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The time is now for banks and credit unions to shift to a digital-first mindset

Published August 24, 2020

At a time when bankers are unable to serve consumers face-to-face, digital experiences have become a lifeline for many. People are using digital banking to conduct transactions from home. They’re connecting to tellers and branch staff through live digital chat sessions and interactive teller machines (ITMs). And they're increasingly engaging in contactless interactions, whether depositing checks with their phones or paying ahead with a mobile wallet, card or P2P services like Zelle® instead of cash.  


With the heightened need for consumers and businesses to connect remotely, some financial institutions feel they’re falling behind with digital delivery and digital transformation. As they continue to adjust to these unique circumstances, one thing is certain—the time for accelerating digital transformation and embracing digital-first experiences is now. It’s the fastest, smartest and safest way to make banking accessible and frictionless for each and every consumer and business.  


According to an IDC survey of consumer expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic, 70% of people believe they will be able to conduct their banking transactions, even if the bank's operations center and branches need to close for an extended period of time.*  However, IDC said they believe current conditions will force many banks and credit unions to re-evaluate their digital initiatives to strengthen this channel. 


Additionally, in a recent article, Jim Marous of The Financial Brand said, “Banks and credit unions must use this time of disruption to consider reinventing themselves from the inside out. It is a time when we need to better understand the way consumers expect their financial institution to support their financial needs. This includes the way banks and credit unions use data, AI, technology and human resources to impact marketing, innovation and the digital delivery of products and services.” 


For many, this means evaluating how to better connect digital and physical channels into one, cohesive experience for the consumer...and the bank. It means integrating more personalized, digital and self-service interactions into the branch ecosystem. It also means finding a way to continue to deliver a human touch as people and businesses handle increasingly complex digital transactions in the branch. That’s because the branch still matters—with digital integration, it’s a critical, transformative component that helps financial institutions drive value, deepen relationships and increase retention. 


Eventually, the COVID-19 pandemic will subside and make way for the “new normal.” But the lasting impacts of the crisis will continue to shape our daily lives—including how people interact with their bank or credit union. When that happens, and financial institutions decide which branch locations to reopen first, bridging the gap between physical and digital channels to provide more connected experiences and essential services will be crucial to their long-term success.  


Download our whitepaper to learn more about how financial institutions can break down silos and shift to a digital-first mindset to better serve their customers and members—for the here and now, and into the future.  


For more resources, articles and stories, visit NCR

*IDC. (2020, April). Managing Retail Banking Customer and Employee Expectations During Uncertain Times of Pandemics and COVID-19. IDC Perspective.

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