Thought Leadership

6 Must-Read Predictions for Community Financial Institutions in 2019

December 31, 2018
6 Must-Read Predictions for Community Financial Institutions in 2019
By Bryan Adler

Community banks and credit unions are often asking me for guidance on their technology strategies moving into the future. Smaller organizations are often too taxed with compliance and running their business day-to-day to have the opportunity to look too far out onto the horizon, or you may not have the in-house expertise needed in the tech area. So, like many other fintech business partners, I thought I’d throw my hat into the prognosticating ring. Here’s what we’ll see in 2019:

1. Attracting entrepreneurial millennials through digital transformation. Financial institutions have been hunting down the somewhat-elusive millennial consumer. Community institutions have been touting socially responsible activities, like charitable fundraisers and community development, and those are important to the hypervigilant younger adults. We need to match those efforts with convenient and efficient technologies to make their customer experience seamless.

Certain cities may have a leg up based on sheer numbers, based on my research. Deloitte reported the median age in Atlanta is 33 versus more established cities, like New York City, which has a median age of 36.2, and Los Angeles, where the median age is 35.6. The same holds true in Austin, Texas where the median age is 32.7, and Nashville where it’s 34. Millennials are flocking to these cities, attracted by lower housing prices, higher incomes and greater opportunity. The community banks and credit unions in these areas and other growing second-tier cities must innovate and adjust their products and services, both retail and commercial, with superb mobile options to grab and hold their attention. Activate at their point of excitement!

Click here to download Vetter’s white paper, “Customer-Centric, Data-Driven Culture in Financial Institutions.”

2. Realizing the benefits of marketing automation. Marketing automation frees up your marketers to spend less time on repetitive processes that can be automated and more time for messaging creativity. According to Venture Harbor, a one-person marketing team can compete with a 50-person marketing team through automation. Additionally, by automating your outreach, lead nurturing, and targeting, smaller organizations can expect greater returns over the long run.

3. Streamlining digital account opening. Providing convenient, easy-to-use account opening systems will lead to fewer abandonments and more consumers choosing your institutions to do business. Make it quick, personal and secure. Three-quarters of consumers who said digital account opening could be improved, according to Deloitte, were younger than 50 – a highly desirable demographic for community banks and credit unions. Those surveyed said speed and improved cross selling were important to them. Ensure enhanced an onboarding process and take advantage of additional digital marketing capabilities built right in!

4. Capitalizing on the value of strategic partnerships. When creating partnerships, 44% of businesses are seeking new ideas and insights, while 57% are looking to generate additional revenue, according to PowerLinx. Other benefits include going to market faster by leveraging others’ strengths, less capital and other resource investment, access to new customers and markets, added value for existing customers, building brand awareness and trust, and more.

We practice what we preach. Vetter has formed a brand-new partnership to offer our onboarding platform through DCI core processing. DCI clients will have access to our secure, 90-second onboarding platform to help community financial institutions onboard more customers and get them using services faster.

Vetter can verify customer identities and open accounts in 90 seconds. Contact us to see how it works!

5. Maximizing benefits of digital document management and data collection. Inefficient document management systems result in 21.3% productivity loss, according to, so researching and identifying an efficient solutions is a must. Implementing e-signatures alone can reduce turnaround times by approximately 80% and save about $20 per document. That means adding more accounts and fulfilling more loans before your competitors snatch them away, and you’ll save money doing it!

6. Optimizing lead nurturing. Hubspot cited research finding marketers achieve an average 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads. In addition, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost. More than half (57%) find lead nurturing the most valuable tool in marketing automation, according to Venture Harbor.

Regardless of where you focus, customer centricity through advanced data analysis and insights gathered via technology will be at the forefront. It’s a winning combination for 2019 and beyond. I’m looking forward to sharing this wild ride together!

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