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How Digital Listings Become Crucial Amid Bank Mergers and Acquisitions

By June 8, 20245 min read

Mismanaged digital listings can severely impact community banks, credit unions, and financial brands–specifically their ability to reach new and existing customers. Inaccurate online listings damage credibility, complicate compliance, slow customer acquisition, and stunt loan and deposit growth. When your organization is in the throes of a merger or acquisition–online listings become even more crucial. Here’s why, and what you need to know ahead of, moving into, and in the aftermath of legal day one.

Understanding Online Listings

Before diving into managing digital listings, it’s essential to understand them, including what digital listings actually are and why they matter. Digital listings are essentially entries on various online platforms that provide key information about a business. For community banks, credit unions, and financial brands, this includes information like hours of operation, ATM and branch locations, and even services offered. 

When people in the local communities you serve head to Google and perform a search for “bank near me,” or “business loan options,” the accuracy and consistency of your listings plays a critical role in where and how your location(s) appear in these types of search results.

As users begin to experiment with searching for information via AI tools like ChatGPT, listings continue to be important. These LLMs (Large Language Models) are extracting information from structured datasets, including online listings, as they compile information in response to user prompts. In short, both traditional search practices like Google and new and emerging search practices via generative AI tools rely on online listings data to serve up business information in response to new and existing customers looking for information online, which means the information provided in those listings needs to be accurate and consistent. 

The Risks of Inaccurate Online Listings

Inaccurate listings are troubling for a number of reasons. In addition to making it more difficult for people to find your products and services in searches, they can pose compliance issues. Notably, they can also lead to dissatisfied customers, complaints, and poor reviews that impact your overall brand reputation. In short, both individually and in aggregate, these factors greatly impact how you show up online. 

Unfortunately, managing digital listings is not a set-it-and-forget-it task. Because information is aggregated across numerous inputs, including customer feedback, it doesn’t stay static. In fact, listings update based on real-time feedback from patrons and others. So if, for example, a user is geo-located at a branch location, they may be prompted to confirm information like operating hours on their device through a simple yes-or-no pop-up question. 

These systems aren’t perfect, as sometimes customers don’t respond accurately to confirm information like, say, hours of operation. These inaccurate data points must be flagged and suppressed to ensure they don’t incorrectly impact otherwise accurate information over time. If your listings aren’t being managed, that doesn’t always happen. 

Listings also house online reviews, making it important to keep an eye on this potential avenue for customer communication. Hopefully those reviews are positive, but in the event that they are not, you want to be prompt in responding to and addressing issues and complaints according to policies and procedures. At the same time, coordinated efforts to generate reviews for locations can make a substantial impact on your online reputation, but also on your SEO rankings and the overall discoverability of your website and brand–especially amid widespread changes to places where your new brand assets will appear once the merger/acquisition is officially completed. 

“Strategic review generation is an effort that many financial brands turn focus to following mergers and acquisitions because it’s a crucial time for your brand,” explains Social Assurance Client Services Manager Jess Doerr. Her team works with community banks, credit unions, and financial brands of all types and sizes across all stages of these transactions. “The benefits of user-generated content appearing at scale across locations on accurate, up-to-date listings are numerous, but the first and most crucial step is to ensure listings are in order and, to do so, financial brands need to be taking the appropriate steps.”

Listings amid Mergers & Acquisitions

During mergers and acquisitions, the need for meticulous listings management becomes even more pronounced. It’s a time when mitigating risk and reducing customer attrition is especially crucial. What’s more, brands are in a transitory place–consolidating into an existing brand or evolving into a new one. To get and stay ahead of legal day one, banks, credit unions, and financial brands will want to take a few steps before, during, and after.

  • Announcement Stage
    As soon as the merger or acquisition is publicly announced and you have a clear understanding of the timeline and details, start the process of claiming or updating your listings.
  • Transition Period
    Amid due diligence, identify all existing listings and ensure you have the necessary access and rights to update them. Take this time to plan how the listings will be managed post-merger. If there will be changes to the brand name, logo, or other key information, prepare these updates in advance so they can be implemented swiftly once the merger or acquisition is finalized. At the same time, you’ll need to prepare compliance policies and internal protocols around managing listing information so it remains up-to-date and handling inbound questions and reviews via online listings.
  • After the Merger/Acquisition
    As soon as the merger or acquisition is officially completed, update listings to reflect the new entity’s name, address, phone number, website, and any other relevant information. Keep in mind that, moving forward, you will need to actively manage these listings, especially immediately following legal day one to suppress outdated information and address questions and reviews that come in from customers via online listings. Addressing these accurately and promptly is especially important. To do so, prepare a simple review response strategy and ensure you have the right tools in place to implement it at scale as needed.

Implementation Resources & Best Practices

Listings management can be an incredibly big task–especially without the proper tools, expertise, and resources. The team at Social Assurance is here to help with guidance every step of the way, including full-service setup and ongoing management, plus strategic review generation proven to get your listings in order, keep them in order, and leverage them as effectively as possible. Whether you’re interested in learning more or simply unsure about the next steps to take with your listings, we’re here to help.

Social Assurance

Social Assurance helps financial brands connect to their communities. With marketing, sales, and community development solutions, learn how we can help your organization do what it does best: support your community.