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ABA Convention 2013: Banks Bounce Back and Look for Ways to Improve Customer Experience

First published on ECM Trends from the Field.

The 2013 American Bankers Association (ABA) Annual Convention in New Orleans has just drawn to a close. Banks are bouncing back!

Actuate Content Services Group attended the ABA Convention to greet C-Level bank executives from all over the US. We also held a Power Breakfast Session to exchange ideas on how modern banks use analytics to improve customer experience. But first let’s talk about the Convention experience and at the end – about the feedback we received from the Power Breakfast Session attendees.

Most of the ABA Convention attendees were C-Level executives from small, community banks with assets of <$1B and they were mostly from the Southeast given that the venue was New Orleans this year. We talked to many banks, and received great insight into some of the things that are important to them.

Dodd-Frank is in the midst of being fully implemented with tighter lending guidelines for QM or Qualified Mortgages hitting in Jan 2014, however, the head of the CFPB stated that there would be a gradual easing-in of the guidelines with little to no litigation in the first few months. The bottom line for the small banks was that if they have a traditionally good track record making loans in their markets with acceptable loss rates, this new legislation should have little or no impact. The reaction of the CEO’s ranged however from activist “we should show up with thousands to march on Washington” to more resigned “let’s not dwell on the regulation but focus on our business.”

The attitudes of the CEO’s matched almost exactly the geographies from which they hail. The West Coast CEO focusing on a vibrant, young work force, the East Coast bank implementing new technology but only to the extent that it would pay off with its specific customer profile.

The CEO from a deep south bank explained how his bank’s branches had been “slabbed” during Katrina, a verb meaning completely demolished save the cement slab upon which the building used to sit. But the employees were at work the next day at fold-out tables doing business, ultimately handing out up to $100M total in cash to bank customers needing money to evacuate immediately. I’m not sure what was more moving – the image of employees at those tables in front of their erstwhile branches, or the news that the bank experienced less than 1% loss from this cash handout despite the complete lack of ID validation. “How can you force someone to produce ID, when you can plainly see that they ‘swam’ out of their house this morning.” This, said the CEO, is proof positive that we are still a nation of trustworthy individuals. This particular bank has expanded rapidly since Katrina, capturing a double digit increase in market share right after the storm. How’s that for a positive customer experience?

The best part of Actuate’s presentation to the ABA attendees during the Power Breakfast Session on 10/22 was not the presentation itself but the really good questions that followed. Doug Koppenhofer, Regional VP, delivered the presentation and answered the questions:

Q: Is it possible to do Communication Management completely independent of Analytics?

We answered that yes, one could definitely find low hanging fruit in the customer communication area especially in correspondence, without having to tie in analytics. We explained that many banks in particular are getting a better handle on the way they manage the correspondence with their clients to ensure that they leverage their brand, manage message consistency and even compliance. We mentioned the example of the bank we met at the Customer Experience Exchange who found countless examples of letters to customers stating that they “did not meet their standards.” We do believe that analytics helps you embed much more personalization and power into your messaging and that most banks will at some point couple analytics to their communication hubs.

Q: Can you elaborate on what impact privacy laws might have on using publicly available social media and other content as your source for customer messaging?

My only answer to that was that we are not the compliance or bank law experts. In talking with a compliance vendor later, he saw no issue with this because as individuals we opt in to disclosing all manner of personal information to Google, Facebook, etc. Bottom line: if the banks decide not to take advantage of this publicly available information, somebody else may do so instead.

Q: Any ideas on how to know the identity of clicks to specific ads you would embed?

That’s a darn good question, and I wonder if there is any way the e-Ad could somehow capture session information. The question was posed by an SVP of Marketing of a 20 branch bank who is doing very well with embedding ads in their real estate channel that should drive sales to their lending channel and they are getting a lot of good clicks but, how could they ever tell who it is that they need to follow up with. More to follow as we could not come up with a complete answer to this very good question.

This Q & A session was first published on ECM Trends from the Field Blog by Doug Koppenhofer. You can find the Power Breakfast Session presentation here.

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