Once an afterthought, customer experience is now a focal point for not only banks but also their business and corporate customers. Customers consider it when selecting new bank partners and have higher expectations for it than ever before. Gone are the days when banks could use sophisticated functionality as an excuse for clunky, outdated systems and manual processes. Today’s customers—from consumers to corporate treasurers—are tech-savvy and in a hurry, and they expect the same type of experience whether they are on Amazon.com or their bank’s portal.
According to the Small Business Administration, the value of small-business loans outstanding in the United States is about US$600 billion. This large number, coupled with small businesses’ growing need for credit to start and run their businesses, makes this space an attractive one not only for financial institutions but also for the growing number of alternative lenders popping up and posing a threat to traditional ways of evaluating and originating credit.
It is no secret that banks struggle to effectively serve small businesses. Internal battles to serve these clients have existed within financial institutions for quite a while: battles between commercial banking teams claiming to offer more of the functionality these customers need and the consumer teams promising greater solution ease of use. Unfortunately, in recent years, the size of the battlefield has grown. Banks are no longer just fighting internally and among themselves—a new set of players have set their sights on these customers, and their impact is growing.
Christine Barry serves as research director for Aite Group's Wholesale Banking practice, focusing on the strategies and technology implementations of global banks of all sizes. Her recent research has addressed global cash management trends and technologies, capturing the valuable small-business customer, corporate mobile banking, the drivers of global core banking system replacement, remote deposit capture, and best practices for community banks and credit unions.