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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.    

 

IFM has recently updated and refreshed the content on our website at www.infimark.com. We’ve added information about our firm and the service we provide to financial institutions. Additionally, we’ve provided links to access our blog as well as our Quick Guide to Growing Bank Deposits ebook.

 

 

The customer intelligence that IFM provides is helping banks and credit unions understand pre-pandemic consumer and business behaviors as well as the change in behavior due to COVID-19 related impacts. IFM is assisting financial institutions of all sizes by providing insights that will help their customers regain their financial footing and continue to prosper during these challenging times.

If you would like information about IFM’s free trial please contact us through our website, LinkedIn page, or call Rob Reale directly at your convenience.