Community Banking Made Easy with Technology

Banking Technology Small Business

Community banks have always been known for their relationship-focused service. But you don’t have to sacrifice the tech you expect to get the winning customer service you deserve. Here are a few examples that show consumers can get the best of both worlds.

Mobile banking and community banks

Union Savings Bank (USB), in Danbury, Conn., launched Spending Insights, a solution that integrates with the community bank’s mobile banking app. It’s designed to automatically track and analyze customers’ spending habits, then offer opportunities to budget and save money.

USB worked with fintech partners to find the right large-scale solution that had high adoption rates and was driven by AI technology. “Nearly 95% of our mobile customers are aware of [Spending Insights] or are getting insights, and 20% of those folks are actually clicking on and engaging on those insights themselves,” says Chris Barlow, USB’s vice president of digital channels.

Making connections through technology

Banks like Texas First Bank in Texas City, Texas, plan on leveraging technology solutions to make connections and close the needs gaps for its customers. One way of doing that is through APIs to help bring outside resources in. “When it comes to payments, there are opportunities out in the market to partner with fintechs,” says Chris Doyle, president and CEO of Texas First Bank in Texas City, Texas.

Frictionless technology to make banking locally easy

No one likes friction when it comes to banking. Products like contactless payments, QR codes, tap-to-pay, virtual cards and other streamlined solutions increasingly will be deployed by community banks because they support the goal of simplifying payments for the customer, while keeping the bank central to the payment.

“If I talk about Bank of Tampa’s vision, we want to be great at our personal relationships and upgrade our digital capabilities so that we get as close as we can to being a best-in-class digital bank,” says Marilena Lakoumentas, senior vice president and chief digital officer at Bank of Tampa in Tampa, Fla.

Community banks get supported by AI

Community banks like Stearns Bank N.A. in St. Cloud, Minn., are looking at the fine line that comes with using AI to assist in customer service. “We want to balance providing the fast answers and solutions that customers are looking for without losing that personal touch,” says Rory Bidinger, chief marketing officer of Stearns Bank N.A.

Stearns is exploring the use of AI in certain operational functions and within certain products and industries. Using AI can speed up answers to customer questions, but an overall hybrid approach would enable customers to obtain funding faster while bankers maintained the customer relationship.