Connecting Digitally to Your Customers While Social Distancing

Posted by Kevin Fleetwood

The materials available in this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your own advisors with questions regarding the content herein. The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of MeridianLink, Inc.

First, we hope that you, your loved ones, friends, and colleagues are healthy.

Our thoughts go out to those who are sick, and we wish them a full recovery. From our hearts, we thank the devoted healthcare and essential services workers. They are truly an inspiration to us all.

For the past three weeks, all MeridianLink employees have been working remotely from their home offices and will continue to do so until officials say that it is safe for us to return to the office. All of us continue to be laser-focused on your success while working through digital channels to do so.

Forming human connections with customers/members/clients has never been more important. But, with current global health concerns and travel constraints, building these relationships is just not possible to do in person.

Change for the Better

Consider the following: Digital came out stronger after each of the past severe downturns, for example in 2001 or 2008. And if statistics from Asia and Europe are any indicators as they begin their slow recovery from COVID-19, digitalization is totally changing major industries permanently, especially financial institutions.

According to the South China Morning Post, people are shifting to digital channels instead of lining up at physical branches. Lenders have closed about 20-30% of their 1300 citywide branches. Electronic payments are showing significant gains with triple the volume since the system was adopted in September 2018. In Britain, Spain, France and Germany, banks are encouraging their own customers to go online and are hoping that increased use of digital banking will limit the disruption caused by restricted bank services.

And once customers are familiar with how technology works and are not fearful of security breaches or ease-of-use issues, they have a tendency to use those digital financial options more and more, even those who refused to consider any other banking form other than going into a branch.

According to a March 19, 2020, article in American Banker, bankers in the U.S. are reporting that digital usage is rising alongside the proliferation of the virus. In some cases, it is surging. Even before COVID-19, bank branch count had declined by more than 1500 over the 12 months that ended February 29, 2020. Now banks are encouraging customers to use mobile and online services. Some are declaring that their digital operations account for more than a third of new account openings, up from 10% a year earlier.

Too Late?

The pandemic is shining a spotlight on banks and credit unions who have embraced digital banking; digital transformation and advanced analytics. They are reaping the benefits of their advanced and innovative customer experience as branches have closed and lobbies remain empty. The question is can those FIs who have lagged behind catch up? And if so, how quickly?

Many financial institutions have been caught off guard or with digital technology that doesn’t provide the features and functionality that their customers expect. With many customers and potential customers looking to open accounts online to secure their funds during this crisis or shopping for relief loans or a credit card to help them through hard times, a current digital presence is not only necessary but mandatory. No one wants to try and secure a loan by sending paperwork work back and forth from a drive though pneumatic tube. (You laugh, but it is happening.)

Fast-Track Option

MeridianLink clients have access to the financial industry’s best-in-class, powerful and flexible online portals to boost their digital lending and account opening presence immediately. Application Portal works with both LoansPQ and XpressAccounts to provide credit unions and banking customers with the best in digital experiences from their smartphone, tablet or laptops (especially when they are working from a home office.)  In fact many clients agree that the features and functionality have simplified the consumer process for both loans and deposits.

Whether you are not familiar with MeridianLink, not yet a client, or a client using outdated digital technology in your online strategy and want to learn more about Application Portal, download our datasheet

We are currently trying to fast-track new Application Portal requests to help our clients succeed during this ‘new normal’ and beyond.  If you are an existing client, contact your Partner Success Manager or salessupport@meridianlink.com to see if you can qualify to be up and running in less than 30 days.

And don’t miss our pandemic webinar series: How MeridianLink Can Help:

This time reminds us all how valuable and fragile our world is. This period calls upon us, to be our best selves with care and compassion. We are all connected (whether it be digitally or six-feet apart), and we will all come out stronger together.

Topics: social distancing

Written by Kevin Fleetwood

Marketing Director, MeridianLink

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