According to the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), community banks comprise 99% of all banks, provide roughly 60% of all small business loans, and employ nearly 700,000 people.
With that kind of reach, it's easy to see how your community bank's strategic plan could have an outsized impact on your business and the businesses you serve—especially during times of economic uncertainty. Whatever your goals and objectives for the coming year, the real challenge will be executing them effectively.
Keep reading for industry insights and tips to help carry your strategic plan forward, so you can position your bank for growth in the new year.
Industry Outlook & Strategic Priorities
Deloitte's 2023 banking and capital markets outlook predicts a fragile economy going into 2023, with the potential for a mild recession. To stay competitive, community banks would be wise to identify strategic priorities that enable them to:
- Improve customer service. Deloitte indicates that less than half of executives rate their primary bank's service quality as excellent or very good. Recommendations for improvements include increasing offerings for self-service and providing quality, personalized financial advice.
- Create a frictionless digital experience. Deloitte also advises that beyond improved service offerings, executives want end-to-end digital experiences that make banking easier. They say eliminating friction is now “synonymous with trust and rapport in commercial banking.”
- Adopt scalable solutions. Among their top 10 strategic tech trends for 2023 Gartner predicts more organizations, such as financial institutions, will adopt industry-specific, cloud-based platforms to help create the frictionless digital experience business executives demand.
- Keep investing in digital transformation. Although it might seem counterintuitive to invest in technology during times of economic uncertainty, Jim Marous, co-publisher of The Financial Brand, says “banks and credit unions must prioritize strategies for the greatest return on investment in the shortest period of time.” He advises balancing short- and long-term investment strategies in the coming year.
Connecting Goals & Objectives to Specific Actions
The initial stages of strategic planning involve reaffirming your mission and vision, identifying challenges and risks, then setting goals and objectives that align with your business priorities.
Once you know what you plan to achieve, it's critical to connect each goal and objective to specific actions. Outline not only the steps required to execute every action in your plan but also the departments or key staff responsible for carrying the action forward and measuring or reporting the results.
Because the strategic priorities mentioned above are typically supported by technology solutions, here are actionable steps to help you implement each goal:
- Assess current systems and processes. Identify gaps, silos, redundancies, manual workflows, and opportunities for automation. Determine where to focus your efforts and resources based on the constraints of your timeline and budget.
- Evaluate potential solutions. Research leading technology providers with experience and expertise in developing, implementing, and supporting end-to-end digital solutions and services specifically for financial institutions.
- Compare capabilities. Differentiate technology providers by their expertise in exceeding consumer expectations for digital applications, digital decisioning, and digital loan offers. See how the digital experiences they provide—for consumers and staff—compare to your current processes and to the experiences offered by your closest competitors.
Let Us Help You Take Action
StreetShares®, a MeridianLink® company, powers community banks and credit unions with next-generation technology to serve the full suite of digital business lending needs of small business owners.
Request a demo to see how StreetShares can help you implement strategic priorities in any economic climate.