Embracing the new normal

Whenever I hear the phrase, “the new normal” I’m reminded of the seismic shift in interactions with customers over the course of the pandemic. This is even more apparent when considering this new era in payments and the vantage point from which we view our priorities as community bankers compared to what they were even a year ago.

As we look towards 2022 and contemplate “what’s next?” here are three trends that can offer guideposts on the path to strategic decision-making:

  1. Digital reigns supreme. Digital payment use has skyrocketed during the pandemic. But it’s about more than having digital solutions; it’s about meeting our customers’ needs. Take my bank. We’ve been fortunate to significantly grow over the past year. In fact, we’ve hired six team members to serve rural markets throughout the state. Having payments solutions like remote deposit capture and mobile deposits for our customers is vitally important and can help propel community bank growth.

  1. Faster payments demand will climb. Expect the focus on instant payments and the trend toward faster payments to become even more important next year. As consumers and small businesses become informed about these payments, adoption rates will be even higher. Bancard’s new partnership with Finzly can support community banks in making instant payments a reality. And Bancard’s President and CEO Tina Giorgio also discussed this rising trend in a recent blog post where she interviewed ICBA Senior Vice President, Payments and Technology Policy and ICBA Bancard Senior Vice President of Industry Relations Deborah Matthews Phillips. You can see their insights at https://www.icba.org/bancard/insights/tinas-take-blog.

  1. Customer expectations continue to grow. I have seen exponential adoption of our online portal for small businesses and farmers, and a movement to digital customer self-service. The customer wants more control over their payments, and we can provide that through our offerings.

We may not be able to predict the future, but even in a “normal” year, we’ve never been able to forecast exactly what’s to come. While this certainly has been a trying time and the future may feel daunting, it’s important to remember that we have navigated rough waters in the past—and come out on top.

By staying true to who we are as community bankers and providing digital payment offerings that reflect the times in which we live, we’ll continue to successfully serve our customers, forging this “new normal” with strength and resilience.

As you consider your payments journey, ICBA Bancard continues to stand beside you as a partner. Our goal is stay on the edge of innovation in the digital payments space, bringing new solutions to our clients.

This issue of Bancard Confidential dives into some exciting new opportunities for your bank, so I invite you to reach out to Bancard’s support staff at [email protected] to learn more about how they can support your bank’s offerings.

Greg Deckard is ICBA Bancard’s chairman and is the CEO and chairman of State Bank Northwest, a $210 million-asset community bank headquartered in Spokane, Wash.