Once upon a time, small community banks and local credit unions were viewed as neighborhood friends. These businesses thrived on offering individual services and serving communities directly. Local people who lived nearby staffed them.
But now as we start 2022, it’s clear that these locations are fading like old photographs. The rise of internet technology has created a chasm between account holders and any real, personal relationships with their banking outlets. In fact, new start-ups like Chive (an online-only fintech company) are eliminating personal connections in lieu of a mobile-only banking experience.
More banking industry consolidation is occurring, too, as larger institutions swallow small banks. So, what returns the personal touch to a smaller credit union or bank online? Direct, personalized in app notifications.
Smaller can be better
Smaller credit unions and community banks can offer advantages. They can keep a certain degree of local power by working directly with communities. They do it by connecting with individual account holders in meaningful ways, using resources and offering educational insights to help the account holder succeed.
These slight efforts help to build trust with account holders. Research from Kasasa in 2019 showed that 93% of community bank customers and credit union members said they trusted their institution. Much larger banks did not show similar trust rankings.
Build the business
One mantra for local banks is to "Find the growth." There are a few ways to achieve this. Capture your own share of the market. Or grab a piece of the local account holder turnover.
Look at your business and assess where you could stand out as a small credit union or bank online. Can you make better moves at lower costs? If you can, go for it. The returns will be worth it.
Smaller FIs can compete effectively by undergoing a digital transformation. It’s more than just using online marketing methods.
Create a digital suite of services. Build those into a strong app and tie it into your database effectively. Promote it to your account holders, online, in your collateral and in your branches. Make it happen.
Solidify your digital businesses and experiment with your funnel strategies to attract new account holders. What about search engine optimization? SEO can be a strong tactical method to compete against the big banks. It’s important to stay focused on your SEO and make sure it is done well. It will help your account holders find your credit union or bank online near the top of a search.
Your content marketing and social media are equally important because they help you educate and build trust with your account holders. They also attract new people to your FI. Develop a content marketing strategy with social media distribution. You can drive interest in your local community and paint your FI as an expert that helps people improve their financial well-being.
Reach account holders directly with in app notifications
Another way to compete with the big banks is to renew your efforts on focused sales strategies. Understand the specific needs of your account holders and offer appropriate products to this segment. For example, you can use account holder activity data to send in app notifications. These messages pop up at just the right time and place because they're unique to the account holder.
Keep your good account holders. Use in app notifications to move them toward services and products that inspire their loyalty. Do what you can to create stickiness. Use your account holder models to figure out the right steps.
Technology is a great equalizer
Technologies once previously available only to fintech’s and big banks are now becoming available to smaller financial institutions. With these technologies have come several vendors that can help you win new business and help institutions adapt and succeed.
One of these companies is Larky. Larky builds engagement and loyalty programs for banks and credit unions by using in app notifications. This technology helps financial institutions connect with their audience at the right time and place. The Larky nudge® code library and private label mobile engagement platform will help you build relationships and grow your revenue.
Larky’s technology offers smaller banks and credit unions a unique way to build communication and trust with account holders. This in turn helps to boost your competitive advantage. Work with trusted technology partners and enjoy the wins.