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    Digital Transformation

    3 Takeaways From Our Tech Roundtable for Regional and Community Banks

    The banking industry is seeing a seismic shift away from the traditional way of banking in the digital era. Last week, KnowledgeLake held an exclusive roundtable for senior leaders at regional and community banks to discuss the challenges they face in this evolving landscape and how technology can help them meet those challenges.

    Our discussion was led by three financial technology experts with decades of experience in the space. Bob Browne is a four-decade banking and FinTech startup veteran who advises community and regional banks nationwide on digital transformation. Joe Labbe is the VP of Product Development at KnowledgeLake and an expert in intelligent automation. And Steve Ward is the manager of the strategic business consulting team at CSI, with 13 years of experience in community banking technology.

    Bob, Joe, and Steve led a conversation focused on how regional and community banks can leverage technology to compete with the FinTechs reshaping traditional banking. Here are the three key takeaways from their discussion:

    1. Customers today expect a digital banking experience.

    With competition more intense than ever, modernization is imperative to winning, and keeping, new business. “Banking customers, especially the younger ones, are more fickle and less brand loyal than they have been in the past,” Labbe says. Customers won’t hesitate to switch banks if provided with anything less than the digital experience they’ve come to expect, including faster service, personalized offerings and universal account access. “Modernizing your systems infrastructure will help you provide a better customer experience, secure better business faster and reduce customer churn,” says Labbe.

    2. Modern technology is key to attracting and retaining talent in a turbulent labor market.

    The financial services industry is seeing significant generational turnover, with many in senior management retiring. “You’re seeing a younger management coming into the banking environment today,” says Browne. “Employees in senior management who are 65 and older are retiring and being replaced by people in their late forties and early fifties. They’ve never known a period without technology.”

    As more millennials step into management positions, equipping them with the modern technology they’ve come to expect is key to reducing employee churn. Not only that, but millennial employees aren’t satisfied with a job that consists of repetitive, monotonous tasks—they want meaning in their workdays.

    “You’ve got to take care of those boring tasks that would not be satisfactory to them and let them use their brain power the way they feel they should be able to,” says Browne. Automating manual operational processes allows employees to re-focus their attention on more meaningful, valuable tasks, like helping customers.

    3. Start small to get senior management buy-in for automation.

    The key to getting senior management buy-in for automation projects is starting with small, quick wins early on. Identify the low-hanging fruit first. “In smaller institutions, this means asking the people who do the work,” says Labbe. What are the simple, highly repetitive processes that are the most painful for them? In automating these processes, you can demonstrate the value of automation and show a repeatable methodology. “Even if the payoff is relatively small, it demonstrates to superiors at your institution that you have the ability to roll digital initiatives out successfully,” says Labbe.

    Modernization is critical for banks to compete in a digital landscape. Traditional banks can’t expect to earn new business with the technology and processes they’ve always relied on. Modernization enables banks to conduct business faster, provide new offerings quickly, win over customers with a digital experience, and reduce employee churn.

    “If you’re wondering when the best time to get started with modernization is,” says Labbe, “It’s today.”

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