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Helping young adults establish credit

By Tammy Tongusi

Financial institutions tend to overlook teens becoming adults, especially when it comes to providing education. Young adults will need to become financially independent, notably to prepare for purchasing a car or buying their first home. In today’s world, young adults plan for their future very differently than thirty years ago. I do not recall hearing from my parents or educators, “You should start thinking about building your credit.” As bankers, we help to start that process by giving our customers the tools they need to reach their financial goals. We know the credit scoring system creditors use to help determine your credit score. This will have an impact on many transactions going forward from whether or not a loan will be approved to the interest rate that will be paid and even the cost of car insurance.

Forte Bank offers a Teens with Green Club account that is designed for 13–17 year olds, and most of them are eager to get a checking account with a debit card. The teenage years are a great time to start the conversation and get them thinking. Many people do not realize that students and other young adults can establish credit through their parents’ credit if their credit card allows authorized users to be added. These card companies report to all three credit bureaus, so credit scores can start to build.

Financial classes for students and young adults, held in schools or at the bank branch, give them the tools needed to establish credit for future purchases and how to budget money to make them financially responsible. By promoting financial awareness, they can start taking steps to be on the path to a brighter future.

A “secured” credit card is a great starting point for customers with no credit or very low credit scores and is an excellent way to start building a credit history. The Forte Bank program requires account holders to have a separate deposit account with the bank and a balance of funds to hold as collateral. This deposit, which must be placed for at least 12 months, will establish the credit limit as a minimum of $250.00 and with no maximum. This will allow them to start understanding how to properly use a credit card. Stressing how important it is to make monthly payments on time and not maxing out the credit card every month is crucial for a young adult building their credit score. We generally recommend using credit cards for minimal purchases two to three times a month.

After they have received their secured card, they should take some time before they start applying for other credit cards. Having a credit use history will help in both building a credit score and gaining access to other lines of credit.

Another way to consider establishing credit is to explore the options of having a joint credit with a co-signer. This can be especially useful with an automobile purchase. Many banks will offer a reduced rate if customers sign up for automatic payments. Additionally, it will ensure their payments will be on time.

Forte Bank is very active in finding ways to ensure that future generations are responsible users of credit. Taking an active role at the start of their credit journey is a great way to help teens and young adults establish a solid credit score and understand how these products can be used to help them on their financial journey throughout life.

Tongusi is assistant vice president – retail banker and consumer lender at Forte Bank, Hartford and a member of the 2021–2022 WBA Marketing Committee.

Tips for creating more visually captivating photographs with just a cell phone

By Daniel Rivera

Once upon a time, all a business needed to grab a consumer’s attention was a catchy tagline. In today’s world, media channels are constantly evolving, and battling brands are always looking for ways to make their content stand out over the competition. Your social media posts reflect your bank’s brand and for your brand to stand out, your posts must do the same. We all know (at least we should know) that a social media post cannot rely solely on witty text to draw the attention of anyone scrolling through. At the same time though, just posting any photo will not do the trick either.

Despite what you may believe, you don’t need a fancy professional camera to take stellar photos. Most of the time, your smart phone will do the trick. Here are some simple tips for creating more visually captivating photographs with just your cell phone:

Look for the Light:

The first step to taking a great photo is to find the best light source and to adjust your shot accordingly. You want to make sure that your subject is well-lit while also not having them stare directly into the sun. Sometimes your options are limited, and your phone will adjust accordingly. However, if your phone is automatically setting the exposure too low, tap the screen on the area that is appearing too dark as you’re setting up your shot, and your phone will adjust the overall exposure to compensate for that part of the image.

Tell the Story:

Getting a great group photo isn’t just about gathering everyone for a quick picture. You’ll want to incorporate some elements into the frame that help tell the story. If you are raising money for breast cancer awareness, make sure everyone is wearing pink. If you’re sponsoring a concert in the community, be sure to show the musicians on stage by your bank’s banner. And if your bank is taking part in the town’s parade, show off the colorful float as well as anyone walking by it, ready with goodies to throw out to the crowd.

Make ’em Smile:

Happy people want to work with happy people. So, regardless of whether you’re trying to attract new customers or new employees, make sure those in your photos are showing you their best smiling faces.

Enhance Your Photos:

Sometimes, you can get a great-looking shot straight out of the camera that needs no additional work — but many times — your photo could use a little enhancing. Adjusting the brightness, contrast, color saturation, and crop of your photo are all you need to make your photo pop. You don’t even need to purchase a software subscription to make these simple edits either. Adobe has free mobile versions of their Photoshop and Lightroom programs, while Snapseed and PicMonkey are also great photo-editing options worth looking into, all available for Android and iOS devices.

Media and its impact on consumers is constantly evolving. So, now that you’re ready to take your smartphone photography to a whole new level, just imagine what you can do with your bank’s brand once you’ve taken it a step further with video!

Rivera is marketing coordinator at The Bank of New Glarus and a member of the 2021–2022 WBA Marketing Committee.

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Join Us for the WBA LEAD360 Conference on November 16-17 in Wisconsin Dells!

By Hannah Flanders

When Josh Mabus founded Mabus Agency in 2008, customer relationships with banks had already begun evolving. What started as general services creative agency soon morphed into a bank-focused marketing agency with a mission to both help people and raise the creative bar. Mabus and his team have reimagined marketing with banks and their customers in mind.

This year at the Wisconsin Bankers Association’s LEAD360 Conference, Mabus will be hosting a session that will assist banks in creating strong customer relationships through branding.

“Attendees will gain new perspectives in how an overarching brand can affect all areas of a customer’s life. I’ll share Mabus Agency’s unique perspective of the five key components of bank marketing, and how they work together to build effective and efficient strategies,” said Mabus.

LEAD360 is an annual conference that gathers retail bankers, sales/marketing bankers, and financial literacy bankers from across Wisconsin for two days of comprehensive breakout sessions and networking among peers.

“I love the focused learning that comes from smaller groups like these,” said Mabus. “Not only is it easier to communicate to smaller groups, but everyone in the room has similar experiences marketing to shared customers.”

If you are interested in learning more, make sure you’re registered for LEAD360 in Wisconsin Dells November 16–17. For more details on Josh’s LEAD360 session and the full agenda, visit the event page.

When it comes to products, consumers don’t crave complexity.

When I ask my toddler what he wants for lunch, the answer isn’t complicated. Two pieces of white bread and a Kraft single and his grilled cheese lunch dreams are a reality. 

Why is it that this easy sandwich equation makes so much sense? Simply put: my toddler doesn’t crave complexity. And when it comes to craving products, consumers don’t either. 

According to branding agency Siegel+Gale, “simple is smart.” In their 2019 Simplicity Index, Siegel+Gale reviewed more than 800 global brands —  evaluating and ranking them on how simple or complex their products are perceived to be by 15,000 consumers.

The Simplicity Index touts that simple isn’t just a branding strategy. Simplicity pays. Of the consumers surveyed, 55% said they’d be willing to pay more for a simpler brand experience. And 64% of consumers said they’d be more likely to recommend a brand if it provided a simpler experience and communication.

So what were the simplest brands in the United States? Lyft came in at #1. Spotify, Amazon, Costco, and Subway round out the top five. Globally, the top three brands were Netflix, ALDI, and Google. 

What do these brands have in common? They excel at four key strategies:

  • empowering consumers to take control of their experience;
  •  reimagining complicated buying experiences to be practical and enjoyable;
  • understanding pain points and removing the pain (or at least, making them less painful); and 
  •  saving time.

Consider Netflix. As one consumer pointed out, “Netflix has a few simple plans for every kind of user with more content every year.” Netflix gives users control of a new experience and saves time by recommending new content based on previously viewed content. 

Can you get a simpler shopping experience than ALDI? Each ALDI store is laid out in a similar way, so you know where most products will be located before you even get inside. There are no frills, no fuss, and no excess in the ALDI experience.

Simplicity doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a calculated approach that requires companies to know who they are, and who they are not. Community banks often try to be everything to everyone. And consumers are learning that they can find better (simpler) banking experiences elsewhere. No longer are our only competitors the bank down the street or the national “big banks.” Rocket Mortgage, Chime, PayPal — these are our new competitors who promise a simpler experience.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you know your bank’s brand promise? Are you consistently delivering on that promise? 
  •  Do your customers identify with that promise? (If you asked them what your brand promise is, would it match what YOU think it is?)
  • Is it easy to bank with you? Are your accounts easy to navigate and financial tools easy to use?
  • Are you regularly considering pain points for customers and how to remove them?

Choosing simple takes work. But by removing complexity, we can give our customers the clarity they need to make decisions, and over time, increase customer loyalty by delivering a simpler customer experience.

Bruins is the new media marketing officer at Horicon Bank and a member of the 2021-2022 WBA Marketing Committee.

This column is published bi-monthly in Wisconsin Banker and is written by members of the WBA Marketing Committee.

By, Cassie Krause

Q: May a Person Use the Name, Logo, or Symbol of a Bank in Marketing Material?

A: Not if it is deceptive. More specifically, Wis. Stat. section 221.0404 provides, in summary, that no person may use the name, logo, or symbol of a bank, or such that is deceptively similar to that of a bank, in any marketing material provided to another person in a manner that a reasonable person may believe that the marketing material originated from the bank.

WBA is aware that potentially deceptive letters have recently circulated. Such letters often take the form of mortgage relief offers, solicited by individuals unassociated with the bank. Similar letters have also been seen by Paycheck Protection Program participants. Depending on the nature of these letters, they may violate section 221.0404. The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has enforcement authority over this section, including the ability to issue cease and desist orders, and penalties. Banks that encounter such letters are encouraged to contact WBA, and DFI.

Note that to be a violation, the letter must be deceptive, meaning that a reasonable person reading the letter could believe it originated from the bank. A letter is not a violation if a reasonable person should recognize that it did not originate from the bank. This includes letters which display a disclaimer, such as to indicate that the sender is not affiliated with the bank. WBA has also spoken with DFI recently and learned that a letter might be deceptive based upon its envelope. Specifically, envelopes with a “window,” which reveals a portion of the letter including bank’s name. Even if there is a disclaimer in the letter inside, if it’s not visible on the envelope or through the “window,” it could be considered deceptive.

Even if a letter is not deceptive, banks might hear complaints from their customers. In such situations, banks might consider discussing with its customers how and when it will issue correspondence. This way, customers can easily identify what originates from the bank. Additionally, banks might consider discussing this matter with its customers at time of loan closing so they can be better prepared to identify these letters as not originating from the bank.

If you have any questions on this topic or other matters of compliance, contact WBA’s legal call program at 608-441-1200 or wbalegal@wisbank.com.

Birrenkott is WBA assistant director – legal.

Note: The above information is not intended to provide legal advice; rather, it is intended to provide general information about banking issues. Consult your institution’s attorney for special legal advice or assistance. 

By, Cassie Krause

Q: May a Person Use the Name, Logo, or Symbol of a Bank in Marketing Material?

A: Not if it is deceptive. More specifically, Wis. Stat. section 221.0404 provides, in summary, that no person may use the name, logo, or symbol of a bank, or such that is deceptively similar to that of a bank, in any marketing material provided to another person in a manner that a reasonable person may believe that the marketing material originated from the bank.

WBA is aware that potentially deceptive letters have recently circulated. Such letters often take the form of mortgage relief offers, solicited by individuals unassociated with the bank. Depending on the nature of these letters, they may violate section 221.0404. The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has enforcement authority over this section, including the ability to issue cease and desist orders, and penalties. Banks that encounter such letters are encouraged to contact WBA and DFI.

Note that to be a violation, the letter must be deceptive, meaning that a reasonable person reading the letter could believe it originated from the bank. A letter is not a violation if a reasonable person should recognize that it did not originate from the bank. This includes letters which display a disclaimer, such as to indicate that the sender is not affiliated with the bank.

Even if a letter is not deceptive, banks might hear complaints from their customers. In such situations, banks might consider discussing with its customers how and when it will issue correspondence. This way, customers can easily identify what originates from the bank. Additionally, banks might consider discussing this matter with its customers at time of loan closing so they can be better prepared to identify these letters as not originating from the bank.

Birrenkott is WBA assistant director – legal. For legal questions, please email wbalegal@wisbank.com

Note: The above information is not intended to provide legal advice; rather, it is intended to provide general information about banking issues. Consult your institution’s attorney for special legal advice or assistance. 

By, Alex Paniagua

Nick Brandoch profile
Kristen Talbott profileAll businesses exist for one reason: to serve their customers. Today, we are blessed to be able to communicate with and serve those valuable customers in more ways than ever. The challenge for brands is to be consistent with their messaging and experience across those channels, whether they be in person or through a digital environment. Achieving that goal requires a close connection and ongoing collaboration between retail and marketing, the two main customer touchpoints within our banks. 

We've been working together for the past year and a half, and these are the best practices we've used for successful collaboration. 

  1. Set the vision. Together. People have a more vested interest in goal achievement when they play a role in setting goals. We allocated time together to plan for 2019 as a team. Our initiatives are not retail or marketing initiatives; they are bank-wide goals that are supported by multiple departments. 
  2. Get friendly. Collaboration can't stop after goal setting. Ongoing communication helps us address problems, make continual improvements, and keep goals top of mind. Nicholas joins the regular meeting of our retail leadership to provide marketing updates, take feedback, and ensure lines of communication always remain open. With more time spent in the branch network, Kristen and her team help audit branch merchandising and communicate opportunities to marketing.
  3. United we stand. Once you figure out what you want to accomplish, together, you have additional resources when presenting opportunities to bank leadership. When you've found consensus between retail and marketing, you'll find it substantially easier to find commitment from the top to execute your shared vision. 
  4. Make the tent bigger. When the retail team was facing staffing shortages, marketing developed hiring campaigns to help drive qualified applicants. This led to a new hire starting within the first two weeks. When marketing needed employees to support events, retail recruited front-line employees to be offsite brand ambassadors. They were able to share bank knowledge with potential customers, and now share greater marketing knowledge with fellow employees. Solutions exist beyond department boundaries. Be sure to push the boundaries and ask for help. 
  5. That computer in your pocket makes calls. Really. Don't forget how critical your Call Center is to a great customer experience. Trust can be lost when call center employees are unfamiliar with initiatives or key advertising. Share those campaigns ahead of time so the customer has an omni-channel experience. 
  6. Maximize your sponsorships. In a community bank, sponsorship opportunities arise from the extensive network that our bankers and lenders keep. To maximize these investments, teamwork is required. Retail can help activate marketing sponsorships within the branch, encouraging customer engagement as well as reinforcing our community niche. Conversely, marketing can use its expertise to negotiate and leverage partnerships that originate from the retail team for the greatest impact. 

Harmony can be elusive. Building trust is hard. It takes a concerted effort to keep retail and marketing rowing their oars in the same direction. Occasionally, your boat will take a circuitous route. We believe these best practices can help you arrive at your final destination. 

Talbott is chief retail banking officer for Tri City National Bank and serves on the WBA Marketing Committee. Bandoch is vice president of marketing for Tri City National Bank.

By, Amber Seitz

Bank name changes go beyond charter conversions

What's in a (bank) name? It's branding, but so much more. Competition, growth and expanding markets, local history, M&A, relationship with the community… An inexhaustible list of influences can impact an institution's strategy for its name. Changing names is not a decision made lightly for any business, but when approached strategically it can be an effective way for banks to retain or gain target customers or to deepen its connection with a wider community. 

A bank's motivation to change its name could range from compliance (i.e. a charter conversion), to significant changes in corporate strategy, product/service mix, or the bank's target market, to differentiating or refreshing the bank's current brand, according to John Verre, president and CEO, Leap Strategic Marketing. Regardless of the reason behind the name change, more and more banks are choosing creative, non-traditional names. "What we see reflects banks recognizing the value of a brand and trademark," explained Jason Hunt, attorney at Boardman & Clark, LLP. "Traditionally, many banks picked names reflective of their local geographic community or descriptive of their position in the community, but as they expand they want to have more of a unique trade name or brand." 

Fortifi Bank, formerly known as 1st National Bank of Berlin, is a perfect example. The bank is 142 years old and originally chartered in Berlin, Wis. Over the past two decades, however, it expanded its footprint well beyond its name. "We now reach from Waunakee to Green Bay," said President/CEO Eric Cerbins. "We were being confused with a few other First National Banks within that footprint." The bank rebranded a few years ago in order to differentiate, but the market confusion continued. "It used to be there was just one First National Bank in each community, but as we grew our territories started to overlap," explained SVP – Marketing Loni Meiborg. When the bank decided to convert from a national to a state charter, it also used the opportunity to change its name in order to achieve the market differentiation it was looking for. 

Another bank that recently moved beyond geographic names is Bluff View Bank, formerly Bank of Galesville (as well as Seven Bridges Bank, Holmen and Bank of Trempealeau). "The name change is a larger rebranding of the bank and the result of several years of strategic planning and consultation with our marketing agency," said President/CEO Scott Kopp. "When we first went into new communities we wanted to be part of that community, including the name." However, maintaining separate entities for each community the bank served presented problems. "We found it was difficult to market three different entities with different names and logos," Kopp explained. "It was cumbersome, and some of our customers weren't aware that we were affiliated with our different locations."

4 Steps to a New Name

While changing a bank's name is not a small undertaking, there are several steps you can take to make the transition smoother. 

1. Generate a list of possible names. First, make sure you understand the regulatory constraints on your name. "DFI's Division of Banking interprets Wisconsin law to require a state-chartered Wisconsin bank to include the word 'bank' in its name," explained Patrick Neuman, attorney at Boardman & Clark, LLP. It's also important to keep in mind how important differentiation is to your institution when you begin brainstorming. "Most banks want to use words that reflect their values, but oftentimes banks have similar values," Hunt pointed out. "Banks have to start thinking outside the box." Banks should consider formal research into how its new name or brand can differentiate it from competitors. "Some changes require research involving customers, prospects, and employees," said Verre. "Think of it as a gap analysis. Look at banking in your community and ask what's missing."

The name "Fortifi Bank" began at a facilitated session with 16 bank staff members of different demographics and backgrounds who focused on the bank's present and future identity. From there, they generated a list of 200 different words that the bank's marketing department filtered, combined, and narrowed down. "We got really creative and reviewed everything that was generated," said Meiborg. "We could have stuck with a more traditional name, but we took the opportunity to evaluate our target market and deliver a name that is better aligned." Bluff View Bank used a similar approach, seeking employee opinions very early on. "I asked all of our employees to give us suggestions, and they, along with our marketing agency, really came up with some outstanding names," said Kopp. "We then had to get them vetted and trademarked. We narrowed it down to three, and then had a voting process to get input from employees again." 

2. Conduct an initial screening. As Kopp stated, it is critical to vet the list of potential names before investing any time or money in the new brand or name. "Banks get very far down the road and very excited about a new name before doing an initial screening, and then are disappointed if it's not available," Hunt cautioned. "I highly recommend doing that initial screening first. It's inexpensive to do an initial trademark screening through a law firm and it's better to do it at the beginning than to spend a lot of money creating a new name and brand only to discover a problem down the road." If the bank has plans to expand its market area in the future, Hunt strongly recommends registering the new name with the U.S. Trademark Office. "Assuming the name is available, a U.S. trademark registration will give the bank constructive rights to use that name even in areas where the bank has not yet started doing business or using the name," he explained. "The advantage is, as the bank expands, it can continue to use the name and won't be forced to change."

3. File with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions' Division of Banking. This is the step where the bank formally adopts its new name. "The way a bank changes its name in Wisconsin is to file an amendment to its articles of incorporation," Neuman explained. "That requires a majority vote of the bank's shareholders." Since most Wisconsin banks have a holding company, this requirement is simpler to accomplish than some banks assume, since the holding company board can vote on behalf of its shareholders. Banks also have the option of delaying the effective date of the change up to 90 days, if that fits their rollout strategy better. 

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Of the dozens of action steps involved in launching a renaming/rebranding campaign, the most essential is clear, effective, and timely communication with regulators and vendors, customer/clients, and the community. "Make sure you work with your core data processor to have your new legal name on all of your contracts," Neuman advised. Other important considerations include correspondent debt held at the holding company level and the bank's insurance policies. "A legal name change should not affect the validity of your contracts, but it's still a good idea to let all of your vendors and providers know ahead of time," he continued. "Name changes are mostly a state-driven issue. However, the state-chartered banks do need to file a FRY-10 with the Fed and should notify the FDIC in writing of the name change."

Bluff View Bank and Fortifi were both pleasantly surprised by how positively their customers and clients reacted to their bank's new name. One thing that likely influenced that reaction: both institutions also had board members and/or staff, including loan officers, reach out to clients in advance to notify them of the upcoming name change. If the name change is not the result of a merger, Verre strongly recommends over-communicating that to your customers. "Take the same steps to communicate to customers and employees as you would if it were a merger, so you ensure they know it's not a change in ownership," he said. "Many consumers will assume when you change your name there might be M&A involved, so you need to communicate that it's the same ownership, locations, employees, and products and services." 

The key, according to Meiborg, is to make sure your customers and community know only the bank's name is changing, not its commitment to them. "We work very hard for our communities to know we're part of them," she explained. "Throughout the process it's important to remind the community that you're not changing what you stand for or interrupting your service. You're changing so you can be around longer and stronger to keep serving the community."

Boardman & Clark, LLP is a WBA Gold Associate Member.
Leap Strategic Marketing is a WBA Associate Member.

By, Amber Seitz

Q: Are Certain Drawings, Raffles, and other Promotions Involving Prizes Illegal?

A: Yes. If a promotion meets the definition of a lottery under Wisconsin Statute Section 945.01 it is illegal.

While this law is not new, WBA has recently received many inquiries as to whether a bank can run various types of promotions from a marketing standpoint. WBA recommends working carefully with the bank’s own counsel to determine whether any prize based promotion is legal.

Wisconsin law prohibits illegal lotteries. The three elements of a lottery are a prize, a winner determined at least in part by chance, and consideration. This applies even where only banks employees are participating. The most debated element is that of consideration. Consideration in this context is defined as anything which is a commercial or financial advantage to the promoter. As this term is quite broad, we recommend caution when determining whether to run a promotion. 

Furthermore, Federal law prohibits any arrangement whereby three (3) or more persons advance money or credit to another in exchange for the possibility or expectation that one or more (but not all of the participants) will receive by reason of their advance more than the amounts they have advanced, the identity of the winner being determined by any means—including a random selection, a game/race/contest, or any record or tabulation of a result of one or more events in which any participant has no interest except for its bearing upon the possibility he/she may become a winner.

By, Scott Birrenkott

When it comes to delivery channels, the quantity over quality strategy is ineffective, Gallup research shows. In studies and surveys conducted from 2013-2016, Gallup has found that some banks have focused on aggressively expanding the number of channels they offer their customers without first researching how to choose the channels that best fit their customers and their overall strategic goals. Channel satisfaction is the key to increasing engagement and deepening the bank's relationship with its customers, and the key to channel satisfaction is identifying how and where your customers want to interact with you. 

The list of channel options for product delivery and marketing seems endless—but rather than having 500 channels and nothing good on, a strategic channel approach can effectively engage your audience. When the focus shifts from individual channels to the overall customer experience, it can be easier to identify where to focus. In general, channels can be classified as either traditional or digital and used for product delivery or marketing. Wisconsin Banker interviewed four experts to highlight current popular channels for banks to consider. 

Branches
"Branches are not dead, they're just changing from transaction centers to sales centers," said Mark Arnold, president of On the Mark Strategies. The bank branch is still a key channel because customers still want to know their banker and value the experience they have with the bank—regardless of whether that experience is online or in person, according to Sara Baker, vice president, Ladysmith Federal Savings & Loan. "Customers still demand that high-touch personal service from their community bank," said Baker. "Balancing the digital versus human touch relationships with our customers is key to the future of community banking."

Interactive Teller Machines
"Interactive teller—or video teller—machines are something every bank should study," said Jay Coakley, president of Coakley Strategic Solutions, LLC. "You can reduce delivery cost and provide great customer service, especially in a small community, by utilizing employees in one location to service customers in another location. It's great technology." These machines can help banks maintain strong service relationships even in locations where a full-scale branch is inefficient or prohibitively expensive to operate. 

Core Processors
Banks should consider the delivery channels offered through their core vendor, according to Jim Pannos, president and principal of the Pannos Marketing Agency. "Many of our clients are getting involved with their core processors to get their most recent release because there are so many more capabilities within the newer core processing platforms," he explained. 

Email 
"Don't forget the power of email," said Arnold. "Email is still a great channel to use to deliver products and services. Think about how scalable they are and how they look on mobile." For example, with the growing number of emails viewed on mobile phones, the format needs to be designed to allow readers to scroll through content easily.

Content marketing
In all digital marketing, but email especially, good content is a critical component. "Consumers today really want content and not sales pitches," said Arnold. "It's what you're saying as opposed to how you're saying it." Banks can position themselves as expert advisors by offering useful information to their customers through blogs, their website and emailed newsletters. However, Arnold cautions against too much verbosity: "People are consuming more information than they ever have before, but in smaller bites. Information you send out needs to be digestible," he said. 

Online
Technology that allows customers to access answers when the bank's doors aren't open will become increasingly important, according to Pannos. "Your bank doesn't have to be open 24 hours, but people are focused on accessing at their leisure versus when the bank is open," he said. The convenience of online banking appeals to many customers who previously performed transactions in the branch. "Consumers are not increasing the number of transactions each month," Coakley said of the growth in online and mobile transactions. "They're just interacting with the bank in a way that's more convenient for them."

Mobile
"Mobile has the strongest trend line," said Coakley. "From the studies we've done, mobile banking's trend line is going up at a steep increase while online, in-branch and phone systems are declining." However, it is important that the bank dedicate enough resources to their mobile app to make it both functional and intuitive or many customers will not adopt it as a preferred channel. "Customers expect a bank's mobile app to be vibrant, easy-to-use, and fast," Pannos explained. 

P2P Payments
Person-to-person payment applications like Vimeo are becoming the preferred tool for younger consumers, which makes these types of delivery channels a potential market for banks that choose to target younger customers. "Usage of [these apps] isn't going to shrink," said Pannos. "Banks should be aware of that as they're looking at their technology and how they're going to serve the millennial generation and Gen Z. They're looking to those types of platforms as currency."

Remote Deposit Capture
This service allows customers to deposit checks via their mobile phones by simply snapping a picture of it, and while it's becoming very popular, banks should be cautious. "It's a great service, but it can be costly, especially for smaller banks," said Pannos. Due to the diminishing number of checks being written across the industry, he advises banks to assess the overall market demand and competition for the product, as well as examine their own customer base demographics to ensure the product will assist in the bank's overall customer satisfaction and retention. 

Before Diving In…

So which channel(s) should your bank invest in? There are four main areas to consider when investigating a channel strategy upgrade: your customer base, cost, marketing and training. "It's important for banks to understand their market and their customer base," said Baker, pointing out that customer demands for a bank in metropolitan Milwaukee will be very different from those at a bank in rural northern Wisconsin. "Just because the bank down the street offers a certain product doesn't mean your bank needs to offer that same product. Ask your customers what they want before diving in." Coakley recommends defining not only what the bank's current customers want for delivery channels, but also the preferences of the bank's targeted future customers. "It's about what your current customers want and what your future customers want, and those can be two vastly different answers," he said.

While upgrading or purchasing new delivery channels can be costly, banks need to consider their options from all angles. For example, purchasing new video tellers may reduce branch overhead expenses enough to offset the initial cost. "Investing in new technology and solutions can overall reduce the cost of operations, so this is important to look at too," said Baker. Intentionally migrating your customers to digital channels can also lead to staffing changes. "Long-term reduction in FTEs pays for the new technology," Coakley explained.

Additionally, the bank must plan to market any new channels in order to optimize usage rates. "You may have great products and technology, but if you don't communicate that to your customers and your community, they won't adopt it," said Coakley. A review of the bank's current marketing channel strategies is also essential. "The very first thing every bank needs to do is conduct a marketing audit," said Arnold. "You need to look at each of your channels and how successful they are, then come back with strategic and tactical recommendations for changes." Finally, as with any major operational or product changes, the bank must offer training to its staff. "Banks need to invest in their staff, training them on ways to provide quality customer experiences at all touchpoints," Baker advised. 

Whether your bank has three delivery channels or 30, it's important that your customer experience is consistent across them. "Rather than thinking about just one channel, think about the experience," Arnold advised. So, when a customer visits a branch they experience the same level of service and style of messaging as when they visit your mobile app or website. "That's the challenge that banks face today," said Pannos. "You have to be old-fashioned in some aspects and cutting-edge in others." Because consumer preferences are so capricious, it's essential for banks to constantly reevaluate their channel strategy and adapt to what they learn. "Customers will continue to crave whatever technology is available which offers them convenience and a personal experience," said Baker. "As the technology evolves, banks too need to evolve."

By, Amber Seitz

Events

This primer on cryptocurrency will identify issues that your institution should be ready to address as accountholders’ activities expand. This fact-filled webinar will unpack guidance, risks, and red flags.

After This Webinar You’ll Be Able To:

  • Understand how payment for goods and services has evolved
  • Define common crypto-related terms
  • Identify key players and roles within the cryptocurrency industry
  • Explain how virtual currency is acquired
  • Recognize common cryptocurrency scams
  • Use agency-issued guidance to develop policies and procedures
  • Manage risks when paying with cryptocurrency
  • Discuss recent cryptocurrency fraud cases
  • Detect virtual currency red flags defined by FinCEN and FATF

Webinar Details
Cryptocurrency activities are becoming a widely accepted payment method and investment tool. Does your institution understand basic industry terms, definitions, roles, and risks? Can your employees identify possible cryptocurrency red flags? Have your policies and procedures been updated to reflect this medium of exchange and agency-issued guidance? This webinar will explain common cryptocurrency industry terminology, expound on various roles within the industry, identify potential red flags and risks, and address ways accountholders can acquire and sell cryptocurrency.

As this type of currency continues to evolve, the financial industry is starting to enter this payment world by offering cryptocurrency safekeeping and custodial services. While your institution may not be ready to enter the market at this level, are you prepared to underwrite a loan in which your applicant is receiving cryptocurrency payments or have assets that are predominately held in cryptocurrency? Join us to learn the current regulatory guidance and expectations, as well as lessons learned from recently identified fraud cases.

Who Should Attend?
This informative session is designed for compliance officers, BSA officers, trainers, and all staff that desire to expand their cryptocurrency knowledge.

Take-Away Toolkit

  • Crypto lingo definitions
  • Virtual assets red flag indicators of money laundering and terrorist financing
  • Cryptocurrency resources
  • Employee training log
  • Interactive quiz
  • PDF of slides and speaker’s contact info for follow-up questions
  • Attendance certificate provided to self-report CE credits

NOTE: All materials are subject to copyright. Transmission, retransmission, or republishing of any webinar to other institutions or those not employed by your agency is prohibited. Print materials may be copied for eligible participants only.

Presenter Bio

Molly Stull – Brode Consulting Services, Inc.
Molly Stull began her career as a teller while working on her undergraduate degree and has continued working in the financial industry ever since. She has experienced the growth of a hometown bank, branch mergers, charter changes, name changes, etc. Stull has activated business resumption plans, performed secondary market quality control reviews, processed wires, filed SARs, and coordinated reviews with external auditors and examiners. Her favorite role has always been educating staff and strongly believes that if staff understands the reason for a process they will be more compelled to follow the procedures. Molly holds a bachelor’s from the University of Akron and an MBA from Ashland University.

Registration Options

  • $245 – Live Webinar Access
  • $245 – OnDemand Access + Digital Download
  • $350 – Both Live & On-Demand Access + Digital Download

In today’s hectic business environment, it’s not always easy to keep “the main thing,” well… the main thing. But what if there was a better way to manage your focus and productivity? There is!

After This Webinar You’ll Be Able To:

  • Explore a strategy that allows you to truly prioritize everything on your plate, whether working from home or in the office, so you can easily focus on what really matters – without being overwhelmed
  • Get clarity on how to create an extreme sliver of focus toward goals, projects, and accountholders, so that you make educated decisions about where to apply your efforts for the best results
  • Discover one powerful tool that will have you achieving progress toward what is most important every day
  • Understand what gets in the way of achieving your desired results and what you can do about it
  • Get the goodies! Participants will receive templates to implement everything the speaker shares!

Webinar Details
In this highly interactive program, you’ll discover four steps that increase your clarity around the priorities you make and the actions you take. Learn how to focus on the right opportunities to be productive so you can create more momentum and results — without sacrificing what is most important to you in the process.

Who Should Attend?
This highly-actionable session is perfect for any professional who is tired of feeling swamped and feels they have no control over their time — no matter what level of the organization they serve.

Take-Away Toolkit

  • The Way Forward to What Matters Most
  • The Way Forward to Your Ideal Week
  • The Way Forward to MORE Time worksheet
  • Get Results Now tracking worksheet for creating better time habits
  • Employee training log
  • Interactive quiz
  • PDF of slides and speaker’s contact info for follow-up questions
  • Attendance certificate provided to self-report CE credits

NOTE: All materials are subject to copyright. Transmission, retransmission, or republishing of any webinar to other institutions or those not employed by your agency is prohibited. Print materials may be copied for eligible participants only.

Presenter Bio

Debbie Peterson – Getting to Clarity, LLC

Career and leadership coach, author, and nationally recognized speaker, Debbie Peterson is the president of Getting to Clarity, LLC, a speaking and consulting firm. Peterson provides a system for financial services audiences to gain more focus and clarity on their next steps, next level, and next chapter of career and leadership. Her engaging and down-to-earth speaking style on topics related to career and leadership advancement, mentoring, and communication has made her a favorite with her clients.

Peterson has 25+ years of corporate experience, including administration, project management, and investor relations. She is a professional member of the National Speakers Association and a certified trainer of Neurolinguistic Programming. In addition, she authored the book Clarity: How Smart Professionals Create Career Success on Their Terms and hosts the Getting to Clarity podcast.

Registration Options

  • $245 – Live Webinar Access
  • $245 – OnDemand Access + Digital Download
  • $350 – Both Live & On-Demand Access + Digital Download

About the Webinar

Data and analytics have become an entire field within marketing over the last two decades. However, the implementation of “big data” and marketing analytics has proven to be much tougher (and less fruitful) than many hoped. Community banks have struggled with how to find the right mix of data in their tangled set of systems. This challenge has left marketing professionals paralyzed by too many tools and unable to seek meaningful opportunities to improve their campaigns and customer engagement – and left leadership questioning where and how to invest in meaningful tools and talent.

This webinar focuses on customer and marketing data that helps financial professionals make more informed marketing and product decisions. The agenda will include topics such as:

  • The available data within a bank’s technology stack and across marketing and tech channels;
  • How to extract meaningful information from data sources;
  • Tools to use to derive insights from this data; and
  • Best practices when taking action on discovered insights.

Attendees Will Learn

  • Strategically develop a plan within the bank to leverage data better;
  • Approaches to building a better culture of data inside the organization;
  • Effectively map what data lives in what system within their bank;
  • Discover, extract, organize, and describe data to support business decisions;
  • Forecast marketing response rates;
  • Scrutinize digital marketing analytics to determine campaign success and optimizations; and
  • Develop meaningful reports for audiences within the organization

Who Should Attend

This program is designed for marketing, retail professionals, and C-Suite leadership interested in improving the way their banks leverage data to improve customer acquisition and retention.

Speaker:

Hunter Young founded HiFi Agency to help financial companies find clarity in a chaotic digital world. When not working with clients across the country on brand strategy, media approaches or digital acquisition, Hunter teaches marketing and leadership courses for a variety of state bank associations and universities. Before starting his agency, Hunter’s career included leadership roles in banking, advertising agencies and a mobile technology startup. It’s a collective experience that has led to a data-driven creativity in everything he does.

His banking career included time at BB&T (now Truist) where he led the Global Digital Web team responsible for millions of customers’ online experiences. He then developed and led the marketing and customer intelligence teams at one of the fastest growing community banks in the U.S., First Bank of North Carolina, which grew from $2 billion to nearly $6 billion in assets during his time there. Hunter earned a degree in Marketing Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Registration Information:

The registration fee of $195/attendee includes:

  • Live and recording access for 30 days post webinar
  • Materials for webinar

Does dealing with online marketing analytics leave you feeling dazed and confused? Don’t let the sheer volume of data be your undoing. Using straightforward lay terminology, this practical webinar will teach you how to measure, manage, and corral the data.

After This Webinar You’ll be Able To:

  • Recognize the value of tracking and analyzing data as part of the big picture of strategic marketing and promotional efforts
  • Identify the various sources of data you want to capture and how they will help build the story of your efforts
  • Explore the different data collection options you already (likely) have from across your website, email marketing, social media, marketing automation, and possibly third-party providers
  • Leverage free (and some paid) tools such as the Google suite of services (i.e., Analytics, Search Console, Tag Manager, Optimizer) and others in gathering and understanding key website visitor behavior and performance
  • Tie in your social networking data to determine what types of posts and activities are moving the needle (and if they are not, what you should do about it)
  • Develop a reporting process to make it easier for data to be shared among others at your institution to help tell the story of your digital engagement efforts

Webinar Details

In today’s digital age there is a wealth of data available on your website visitors, the actions they take, where they came from, what your social fans are doing across your various channels, and so much more. The sheer volume of data can easily make your head spin! To many financial marketers, having a clear understanding of what to measure and where to find that data can be a bit of a challenge. This session will explore many of the key “digital data points” that should be tracked and what they mean to your online success.

It’s important to understand where all the data “lives” and develop a way to capture and analyze information to help identify trends (both good and bad), which will then help shape the direction of existing and future campaign efforts. This webinar will explore the fundamental reasons for data collection, review the various sources, explain what expectations you should have based on benchmarks and historical comparison, and then address ways to report and understand what it all means so you can make actionable decisions for improvement.

Who Should Attend?

This informative session will benefit a variety of job functions, with a particular focus on the marketing and retail areas. Additionally, some institutions have started developing a data/insights role, and this session will be valuable to those in that role or as guidance in the development of that function.

Take-Away Toolkit

  • Excel-based UTM “tagging” record sheet to maintain a comprehensive list of Google campaign URLs to help measure inbound website promotional activity
  • Employee training log
  • Interactive quiz
  • PDF of slides and speaker’s contact info for follow-up questions
  • Attendance certificate provided to self-report CE credits

Note: All materials are subject to copyright. Transmission, retransmission, or republishing of any webinar to other institutions or those not employed by your institution is prohibited. Print materials may be copied for eligible participants only.

Presenter: Eric Cook – WSI Digital

During a successful 15-year banking career, Eric Cook was the driving force behind many of his bank’s strategic technology initiatives. In 1995, he took his community bank online, making them one of the first “hometown” banks in the nation with a website. When Cook left banking in 2007, he was regional president for a Michigan-based, publicly traded community bank.

Today, Cook operates his own digital marketing agency, focused on helping banking-industry clients connect and engage with their customers online through creative website development and secure hosting, digital advertising, content marketing, and social strategies. A three-time contributing author to the best-selling book Digital Minds, he also serves as faculty at several banking schools around the country where he teaches financial industry professionals how to engage and build relationships online with today’s digital consumer. Cook combines hands-on experience with state-of-the-art digital marketing solutions to help clients achieve success online. He’s a national, sought-after speaker on social technology, digital strategy, and online business trends.

Registration Options

  • $245 – Live Webinar Access
  • $245 – OnDemand Access + Digital Download
  • $350 – Both Live & On-Demand Access + Digital Download

Attend this proactive webinar and gain an understanding of the often complex and confusing topic of TAXES!

Bank personnel are required to obtain and properly interpret tax returns for both commercial and consumer lending purposes. The first part of this webinar will concentrate on personal tax return analysis while the second part will focus on the analysis of various business tax returns.

Covered Topics

  • The objectives of the first part of the webinar consist of the following:
  • Review the basic structure of the personal 1040 federal tax return (including the various schedules and K-1 forms)
  • Use analysis techniques to prepare a personal cash flow from information gleaned from the 1040 and the related schedules
  • Discuss recent changes in the tax code including the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA), the CARES Act, and proposed tax legislation and how they affect the bank’s individual borrowers/guarantors, and
  • Describe how the 1040 tax return can be used to market the bank’s products and services.

The second part includes:

  • Discuss the structure of a C corporation, S corporation, and Partnership (including LLC) tax return
  • Analyze business tax returns and prepare cash flows for these entities
  • Draw additional information from the business returns including identifying fraudulent tax returns
  • Discuss updates in the tax code including the TCJA, CARES, and proposed tax legislation as they apply to businesses.

Who Should Attend
Commercial lenders, credit analysts, consumer lenders, mortgage lenders, loan documentation specialists, branch managers, assistant branch managers, private bankers, and business development officers.

Instructor Bio
David L. Osburn, MBA, CCRA, is the founder of Osburn & Associates, LLC, a Business Training & Contract CFO Firm that provides seminars, webinars, and keynote speeches for bankers, CPAs, credit managers, attorneys, and business owners.

His extensive professional background of over 30 years includes 20 years as a Business Trainer/ Contract CFO and 16 years as a bank commercial lender including the position of Vice President/Senior Banking Officer. Mr. Osburn has also been an adjunct college professor for over 30 years including College of Southern Nevada.

Registration Options
Live Access, 30 Days OnDemand Playback, Presenter Materials and Handouts $279

Available Upgrades:

  • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + $110
  • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + CD + $140
  • Additional Live Access + $75 per person

Marketing Planning examines the process to develop a comprehensive strategic marketing plan. The course reviews research that helps a bank marketer assess their customers and trade area opportunities and how to integrate the information into a situation analysis. It covers activities from the discovery phase to setting objectives, creating action plans and developing the related budget.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives:

  • Understand the importance of customer and market research
  • Clarify the need for market segmentation and product focus
  • Define the structure for marketing objectives and goals
  • Understand the sequence for creating vision, mission, values and a competitive advantage
  • Identify the best structure for documenting the marketing plan

Audience: This is a foundation course to develop skills and best practices for preparing a marketing plan. It is designed for employees interested in taking an active role in the management of bank marketing. This is an entry-level course for anyone planning to work in a marketing department at a financial institution.

Price: $300

Marketing Management examines management activities from ongoing brand management to public relations and digital marketing to return on investment. Understanding the practices needed to prioritize projects, assess performance and balance resources will enhance your marketing success. To be an active contributor on a marketing team you must have working knowledge of marketing management.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives:

  • Identify the key management areas assigned to marketing
  • Clarify the purpose and benefit of public relations
  • Explain the importance of data management and direct marketing
  • Examine activities that improve customer experience management
  • Evaluate how to assess your return on marketing investment

Audience: This is a foundation course to examine the knowledgebase and management skills required to manage the marketing activities at a financial institution. It is designed for employees interested in taking an active role in the management of bank marketing.

Price: $300

Marketing in Banking presents the foundations of marketing in the banking industry. The course reviews the core responsibilities of bank marketing, how marketing is structured in an organization chart, and how to assess the financial performance of a financial institution.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives:

  • Clarify the role of marketing in bank performance management
  • Identify the core responsibilities typically assigned to marketing
  • Understand how to review a bank’s balance sheet and income statement
  • Provide background information for the regulations impacting bank marketing activities

Audience: This is a foundation course in the structure of a bank marketing function and the related core responsibilities.  It is designed for employees interested in discovering the role of marketing within a financial institution.  This is an entry-level course for anyone entering bank marketing.

Price: $300

Building Customer Relationships guides students through the strategies for earning customer loyalty, value-added sales and marketing, and creating and maintaining strong bank customer and partner relationships. It builds the critical relationship management skills so essential to successful banking careers.

Audience: Anyone who needs an introduction to banking, whether just starting a career or a more experienced professional from a different industry.

Price: $215

Building Customer Relationships guides students through the strategies for earning customer loyalty, value-added sales and marketing, and creating and maintaining strong bank customer and partner relationships. It builds the critical relationship management skills so essential to successful banking careers.

Audience: Anyone who needs an introduction to banking, whether just starting a career or a more experienced professional from a different industry.

Price: $215