Digital banking tools are great, but they can’t replace a good relationship

Banking continues to change as advancements in technology lead to the development of new banking services. The convenience and accessibility delivered through these newly developed, technology-based services are influencing the expectations businesses have for the way banking is conducted.

“Businesses want access to funds and their account information the moment they need it,” says Kurt Kappa, chief lending officer at First Federal Lakewood. “Mobile banking, remote check capture and other digital services mean convenience and easy access. But when they have questions, they want the personal touch they get from a banking partner. To be successful, banks have to balance having the technology businesses want with the personalized, human touch they need.”

Smart Business spoke with Kappa about the value of a banking relationship in an increasingly digital banking world.

Why does it matter where a business banks when banking tools and account access are available 24/7?
Even though online banking tools are available at almost all banks, there are still many reasons to have a more personal relationship with a bank. The combination of digital tools to help a business be more efficient in their banking and a personal banker to address issues that are unique to the business is one of the key benefits of working with a community bank partner.

Technology is great, but it cannot solve an issue like an incorrect deposit amount or answer questions on a loan status. That is where the relationship with the bank and banker is vital, being able to speak to someone knowledgeable who can quickly resolve the problem or answer questions. Having a banker as part of the business’s financial team is the complement to the technology that keeps a business running smoothly.

What is the importance of maintaining a relationship with a bank if most banking can be done without interacting with a bank representative?
Technology-driven products are just a part of the day-to-day services banks offer. Establishing a personal relationship with a bank and a banker means having a partner to help address issues that businesses face and successfully manage their financial needs. Having a strong banking relationship can help companies looking to expand into a new market, buy another business, establish a line of credit and more.

How can a business ensure it’s able to do its banking when it needs to while also maintaining a relationship with its banking partner?
Each tool banks offer are all pieces of a puzzle. The goal should be to make sure that the pieces of the puzzle fit together in a way that works for both the business and the owner of the business. The pace of change in the banking industry will continue to be a constant as the industry looks to leverage technology to provide convenient and time-saving tools for businesses. But, just having the latest banking app isn’t going to solve every problem or address every issue that a business faces. Businesses also need a partner who can advise them as their needs change and obstacles are encountered.

That requires having a more personal understanding of the business in order to address its unique issues and help it thrive and grow.

It’s helpful to be able to talk with someone and get advice from a banking partner who has the business’s best interests in mind. Of course, it’s also important to save time and money by completing transactions any time of the day, any day of the week, right from the office or anywhere else through online and mobile banking.

Finding a bank that can offer a balance between time-saving tools and personalized service and advice is the best way to go.

Insights Banking & Finance is brought to you by First Federal Lakewood