There’s no shortage of information available on banking best practices, but these articles tend to leave banks and credit unions wondering what exactly accountholders’ expectations are and what specific processes can be improved to meet them. One clear trend may serve as a guiding light for financial institutions hoping to enact positive change: consumers prefer digital banking channels.
According to a survey conducted by PwC, 46 percent of customers relied on smartphones, tablets, and online platforms, skipping in-person interactions at banks altogether in 2017. While no banking customer’s preferences are exactly the same, there are some common threads among borrowers’ experience expectations.
Customers want a digital branch
For many bank customers, a viable digital branch is a top priority. As technology giants such as Amazon and Google, dabble in financial services, customers are increasingly raising their customer service expectations and demanding the same level of service from their banks. Similarly, alternative lenders have significantly increased market share recently due to their emphasis on speed. In fact, alternative lenders’ influence is expected to increase tenfold to $122 billion by 2020 according to The State of Digital Lending, a survey conducted by the American Bankers Association (ABA).
There is an urgent desire for digital branches. While large banks have traditionally had a leg up on smaller institutions due to larger budgets and more resources to implement technology, there is still an opportunity for digital adoption among community banks. An emphasis on digital banking means community banks and credit unions must focus their efforts on building an easy-to-use, online lending experience based on what their customers want.
Customers want a mobile experience
Today, nearly everyone is connected through their smartphone. Over 75 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone, and 61 percent of internet users bank online. It goes without saying that having an online presence is a must for banks, but creating a seamless, mobile-optimized online experience can often be left on the back burner.
One commonly held belief is that if a website works on a computer, then it is mobile-friendly – meaning it will work on a smartphone or tablet. While some systems are compatible among different platforms, common issues with download times, crashes and glitches can hinder the mobile banking experience and irritate potential borrowers. This is especially important to consider for the millennial market, who are most likely to have a smartphone and are 2.5 times more likely to switch banks than other generations.
Mobile phones can be used to streamline the lending process in numerous ways, from lender-borrower communication via email or text message, to accessing the bank’s website or mobile application from a smartphone to check loan approvals or account summaries. Providing an optimized mobile experience offers many benefits to your institution and should be prioritized.