When One Door Closes, Another Opens
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent widespread lockdowns, consumers have had to rely on digital banking and digital payments services more than ever.
Recently, Ian Macallister, vice president and head of customer success at Early Warning, sat down (virtually) with Payments Journal Editor-in-Chief Ryan McEndarfer to discuss what the digital transformation accelerated by the pandemic has meant for customers, and what financial institutions (FIs) should be doing to best support them. Macallister suggests that FIs need to bank humanely by considering how they are uniquely positioned to help customers through these times.
Enhanced Consumer Support & Education
With 45% of people saying they’ve changed their banking habits since the pandemic began, some customers may need more support from their financial institutions to help them safely navigate this new territory. Financial institutions may want to offer customer support through additional channels, and create new processes that help clarify what can be a complicated process for customers who are new to digital banking—for example, screen-sharing walk-throughs or video tutorials.
It’s also more important than ever to ensure all consumers understand how to protect themselves from financial scams and fraud. Consider offering resources such as those created as part of the Zelle® Pay It Safe campaign, which are designed to help consumers bank safely in the digital age. Early Warning has also partnered with the nonprofit organization Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) to educate older customers on safe digital banking habits through free e-learning classes.
Consider the Small Business Challenges
Small businesses are facing the brunt of the economic downturn and need support from their financial institutions more than ever to weather the storm. This includes giving them a fast, safe, easy, contact-free way to send and receive funds from consumers and other small businesses they know and trust with Zelle®. Some FIs are also taking steps like increasing small businesses’ lines of credit or waiving fees. Macallister also mentioned that Bank of America recently raised its Zelle® transaction limit for small business owners from $5,000 to $15,000, making it easier for them to digitize all their transactions.
Updating Risk Assessment to Reflect the Present Moment
Risk mitigation built for normal times becomes less than reliable in extraordinary times. Traditional underwriting models aren’t fully reflecting the reality of the moment, meaning FIs may want to consider new factors to assess creditworthiness, such as deposit activity and age of account, in order to ensure customers have the right opportunities to access credit.
When it comes down to it, FIs must recognize today’s digital transformation of banking for what it is: an opportunity to support their customers through a disruptive period. They must be cognizant of what they can uniquely do to help their customers in these difficult times, without sacrificing on mitigating risk. Ultimately, financial institutions should aim to make their customers’ transitions smooth and successful, and to help them feel secure and supported.
For more, click through to read the full article and watch the video interview from Payments Journal.
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