functionality, electronic signatures, PFM, online and mobile app B2B capabilities. All this has been occurring, while at the same time, Big Tech, FinTech, and DeFi, have been launching new capabilities that target specific needs of consumers and businesses. Many traditional financial institutions have also developed partnerships and strategic alliances with Big Tech and FinTech firms or have invested in them directly.

 

 

COVID is Driving A Shift In Behavior

The COVID crisis further amplified the need for consumers and businesses to conduct more of their financial lives online and through mobile apps. In many ways, the changes in our industry were a direct result of a shift in consumer and business preferences that have been a long time coming; a need to move money faster and with a delightfully easy experience. While consumers’ lives and business operations have not yet returned to “normal,” we have learned how to adapt to life with a deadly virus around us. This includes being more comfortable with conducting more of our financial lives virtually rather than in person.

What comes next?

From IFM’s view, we see changes in consumer and business behavior daily. As a result of more digital functionality, the amount of data has grown exponentially. Some FI’s have seen their digital transaction volumes grow more than 2x-3x faster than previous years. IFM works with many of the largest banks in the U.S. and smaller FI’s that have a critical role in their communities, and all are impacted by changes in consumer and business behavior.

The movement of money has never been faster and will only become faster still. To be competitive, FI’s must be at the top of their game when utilizing data insights and predicting future customer behavior. IFM has an industry-leading customer intelligence solution to help your FI communicate more efficiently, with direct personalized content, and keep you and your enterprise informed of future behavioral changes.

Contact us today to take advantage of our free, no-obligation evaluation offer to get a first-hand view of your consumer and business customers. To learn more, visit us on our website at www.infimark.com.

 

 

 

 

Like other industries in this new millennium, the financial services industry has been rapidly transformed by new technology.  With the rise of digital money, real-time money movement, and increased competition within the industry, this change is growing at an even faster pace.  But let’s face it, this industry has been one of the slowest to change compared to the Music/Movie Industry, Travel/Transportation, Communications, Engineering/IT/Cyber Security, and Shopping. 

 

How an institution prioritizes the utilization of data and information technology will largely dictate its future success.

 

One reason has been an inability for many traditional FI’s to transform their culture to prioritize data and information technology.  How an institution prioritizes the utilization of data and information technology will largely dictate its future success.  A recent article by Industry advisor Jim Marous, “How to Build a Data Culture that Supports Digital Banking Transformation” (thefinancialbrand.com), mentions the importance of implementing a data-centric strategy across the enterprise.  The article states that “Customer insight platforms and the process of information management can expand to customer service, product development, compliance, privacy governance and other key areas of the organization that need a complete and real-time view of the customer.”  

 

 

Insight Financial Marketing (IFM) recognizes the importance of customer insights and has supported financial institutions across the country for nearly twenty years.  IFM clients have implemented our customer intelligence service into their enterprise-wide data strategy and have become leaders in the industry.  IFM’s advanced technology provides new capabilities related to detecting changes in customer behavior and the ability to predict customer behavior.  

To learn more about how IFM has helped FI’s transform data to be more easily leveraged throughout an enterprise and to enable your FI to compete more effectively in the future, contact Rob Reale, Associate Partner and National Sales Manager, at rreale@infimark.com or visit our website, www.infimark.com.    

 

Help Your Customers Build Generational Wealth and Grow Opportunities for the Future

Interest rates continue to remain at record lows, and the recent employment numbers are showing improvement as we continue to recover from the COVID crisis.  Now that the economy is recovering, there are opportunities for financial institutions to help their customers get back on track for planning and preparing for the future.  Two of those areas include providing guidance and assistance with the planning and saving necessary to buy a home and providing the guidance, support, and services that will enable them to save for retirement.  

An article published by the US Census Bureau mentions that the most significant contributors to household wealth are home equity and retirement accounts, which accounted for 62.9% of households’ net worth.  Providing guidance and assistance in these two critical areas will help your customers build generational wealth and provide opportunities for themselves and their families in the future. 

 

 

Insight Financial Marketing® (IFM®) has an industry-leading solution that provides deep insight into customer behavior and financial activity.  Using IFM’s advanced data analytics, your financial institution can identify key characteristics about your customers in near real-time and identify the segments likely to be more receptive to specific messaging in these critical areas.  

IFM offers event-based alerts and marketing campaign files that allow you to message your customers at the right time so you can provide them with the guidance and support they need to build wealth via homeownership, investing, and saving for retirement.  

To learn more about IFM’s services, you can visit our website or communicate with me directly via email or voice at rreale@infimark.com and 703-856-4060.

 

 

ACH Volume Soars At Record Pace

Wow!! Have you seen the new information that the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) has posted about ACH transaction volume during the second quarter of 2021?  Volume soared at a record pace.

According to the post, the quarterly volume of 7.3 billion was an increase of 9.9% from the same period in 2020. The value of those payments was $18.4 trillion, reflecting a nearly 25% increase from a year earlier. Additionally, during the first quarter, a “new record was set in February when ACH volume averaged more than 118 million payments per day, the ACH Network’s highest daily average for a month. The second was in March, when ACH volume hit 2.7 billion payments, the largest monthly volume in ACH Network history. This included approximately 110 million economic impact payments by Direct Deposit from the federal government.”

 

In March, ACH volume hit 2.7 billion payments, the largest monthly volume in ACH Network history.

 

Clearly, these numbers show that the COVID pandemic has accelerated a change in behavior.

amongst consumers and businesses to adopt electronic payments and digital money movement.  Drilling down further into the Q2 numbers, we see that P2P transactions increased by 24.2% from the year-ago quarter, B2B activity increased by 28.7% and internet transactions increased by 14.3%. 

These volume numbers indicate that the rapid growth of transactions within the ACH network has not only continued to grow but are now growing at a record pace.

Question:

Why are ACH transaction volumes increasing so quickly and how will financial institutions adapt to this change in behavior from a customer intelligence perspective?

Answers: 

More and more consumers are choosing to conduct their lives online and in the mobile space. This includes entertainment, travel, paying bills, sending money to family, friends or businesses, shopping, buying digital currency, being paid by Direct Deposit, and investing. Businesses are also moving away from paper checks and adopting digital payments. From a financial institution perspective, firms will be challenged as their customers will be expecting that when moments that matter occur, their financial institution will be there for them, in near real-time with the right guidance and the financial products and services that meet their needs.

Customer Expectations Are Changing To Near Real-Time

Customers will be expecting that when moments that matter occur, their financial institution will be there for them with the proper guidance, financial products, and financial services that meet their needs.

Insight Financial Marketing has an industry-leading solution that will enable your financial institution to better understand consumer and business behavior in near real-time.  We have a proprietary analytical approach that identifies pattern changes, life events, and lifestyle changes that will help your FI to deepen relationships with your consumer and business customers. To find out how IFM can help your team better engage with your customers, visit us at our website, Infimark.com, or contact Rob Reale at rreale@infimark.com.  

 

The past year has brought many changes to the Financial Services Industry and so far in 2021 the indications are there is more to come. Mergers and acquisitions within the top 50 largest banks in the U.S. are reshaping the landscape, changes at the periphery of the industry are also having an impact.  Several of these developments include Lending Club’s acquisition of Radius Bank, Square receiving an industrial bank charter, the growth of SoFI and Cryptocurrency (One Bitcoin > $50,000), as well as usage increases of retail merchant apps (i.e. Starbucks and Chick-Fil-a), and digital signature technology.  Additionally, the payments environment is also shifting as ACH transaction volume surges and P2P transaction volume continues to increase with more usage of PayPal, Venmo, Square’s Cash App, Apple Pay, Apple Cash and the Apple Card, and Zelle (btw… JPMorgan has ended its ChasePay service).

How will your Financial Institution adapt to these changes?

 

These changes indicate that your FI’s customers are being enticed to move an ever-increasing portion of their financial relationships away from your institution.  What steps can you take to mitigate the depletion of deposits, loans, credit, and payments?  One critical step will be to identify when to communicate with your customers and with what message.  Using advanced data analytics that can shed light on customer behavior changes and provide customer insights are critically important.  Being able to predict future needs, and delivering timely offers that provide solutions, will give your institution an early ability to retain and grow relationships with your consumer and business customers.

Technology is available today to protect your tomorrow.

 

IFM’s industry-leading solution can help alleviate your institution from flying blind when it comes to understanding current and future trends and identifying opportunities to deepen engagement with your customers.  When FinTech firms like Venmo and Robinhood were launched, early transaction volumes and dollar amounts were low. However, what was significant was the tremendous rate of growth.  In today’s environment, it doesn’t take long for new technology to go viral and impact behavior.   When your customers experience life-changing and lifestyle events your ability to be there, in a timely manner to support your customers as they navigate through these experiences, is increasingly important. Now is the time to implement IFM’s solution to protect your institution from competitive forces in your ever-changing industry.   Contact us today to learn how your FI can leverage our free evaluation and industry-leading customer insights.

 

The Rise of Digital Solutions in the Banking Industry: Is Your Bank Positioned Well in Our New World?

In a world dominated by the global pandemic, consumers and businesses have turned to contactless solutions and have minimized the need to conduct business in person, even as we slowly return to “normal”. These solutions have given rise to a swift increase in digital transactions as technology has enabled many financial activities to be conducted on a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone app.

The increase in digital transactions includes bill payments, P2P transactions, money movement, investment transactions, and even gambling and sending money overseas.

Another aspect of the global pandemic has been the need for financial institutions to “be there” for their business and consumer customers.  As banks and credit unions position their products and services to “be there” for their customers, this has given rise to a need for a deeper understanding of their customers’ lives and financial situation in order to provide the best possible service while at the same time maintaining profitability.

How will your Bank or Credit Union compete successfully in this New World?

One asset that is unique to your financial institution is your bank’s data, specifically the unique transactions that your customers conduct.  While the general activities and behaviors of your customers may be like other bank and credit union customers, the quality and quantity of their digital behavior becomes more unique.  Understanding what makes your customers unique is an opportunity for your institution to offer a personalized mix of financial solutions tailored to meet their needs.  This will lead to deeper engagement with your customers and your ability to maintain profitability. 

Insight Financial Marketing provides an industry-leading solution to help your bank or credit union deepen relationships with your customers even while the world is quickly changing around us.  Our innovative technology provides near real-time customer intelligence so that you can “be there” for your consumer and business customers.   

To find out more information about IFM’s solution or to get details on the free no-obligation trial of our service, please reach out to me via our website at Infimark.com.

 

 

As Digital Banking takes off, Personalized Marketing will become more important for the Banking Industry

A recent Bain & Company article mentions that financial institutions should be concerned that “many consumers look outside their primary bank for high-margin products”.   However, the article also contains recent survey results that note “most customers who received direct offers would be willing to buy more from their primary bank if it made a personalized offer”.

The article discusses how the rise of digital banking, in part caused by the global pandemic, has led to the hidden defection of bank customers.   As more consumers turn to digital banking it will be imperative for banks to personalize their messaging to customers to compete more effectively in today’s challenging environment.

What is Personalized Marketing?

The term personalization means reaching consumers with messages, pricing, and offers tailored specifically for them. This form of one-to-one marketing uses sophisticated analytic tools to analyze customer data to determine customer needs.

Banks are moving rapidly to leverage personalized messaging by using machine learning and data science tools to process a vast amount of customer data. Insight Financial Marketing is a leading innovator in this segment of the industry. IFM’s service enables banks to analyze the patterns in their transaction data to anticipate specific customer needs. A customer is more likely to purchase a bank product or service if the right offer is presented to them at the right time. This creates a win-win situation where the customer gets the service or product they need, and the bank generates revenue.

The Future of Bank Marketing

By leveraging IFM’s technology, financial service firms will be able to utilize customer intelligence to structure their products, services, and pricing based on customer needs.

For instance, combining artificial intelligence and machine learning with customer insights via IFM’s service has the potential to be a real game-changer. By leveraging IFM’s technology, financial institutions have greater precision in assessing risks, predicting life events, and lifestyle changes.

Personalization has made it possible for customers to save money by presenting the right products and services that meet their current and future needs, while also allowing financial institutions to prosper by developing deeper relationships with their customers. The future of marketing in the financial services industry is being shaped by a rapid shift to the personalization of communications brought on by modern data analysis tools provided by IFM.

Conclusion

With IFM’s industry-leading customer intelligence solution, financial institutions will have the technology and experience to leverage personalized marketing that will drive revenue growth and enable your firm to compete more effectively in today’s challenging environment. To discover how your firm can engage IFM’s solution please contact me via our website, Infimark.com, or via my LinkedIn page.