The COVID-19 pandemic has forced banks and credit unions to think on their feet. Specifically, many financial institutions have sought ways to continue serving customer needs, all while limiting the hours of physical branches and allowing their team members to work from home. Digital banking technology has been one of the primary ways of accomplishing this. And that is why the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on banking will be discussed in details in MeridianLink Virtual Forum this June 9-10.
In this post, we'll explore these trends, and also provide some technology recommendations. Learn more about the ways in which COVID-19 has changed, and will continue to change, the world of digital banking.
COVID-19 Pandemic and the Future of Digital Banking
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the financial services sector, which might be putting it mildly. Banks and credit unions have faced unprecedented challenges, and they’ve been forced to innovate new ways of serving their customers and members.
And even in the push to “re-open” the economy and resume some semblance of normalcy, a lot of financial institutions are planning on many of these digital changes becoming permanent.
Case in point: The rise of digital banking. With many banks and credit unions forced to close their lobbies and limit access to physical branches, they’ve encouraged customers and members to use apps, instead. Digital lending and online account opening software have helped financial institutions serve consumers even in the midst of a pandemic, and in many locations, digital banking has really taken hold; a lot of banks and credit unions have seen their digital banking volumes jump considerably.
So now, the challenge is determining how to make these changes to consumer behavior more permanent.
Digital Banking: Advantages and Struggles
The big push for digital lending and digital banking services has not been without its roadblocks.
Many consumers, especially those in older demographics, have been a little bit wary of entrusting their banking needs to websites and apps. And even many younger consumers have been unaware of just how much they can do without visiting a physical branch.
The banks and credit unions that have fared the best are the ones that have emphasized communication, staying in close connection with their customers and their members via social media and email newsletters. Through these channels, many institutions have been successful in communicating just how robust and trustworthy digital banking can be.
The other problem has been scaling up the technology. While digital lending, loan origination systems, and online account opening software are nothing new, a lot of institutions have been behind the curve in adopting them. In order to ensure a rapid response to COVID-19, and to ease the disruption felt by consumers, these institutions have had to beef up their technology portfolio pretty quickly.
Despite these hardships, there have also been some real benefits to digital banking. The most obvious has been convenience. In an era where many of us are trying to limit exposure to the outside world, digital banking has allowed consumers to attend to all their financial needs, even as it’s helped banks grow their volumes.
For young people who are already keener on mobile banking as opposed to visiting brick-and-mortar locations, the shift toward digital banking has been especially welcome.
For financial institutions, the embrace of digital banking has proven its value, starting with basic flexibility. Banks and credit unions have been able to serve consumers beyond their regular hours of operation. And, they have been able to let employees stay safe at home, doing their jobs without as much need to visit the workplace.
Ultimately, digital banking technology has enabled banks and credit unions to provide a full spectrum of services, including basic account opening but also auto loans, small business loans, and beyond.
Opportunities for Financial Institutions
Now the question is, how can digital banking practices become more than just pandemic-era concessions? How can they become the new normal, in a way that benefits both the institution and the consumer?
Many credit union leaders have expressed a desire for their members to rely on mobile banking options, particularly for mundane matters like check depositing, which really doesn’t require any kind of consultation. The idea is that credit union employees can have more time to focus on consultative work, and also keep a healthy sense of balance regarding traffic in physical branches. Bankers have expressed similar desires.
Indeed, one of the hidden advantages of digital banking technology is that it’s helped bank and credit union teams to develop more productive and streamlined workflows, something that’s possible with the adoption of advanced digital lending and online account opening software.
The bottom line: The pandemic has uncovered some surprising opportunities for financial institutions to work more productively and to better address the needs of their consumers… so how can these short-term solutions become long-term realities?
Communication will continue to be paramount. Banks and credit unions will need to regularly remind their customers and their members of just how much is possible via online banking.
Additionally, an investment in a robust technology portfolio will be essential. Here, MeridianLink offers many useful digital solutions. Some examples include:
- LoansPQ. MeridianLink’s flagship product, a loan origination system that serves the needs of consumers and small business owners alike.
- LendingQB. MeridianLink’s mortgage origination platform will make it easy for your team to grow its mortgage volume, all while serving consumers in a safe, efficient manner.
- XPressAccounts. MeridianLink’s online account opening software, you’ll be able to acquire and onboard members and customers without requiring them to visit a physical branch location.
- XPressCollect. MeridianLink’s collection software, making it easy for banks and credit unions to manage the collections process and respond to the growing number of delinquencies in the COVID-19 era.
- Application Portal. MeridianLink’s mobile-first online application portal provides a single mobile and online customer-engagement connection for new loans and account opening, making multi-channel digital banking a reality for any financial institution.
In recent weeks, it is very possible that your bank or credit union has taken extraordinary measures to serve your customers and your members. If you would like for some of those measures to be more permanent, a good place to start is with ramping up your technology portfolio. Connect with MeridianLink to see how digital banking is within reach.
Attend our Virtual Forum on June 9th-10 to learn more about the pandemic impact on digital banking along with many other reasons to attend our virtual forum on June 9-10.