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Banks Turn to Tech to Keep the Human Touch in SMB Digital Banking


The digital transformation has been challenging for all businesses in the last two years of the pandemic, but perhaps none have been harder hit than small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Approximately three-quarters of small businesses suffered losses in revenue, profit margins and sales due to the pandemic, and more than half have had to update their business models overnight to survive the crisis.

This digital shift is forcing commercial financial institutions (FIs) to pivot just as quickly to meet clients’ changing needs. SMBs are demanding greater personalization to meet them where they are in their digital journeys and are leaning on their banks more than ever to become not just trusted financial providers, but strategic business partners. Banks that fail to deliver could miss key revenue opportunities.

In the March/April edition of the Digital-First Banking Tracker®, PYMNTS explores what businesses today, particularly SMBs, want and expect from their FIs to remain satisfied and loyal. Faster, seamless digital banking experiences are must-haves, but banks will also need a clear understanding of customers’ businesses and goals to ensure that their corporate clients feel valued and heard.

Around the Digital-First Banking Space

Closures of United States retail bank branches in 2021 beat 2020’s record to reach a new high, according to a recent report. The report found that U.S. banks closed 2,927 branches in 2021, an increase of 38% from 2020 when 2,126 branches closed. By comparison, just 1,417 branches closed in 2019.

Meanwhile, 84% of banking customers plan to keep the same level of digital banking after the pandemic subsides. Maintaining solid relationships in a digital environment can be difficult for traditional banks, and a recent study from Deloitte revealed that banks often struggle to deliver high-quality digital experiences because they lack a customer-centric strategy.

For more on these stories, visit the Tracker’s News and Trends section.

Canvas Credit Union on Keeping the Human Touch in Digital Banking for SMBs

Technology will continue to produce vital digital tools to help bankers make small business owners’ lives easier. Community FIs need not forget their roots in personalized banking; instead, they can leverage those roots by delivering seamless digital experiences while continuing to be the trusted advisers that their communities need.

In this month’s Feature Story, Frank Robinson, business sales and service manager for Canvas Credit Union, discusses how banks can use digital banking technology to make global financial services seamless and convenient for their small business customers while still maintaining the human touch expected from a local community bank.

PYMNTS Intelligence: The Imperative to Improve Digital Banking for Business Clients

SMBs have had to endure digital transformation faster than expected as customers change to digital channels to do business — and they expect their FIs to employ fully-integrated digital platforms to support all facets of their businesses, including banking. Roughly 19% of businesses said they were highly satisfied with their providers’ current digital experiences. One report predicts that competition from FinTechs will cause 36% of SMBs to switch their financial providers at some point if that doesn’t improve.

This month’s PYMNTS Intelligence looks at what businesses expect from their FIs and outlines steps FIs can take to improve the services they provide their corporate clients during their digital transformations.

About the Tracker

The Digital-First Banking Tracker®, a PYMNTS and NCR collaboration, examines the latest trends and developments shaping digital-first banking and what businesses want and expect from their FIs as the space continues to evolve.

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