September 12, 2020 / VOLUME NO. 122
Digital > Branches

For the first time, bank executives and directors now rate mobile and online channels as the most important growth opportunities for their bank.

Bank Director’s 2020 Technology Survey finds that the percentage of executives and directors who identify digital channels as most important to their bank’s growth barely outnumber those who place equal value on both the digital and branch channels — 50% to 46%.

A year ago, 38% said digital was most important to a bank’s growth; 51% indicated the two channels were equally important.

This is a seminal shift in mindset and attitudes. It could also have implications for bank expenditures, projects and investments going forward.

In 2018, 83% of survey respondents told us that improving the user experience on mobile or online channels was a goal for their bank’s technology and retail strategy. In 2019, 67% said enhancing digital channels was included in their institution’s tech budget for 2019.

This year, those goals and objectives became a matter of survival. Nearly all respondents tell us that their customers increased their adoption and use of digital channels because of the coronavirus, with 65% reporting that their bank implemented or upgraded technology in response to the pandemic.

Executives have learned a hard lesson: If a transaction or service can’t be accomplished over the phone or online, it can’t get done.

This doesn’t mean the branch is dead.

A physical presence is still important. But leadership teams are revisiting how they allocate scarce investment dollars and employee resources between physical and digital spaces and projects.

Only 13% of respondents have a fully digital small business lending process, for instance, and 55% say commercial customers can’t apply for a loan digitally.

Banks know they need to adapt. Already, more than half of bankers tell us they’ve adjusted their technology roadmap in response to the crisis.

Makes you wonder what the split between digital and physical channels will look like next year.

Kiah Lau Haslett, managing editor of Bank Director
/ ideas, insights and perspectives on
Community banks are taking advantage of friendly markets and attractive pricing to raise opportunistic capital in the face of the pandemic-induced recession.

“I think a lot of this capital raising is done because they can: The markets are open, the pricing is attractive and investors are open to the concept, so do it.” — Christopher Marinac, Janney Montgomery Scott

Kiah Lau Haslett, managing editor of Bank Director
SilverCloud analyzed more than 50,000 customer queries with bank chatbots to uncover opportunities for financial institutions.
The lack of fully online lending programs at community banks encourages small businesses to look elsewhere for institutions that make the process easier and more seamless.
Writer, investor and teenager Maya Peterson shares what she values in an investment and why she likes community banks.
Seven months into the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s still too soon to make an accurate assessment of the banking industry’s loan quality.