Observations From Day 1 Of BAI Retail Delivery

Cross-channel integration and how technology can aid and abet innovation kick-off the 2012 conference.


Every year, BAI hosts an annual convention geared toward providing financial services institutions with inspiration and motivation. Banks, credit unions, and vendors from across the United States and around the globe converge to share best practices, next practices, and fresh approaches to all sorts of challenges. This year, the BAI Retail Delivery conference is being held at the Walter E Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, right in the backyard of Callahan & Associates.

Our writers are attending sessions all week and will share with you the best of the best of what we're hearing.

On Tuesday, I was able to attend a couple of sessions: The Impact of Online and Mobile in Engagement Banking and Sales Effectiveness in a Multi-Channel Environment. As the titles suggest, the conversation leaned heavily toward the importance of digital devices. In a nutshell, these no longer represent an "alternative" channel but an "emerging" channel.

I'm not sure how emerging I consider online and mobile. After all, they're emerged. They're HERE. But I digress ...

The presenters shared a few stats worth considering:

  • 60% of all U.S. households are expected to use a digital device for banking by 2021.
  • New account openings at branches dropped from 77% last year to 71% this year, demonstrating the continued importance and dominance of the physical footprint; notably, online account openings is on a positive trajectory.
  • 86% of "bank" web traffic goes straight into Internet banking and doesn't hit the sales and marketing pages at all.

Speakers at the Engagement Banking session talked about how financial services websites need to create seamless integration across multiple channels (branch, call center, digital) and devices (desktop, mobile, ATM) so consumers can create their own "my size fits me" experience rather than trying to push a "one size fits all" experience. This is what credit unions have been saying for years. But something that piqued my interest was the content management system the presenters used to mix and match widgets on the pages within a financial institution's online banking site. The widgets allowed for customized functionality and the development and launch of pages in days, not months. 

As important as the discussion of website development, channel integration, and sales is the reasoning behind WHY this is all so important right now, today. Answer: It's all about the customer experience. In my personal interactions with credit unions, I often hear leaders say what makes the credit union different in the market is its dedication to the member. Banks are now encroaching on that territory. US Bank has transformed its site in an effort to "deepen relationships through superior customer engagement." That sounds familiar. The Engagement Banking session talked about the paradigm shift financial institutions, banks, must embrace. The new way of thinking and operating starts outside with the customer experience and works its way into the institution's internal system, platforms, and goals. Likewise, when talking about sales effectiveness, the customer experience drives decisions.

Look for more thoughts and updates from our time at BAI. Until then, follow us on Twitter @CreditUnionsCom or search by #retaildelivery to see what's going on.


Oct. 11, 2012

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