The COVID-19 pandemic is changing how the world does business, and the banking industry is evolving along with it.
As banks have limited in-person encounters at their branches, customers increasingly have embraced digital services.
Most banks have been building out their digital interfaces for some time, but the COVID-19 pandemic “kind of forced the issue,” said Liz Finn, vice president for center operations at Ent Credit Union.
Banks and credit unions are seeking to make digital platforms as customer-friendly as possible and adding human touches to digital services.
They’re also creating new ways to help customers bank online, from video tutorials to “cobrowsing,” which allows service representatives to guide clients through banking operations.
As branches reopen, some customers have resumed in-person banking, but many others prefer the convenience and physical distancing that digital banking provides.
It’s a trend that will continue and strengthen as the world moves through the pandemic, bankers say.
ENT CREDIT UNION
Ent has reopened 31 of its 40 branches but is seeing greater use of digital channels than before the pandemic.
“Our service model dictated that we want to be available for our members in whatever channel that they want to come to us in and for many people on a daily basis, they would prefer to not have to come into the branch locations,” said Tanan Miles, vice president of electronic banking.
Miles estimated that digital services are growing 15-20 percent annually and expects that growth to continue.
“Over 75 percent of our members utilize online or mobile banking, and 75 percent of those specifically utilize mobile,” he said.
Ent has created a more robust remote deposit capture that allows businesses to scan and deposit checks, Miles said. If they must deposit cash, businesses can use after-hours depositories and access receipts through the online banking platform.
Ent also has been building out those digital platforms for both businesses and consumers.
“For businesses, there is very much the same desire for immediate access to information, to transaction history — just access to accounts,” Miles said.
Because customers still want to interact with people, the credit union posted service representatives outside at drive-up stations — wearing masks and gloves — during the time while Ent’s lobbies were closed.
“We found that it really helped to have an employee out in the parking lot, talking to people engaging with them, and answering questions,” Finn said.
The outside employees were able to guide customers to the interactive teller machines Ent has installed at several locations.
“Most people thought these were just fancy ATMs,” Finn said, “but you can talk to a live person via video.”
Ent, which has long been providing financial education programs in person and through its website,…
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