Dick Spigai, OTM Payments Chairman and CEO
New Jersey community banks are vital contributors to the growth and financial health of the state. For many consumers and businesses, community banks are the preferred choice for financial assistance, guidance and security. Although in recent years, consolidation and acquisition in the industry have led to stiffer competition with big banks. Large national banks that once dominated big cities are stretching into the community space. With well-known brand names and significant marketing budgets, their client acquisition efforts can often outpace those of a community bank. So how can a community bank differentiate itself?
Staying competitive in today’s landscape means offering customers everything big banks can – and then some. This should include a high level of customer service, convenience, competitive fees and rates, and value-added products and services. When it comes to business accounts, offering innovative merchant services solutions provides several clear customer advantages in the way of trust, convenience and savings. But the right merchant services program delivered and supported by a proven partner will also provide meaningful value to the financial institution. Here are just some of those advantages:
Staying Sticky – Customer retention is always the goal. The right mix of products and services can incent customers to “stick” with their current bank versus straying to the competitor. Making life easier for the customer is a win. Couple ease with true savings and the value grows stronger. The right merchant services partner will deliver critical cost savings to business clients and should provide that to them in a clear, easy-to-understand competitive analysis. In this way, a bank’s customers can easily see the bottom-line savings that is brought to their business.
In The Know – As a financial expert, a community bank should always serve as a key resource to their customers who are running a business. Customers come to know and trust in their guidance and advice so their knowledge of everything financial and operational is essential. This includes the process for accepting credit cards, the many solutions available, the latest innovative technology and cost efficiencies that can be realized. Partnering with an industry leader will give a community bank the tools – and the qualified local sales support – that they need to stay in the know when it comes to today’s best solutions.
Grow Deposits – While the battle for consumer deposits is not new, a more strategic deposit-building initiative includes a focus on merchant services. As a non-interest income generator, a quality merchant services program will help financial institutions of every size expand a commercial book of business, capturing a new stream of deposits and increasing deposits from existing business clients.
Community banks have a strong history of recognizing and meeting the needs of their customers. As we emerge from a global pandemic and look ahead to the future, community banks will continue to face both challenges and possibilities. Examining new and strategic initiatives rooted in strong partnerships will make an enormous difference in doing business.
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