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Banking post-COVID-19: More reliance on digital

COVID-19 is making it clear, perhaps now more than ever, that it is important for financial institutions of all sizes to strengthen their arsenal of digital solutions as their clients’ digital behaviors and expectations are going to change. If they don’t, they themselves are at risk of becoming a casualty.

Here is what we can learn from the impact of the coronavirus to date, and potentially what is to come:

Needing more than your current offerings

Core banking technology is the backbone of financial institutions. Up until a few years ago, a majority of everything was done from a basic standpoint with interpersonal interactions as well as physical documents. With everything going digital, banks need to keep up.

Easier said than done for a community bank or credit union that does not necessarily have the budget to allow a new core solution that better meets their needs. On top of that, for institutions looking to do the switch now, they have limitations on deadlines from the cores because of the change of business and procedures from the virus.

Community financial institutions need innovative digital banking solutions that sit on top of the core, but also quickly and cost-efficiently add services that better meet the needs of their customers and make their offerings similar to what mega banks can provide.

In short, if they don’t already have it, they need it now.

Digital need to accelerate

As everyone is still trying to navigate this “new normal,” it may seem like banking may slow down. However, it is the exact opposite. Banking as we know it will continue to rise and evolve to meet the new demands of customers and business banking customers.

Digital offerings are on high demand. Bills and payroll still need to be paid, money still needs to move and debit and credit cards still need to be utilized.

With many people mainly doing things online and avoiding cash for both sanitary reasons as well as convenience, they need virtual cards for contactless payments. Even in the case of their cards expiring or the need for a new card due to fraud, shipments are slowing down, which is leading to a rise of virtual cards.

Banking in the customer’s hands

Many challenger banks are showing that smartphones can also be your personal bank. For banks that offer state-of-the-art technology, a smartphone essentially becomes a bank in the customer’s hands.

Customers are given the opportunity to bank in a way that best suits their needs. No longer are banking apps are limited to just checking balances and remote deposits. They have become a fully functioning, pocket-size financial institution.

Simultaneously, this level of technology helps financial institutions keep their businesses running smoothly at all times, with the customer being able to decide their level of interaction with a physical bank and branch if needed. Basically, the financial institutions are putting some back-office operations in the hands of their clients and reducing de facto noncritical operations.

Especially in times like this where there are rapid changes, putting the customer in control of their banking needs is what helps both sides complete their transactional needs.

Carrying on as normally as possible

In these times of fear, it is essential that banking customers feel their money is accessible and taken care of. Some may feel the need to change banking relationships if there are not offerings that coincide with current restrictions.

In order to maintain and reassure current customers, it is vital that adaptable technology is available to them that allows for quick and easy access as well as offerings they can manage on their own that conduct business as usual. Now more than ever, there is need for more to your core.

Arcady Lapiro is founder and CEO of Agora Services, a provider of digital platform banking solutions.

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