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7 Current Trends that Community Banks Should Leverage

Traditional banks in today’s economic environment are battling for market share with unknown digital banks and fintech brands. It is a world of open banking and marketplace banking, where online-only banks can now successfully compete for customers with traditional banks. As digitally savvy younger generations embrace digital banks for basic banking activities and other value-added services, the pressure for community banks to stay relevant is significant. Below are seven current trends that community banks should leverage to remain competitive.

1.    Make customer experience the new brand

Gone are those days when someone opened an account with your bank and stayed with you for life. It has never been easier to switch financial institutions and all without visiting a physical branch location. That is why customer experience is equally important as products, prices, and reward programs. Your bank must focus more on customer experience as the decade unfolds.

2.    Deliver on personalization

Today’s customers want personalized and consistent experiences across touchpoints and channels when managing their finances and buying financial products. The rise of technology such as machine learning, location-based services, and big data will continue to enable banks to anticipate customer needs and match them with significant life events to provide a seamless experience. Personalization can help your bank deliver superior customer experiences and build trust and loyalty.

3.    Create value by providing a choice of products

Banks can no longer rely on single-line customers as a primary profit source. Your community bank should offer an array of products that will help stimulate more multi-line business customers. Focus on combining more product choices with personalized digital relationships to enhance overall value.

4.    Leverage social media

Community banks are uniquely positioned to leverage the power of social media marketing. The most effective social media campaigns don’t use expensive platforms or complex algorithms to win followers. Social media can be a relatively simple and inexpensive way to enhance your community bank’s brand, build a community presence and seamlessly improve customer service. Significantly, it can also help your bank respond to customer questions and gain insights into users that assist with advertising, marketing, and customer experience.

5.    Prioritize review management

Research has shown that customer reviews are five times more influential than TV advertisements and six times more than social media ads. Your bank needs to embed online review management into its customer acquisition strategy. This includes responding appropriately to positive and negative reviews, amplifying reviews to improve search visibility, and analyzing data to extract insights.

6.    Embrace omnichannel

Customers increasingly want to engage with businesses when and how they want. Your bank should facilitate an environment where they can switch between channels during their journey.  It’s all about providing a more seamless experience to drive customer acquisition, and that can only be achieved by an appropriate commitment to setting channel priorities and investing in infrastructure.

7.    Continue making it about the community

With the continued rise of online and mobile banking, there’s a chance of banking prospects who prefer personal contact and banks that make it about the community they belong to. Demonstrate your commitment to the community by supporting local businesses, meeting community leaders, sponsoring local charity events, or providing volunteering opportunities for your staff to support local charities.


The modern banking customer journey does not begin and end at a branch location. The rise of digital technologies, social media, and the explosion of online data are redefining engagement models in the community banking space. It has never been more critical for community banks to create and roll out plans to facilitate seamless customer experiences. Focus on creating multiple touchpoints, diversification, and personalized engagement methods to acquire and retain your customers.

Key Takeaways

  • Make customer experience the new brand
  • Deliver on personalization
  • Create value by providing a choice of products
  • Leverage social media
  • Prioritize reviews management
  • Embrace omnichannel

Continue making it about the community