Business customers are looking to their community banks to provide them with tools and resources to help them keep up with the ever-expanding digital world and its offerings, so they can remain focused on their own core capabilities.
So where does that leave the community bank that does not currently have a digital option to provide? Some banks might feel at a competitive disadvantage and be considering next steps, especially when they see that 82% of Americans use some form of digital banking.1
With this huge trend toward digital technology, largely accelerated over the last two years, business customers have had to adapt to consumer expectations through online ordering, curb-side pick-up, contactless payments, digital invoicing, and some are continuing to work from home. They need their bank to provide versatile solutions to fit their unique and ever-changing needs.
Buy, build or partner?
Banks are doing their best to follow and keep up with the demand of today’s business customers who are on the move in a digital world. Once a bank has decided to offer digital options a difficult question pops up. The banker wonders – do we buy, build or partner to produce a solution and acquire the infrastructure that will support those demands?
The big banks spend millions of dollars building systems and platforms. Those can be expensive to buy and develop on their own, and they are unlikely to include maintenance, back-end support and partnership that many community banks would benefit from and would like to offer their business customers.
What many community banks across America are finding is that a partnership with a smart and knowledgeable fintech company can offer the best of both worlds. These partnerships lead to smoother operations and lifts a heavy weight off the shoulders of banks looking for ways to modernize.
Lightbulbs turning on everywhere
Community banks are thinking about how they can leverage portfolio growth through digital technology, even as they seek to define what digital means to them.
In a recent survey of community banks, over “63% of respondents said that adopting new or emerging technologies was essential for meeting customer demand.”2 And while some community banks are actively planning for the changing landscape, they are also realizing that a nimble partner can enable a quicker and smoother transition to being a digital-minded solutions provider for their business customers.
People, consumers and business owners alike, all expect the same digital experiences in their business lives as they do in their personal lives – we all follow our Amazon packages. The distribution flow is tracked by technology, and we can watch each stage of the transaction, from account set up to a box arriving at our door steps.
Payment solutions and technology companies play a pivotal role today, helping banks become more than simply institutions who hold savings and checking accounts. Banks can do so much more, like offer online payments and cost-saving solutions to keep businesses alive while seeking to ramp up growth at the same time, even in difficult times like during the pandemic. The swiftness of the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) made it clear that quick action is possible in the banking world.
Banks also have the advantage of knowing their business customers thoroughly and being able to anticipate needs. They can see and interpret their actions by creating digital profiles, looking at transaction data, statements, case histories and past communications. With strong data behind them, banks can easily work with a payments company to offer tailored solutions for their customers.
What to look for in a fintech partner
Banks should expect to find a partner who can share data with ease, offer new services and help them learn new ways to run their business more efficiently, so that in turn, their business customers can focus on the sales side of their business. The bank, with their fintech partner, can focus on the revenue and banking side for merchants and show them how to improve cash flow and so on. It’s one team helping another team.
The right payments partner can also remove barriers to new customer acquisition in the digital environment – a partner for payments is critical not only for non-interest income growth but also for improving customer loyalty and retention and expanding revenue opportunities. When reviewing vendors, a bank should ensure that a partner is knowledgeable about local and global trends, and has the experience to handle and anticipate changes. Great fintech partners today are careful about constantly testing and improving their products and services.
DIY/DIT – Do It Yourself/Do It Together
But the real beauty of what to expect in the bank-fintech partnership comes down to the personal. Fintech companies want their bank partners to feel like, ‘yes, the technology is working for me, but I also have a wonderful human executing these services and making it all happen,’ and they want them to know a dedicated person is always available if they run into any issues. Banks can go at the pace they want and explore offerings that make sense to them. Furthermore, partner companies enable banks to offer digital first (DIY) solutions to their customers, while knowing that there is a solid human element for support. Strong customer service is available and on point (DIT – Do It Together).
In our increasingly digital world, fintech partners help community banks and financial institutions meet their business customers where they are – wherever and whenever they want. A bank with a digital-first mindset goes beyond adding a few modern tools to attract young and tech-savvy business owners. Instead, it sees the value in delivering a full suite of easy and convenient business solutions to all their customers so they can run their businesses more efficiently. The goal is to provide freedom of access digitally first, but to back that up with a solid and ever-present human option to troubleshoot and help banks and their clients through any bumps or if they just want to reach out.
Banks will want to make sure that their payment solutions technology partner is representing them and their brand well, is amplifying their established reputation and can offer 24/7 customer support in all appropriate languages.
By partnering with an innovative financial payments and technology company like Elavon, community banks are well-positioned to offer their small and medium-sized clients the pioneering solutions they need to succeed.
Elavon wants to ensure that all their customers are satisfied and have seamless omnichannel experiences. From a payments perspective, all customers expect to self-discover, and want to dip in and out of digital and human interactions. Having simple omnichannel touchpoints including phone, tablet, computer, branch, call center all in one channel creates that seamless experience.
Human touch remains extremely necessary and Elavon meets today’s digitally-minded banks and their business customers where they are at – in the fluid space somewhere between the bricks-and-mortar bank down the street and the metaverse. As with anything new, Elavon respects the pace of change and understands that “The timing of when people adapt is not consistent… [and] ignoring the people element is a recipe for failure.”3
Furthermore, dedicated partnership teams engage in key relationship-building strategies and an open, consultative approach in the field that complements the community bank’s approach in their market strategy. Ever-expanding services, efficiencies in acquisitions, payment solutions, eCommerce, merchant digital boarding, simple product selection, digital applications, as well as e-signatures and instant approval capabilities allow banks to focus on running their business.
None of us can afford to do everything ourselves, and in the banking world, partnering up with an innovative financial payments and technology company like Elavon just makes sense. Because of this close partnership, banks can deepen relationships with their business customers and sell their traditional banking services along with fast and secure payment processing.
Business customers and merchants will thrive as they navigate the future with the confidence of their financial institution and their financial institution's partner, just a call or a click away.
Learn more about how a partnership with Elavon can drive long term growth for your financial institution. Visit elavon.com/getstarted or call 877-557-2071*
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