What will banking look like in the future?
Recently, a large regional bank made the announcement that they were going to take away all their customer facing mortgage lenders in every one of their offices. They plan on taking care of everybody via a call center/web page moving forward. So the question is…..will this work?
Every year that goes by the “easy to recognize” differences between large banks and community banks seems to be clearer. As a self-proclaimed community bank junkie, I find these differences very interesting and thought provocative. It's kind of disturbing and exciting all at the same time. The big question is… will community banks survive?
The market area of the community bank that I’m privileged to work at, consists of 3 primary counties located in what I call SE, SE Wisconsin. Going back about 20 years, there were probably 15+ banks that called this market their home. Banks that were chartered here and had their headquarters here. Today there are only 4 remaining. That’s the disturbing part!
The exciting part is that I believe we still provide a unique service in our markets. I believe that a large number of people (not everyone) still value the face-to-face interaction that a community bank provides. I also realize that this only goes so far, and those customers still need and deserve the same technology that our larger counterparts provide. It takes money to put team members in a branch. It takes money to deliver our products with very similar technology that the big regional bank has. Will customers and prospects see the value? We believe that some will, and have bet on that with expanding our branch network and hiring mortgage bankers when competitors are eliminating them.
The big banks will call me old fashioned and out of touch. Maybe so, but I don’t believe I am. I still think it’s important to have employees where our customers are located. It’s important that those employees help develop and grow their communities. It’s important for customers to see our employees at the grocery store and at church. It’s important that we know who you are. It’s important to have our employees spend hundreds of hours on community events. It’s important to support and staff leadership in the many non-profits in our area. It’s important to call SE, SE Wisconsin our home!
My hope and wish, is that it’s also important to you. Time will be the judge.
As always, your thoughts, comment and concerns are welcome. At a community bank you can still connect with the President!
President / CEO | Community State Bank
Direct: (262) 878-3763
Scott Huedepohl is the President of Community State Bank, and has been a community banker for over 30 years.