Financial banking looked a little different this past year.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented community banks with a unique set of challenges – but also opportunities. Necessity forced many institutions to think outside the box and develop innovative approaches to helping their community. From repurposing the layout of their branches to changing their branding, the inventive thinking exhibited by many showed that the best happens when we all come together to support our communities.

We recently sat down with some leaders in the financial institution to learn their thoughts and what they’ve been doing to help their local community. Our Community Heroes series releases new episodes twice a month and is viewable by visiting our vlog page. Be sure to catch the full-length video below!

New Financial Priorities for Communities

Priorities, on both a micro and macro level, are shifting for communities. Consumers are looking for financial institutions to be more flexible and create solutions – sometimes even before consumers know they need it. Whether it’s financial brands working on making online and mobile banking solutions more robust or increasing their investment in AI, service expectations are on the rise.

Another changing dynamic affecting financial brands is the growth in remote workers. Technological innovations have enabled more workers than ever to work from the comfort of their homes. Plus, with many remote policies adopted for employee safety, it’s no wonder that the remote workforce is up 87% from pre-pandemic levels. Consumers want to spend time on what matters to them: family, friends, and experiences. Community banks can capitalize on this trend by marketing and developing solutions that help consumers reach their goals.

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New Branch Layouts

Many financial institutions have recognized the need to adjust their branches to try and spur renewed foot traffic. While digital transformation is a key theme for the financial industry this year, branches won’t be abandoned. Instead, they will be reconfigured. One of our speakers had branch locations undergo significant cosmetic change. She oversaw new branch openings and new open floor plan remodels. They even added a donation-based coffee shop to their branch to drive more foot traffic. Even though they had been closed more often than not, their coffee shop brought in considerable donations to help support the community during these trying times!

Community Banking Re-branding

Consumers are paying attention to more things than pre-pandemic – noticing the effect of community banks is one of them. There’s a new trend of knowing that community banking is cool. Local members are starting to realize and appreciate the integral role these institutions play in a community’s success. Customers are beginning to note a distinct difference between being a community bank or working with a big bank. The positive messages that many financial brands have received from community members provide a reason to be optimistic about the future.

Local financial brands have worked hard this year for their communities. This year has shown us how we can be better for the people we serve and be more remarkable. Watch the replay of the live stream here, and be sure to check out more of our content by clicking on our recent webinars below.

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Author: Cara Brackett

Cara Brackett is our Content and Client Specialist! She is passionate about social media and that passion has taken her to work with brands in Chicago, New York, London, and good ol' Lincoln, Nebraska.

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