Happy New Year! We’ve waited all year to say that! It seems to take on a whole new meaning now, doesn’t it? It’s a deeper meaning of hope, starting fresh, and getting back to some level of our “normal” ways of living. 2020 was challenging in many ways to say the least, but it can serve as an opportunity for us to reflect on what we learned. For those of us in the banking industry, we’ve learned to stretch our creativity to find safe ways to service our customers while also protecting our employees. So, what did 2020 teach us?
The importance of a variety of delivery channels
Given the restrictions of the pandemic and to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, we had to pivot. Maybe you saw your banker from a far via the drive-up window, but, for many, digital banking was the solution. While banks have been moving toward digital delivery channels since 1990, today, these channels are user-friendly and robust. Through online and mobile banking, you can easily and quickly open an account, manage your money, deposit a check, access free budget tools and even cancel or lock your debit card if it is lost.
Our data shows that customers appreciate these robust features as we’ve seen a 22% increase in accounts opened digitally. Since the start of the pandemic, 50% of consumer clients and 70% of business clients have changed the way they interact with us and now utilize digital banking. On average, 70% of those who responded indicated they will continue to do their banking in this manner. This data tells us that customers prefer to do banking on their terms and appreciate the ability to bank anywhere at any time.
We listened and will continue to provide exceptional service no matter what delivery channel. Serving our customers when and where they want to do business in a safe manner is our priority.
Human interaction is still valuable
While the digital delivery channels are appreciated by clients, we also saw that human interaction is highly valued. Since the start of the year, we saw usage of our secure chat feature, which allows you to talk with our customer support team online, increase by 44%. Human interaction, whether in-person or virtual is an integral part of our business. Having an open dialogue allows us to answer questions, help find solutions to challenges and uncover ways to help our customers achieve their goals. It is our honor to have the opportunity to assist with people’s financial dreams and oftentimes having a conversation is the best way to do that.
Beware of frauds or scams
Whether you interact with your bank digitally or in-person, please remember to be safe with your information. Guard your identity. It’s yours to own. Remember, your bank will never ask for your password or personal information such as your social security number. There are many scams out there, anything from fake tech support to fake family emergencies. Use caution! Be on the lookout for emails, calls and texts that ask you to provide information – fraudsters can even make it appear those are coming from people or businesses you know. Also look for spelling and grammar errors. These are some easy signs to spot that the message may be fake, we have more tips in our Top Scams and How To Avoid Them guide. If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. Don’t be afraid to contact your bank directly if you receive an email, text or phone call that seems suspicious.
What we learned
We learned that some things don’t change – the core basics of banking: caring for our customers and providing value to help them meet their financial goals is important no matter what the delivery channel. We are still in the people business no matter how you choose to connect with us. As we start 2021, we look forward to the potential for more face-to-face interactions, but are confident that we have the digital banking tools to meet our customers’ needs.
Univest Bank and Trust Co. is Member FDIC