In a response to the Wall Street Journal's recent article "The Problem for Small-Town Banks: People Want High-Tech Services," Forbes writer Ron Shevlin argues that the primary cause of struggling community banks' struggles is geography rather than technology. "Being located in, and serving, an economically struggling community could bring any bank down," he writes.
"The bigger challenge facing community banks is that technology has made it easy to move money, rendering geography meaningless," he continues. "The traditional definition of 'community' was a geographic construct, referring to a town, a county, or some other geographic region. That's how community banks think of it. But that's not how many people think of 'community' today. Thanks to technology, and social media in particular, a 'community' consists of people with similar interests, views, hobbies, etc.—regardless of where they live."
Shevlin cites Wausau-based River Valley Bank's digital bank offering, IncredibleBank, as an example of community banks responding to this shift.