Valley Bank on the Hybrid Banking Sweet Spot

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NCR - Digital-First Banking Tracker - May 2022 - Find out how consumers are looking to combine digital and in-person FI services to manage their financial well-being

A wave of research has laid bare the new reality for financial institutions (FIs) that their customers won’t hesitate to switch to a competitor that can provide faster and more flexible, secure and frictionless digital payment tools and lower transaction and maintenance fees. A surprisingly large number of clients, however, are more than willing to leave the door open to seek personalized advice and guidance in-branch, in-person and for their more complex transactions, especially younger clients who are just getting started in their business. financial journey.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Stuart Cook, Product Manager of Valley Bankoffered insight into how the pandemic-driven acceleration of online and mobile banking has subtly ebbed in favor of a hybrid of digital and face-to-face interaction, setting customers on a path to well- being and financial security.

“It forces us to think about what this new mix is,” Cook said. “Young customers are mobile first and want to use these channels first. But when you talk about people’s financial journeys – especially in more complex transactions such as buying a home or planning for retirement or to have kids – that’s where we see how much people appreciate the human interaction, and our customers go back to the physical branches for you to get it.”

Become ‘phygital’

This deceleration from the digital landscape that dominated pandemic banks to one that now favors a mix of physical and digital offerings – a shift to “phygital” – is being driven by younger customers. Customers over 35 are more likely to exclusively use digital banking tools than their millennial and Gen Z counterparts.

Cook attributes young customers’ desire for an FI that can provide a combination of digital tools to facilitate and accelerate transactions with personalized, one-on-one advice to the simple fact that this group is just beginning their financial wellness journey and needs more human advice. .

“The fact that our customers know they can walk into a branch and speak to a financial advisor who can physically sit down with them and walk them through the end-to-end transactional process regarding a complex process like buying of a home — which involves mortgages and property taxes and getting a home loan — is a big part of why they choose to do business with us,” Cook said.

Creation of the hybrid sauce

For Cook, setting customers up for success means offering a combination of “must-have” digital payment technologies to deliver transactional speed and convenience and the personalized, cross-desk advice customers want, enabling the FI to become the financial wellness partner of clients. need.

“We are always striving to innovate across platforms such as mobile and online to become more data-driven to track our customers across various digital touchpoints and to ensure that we are maximizing efficiency to better facilitate transactions so we can be much more relational with them,” Cook says. “As a result, our product development processes are now very different from what traditional banks used to be.”

The FIs that will not only survive but thrive are those that can forge long-term relationships with their customers by offering cutting-edge mobile and online digital payment technologies while integrating the human touch as part of a holistic experience focused on the customer.

“We’re not keen on asking, ‘How can we digitize the whole customer relationship?’” Cood said. “It’s about knowing your customers, building trust and give them the right advice to help them achieve their ambitions. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and other digital tools are important, but ultimately it’s about fostering a relationship that brings you closer of the customer and to create a more responsive engine not only to their current needs, but also to their unmet needs as well.That is our raison d’être: relationships.

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