Where is banking heading?

Today I am thinking about technology because I recently attended a national banking conference at which several speakers spoke about it. Before I go any further let me provide a bit of context – I am old enough to have been in the workforce BEFORE computers lived on every desk but still young enough to keep up with (most, OK, with some) of the new technology. So, where is technology, specifically banking technology, headed? Speaking of technology, I cannot ignore social media – or could only ignore it at great peril. Our community bank already offers telephone banking, mobile banking, online banking and bill payment, online account opening, and remote deposit capture for our business customers. We have a Facebook page, many of us are on LinkedIn, I tweet, and now I have this blog. That puts us near the front of the community bank pack as far as technology and social media go. Yet we still see many of our customers in the bank frequently – which is a good thing as far as I am concerned.

Where is it all leading? I really don’t know. One of the speakers at our conference commented that within 8 years there will be more members of Gens X and Y around than there are Baby Boomers (like me). I expect that will accelerate the move to electronic and mobile banking since the Gen X and Y folks want full function banking whenever and wherever they choose. They may still come by a bank branch, but probably just to open their accounts or when they have a complex need or service issue. Even more interesting is the behavior of the Millennial Generation – like my children aged 25 and 21 – who live on their phones, computers, and iPads, and would just as soon not go in to a bank, and rely upon social media friends to make purchasing decisions. To serve those folks we will need to offer them everything online they can get in a branch. Everything! That will be a tall order but it is clearly where we are headed. It is all about giving the customer the choice – we have to be there for them 24/7/365. Wish us luck!