OCTOBER 5, 2017
The Digital Divide
By Mark Loehrke, Editor, Financial Managers Society

Are your small business customers borrowing behind your back? If they need their money quickly or are averse to a paperwork-intense application process, the answer may be yes.

It’s not that these small businesses don’t appreciate the relationship they’ve built and maintained with your community institution, and it’s not that they’ll never come through your branch door for another loan at some point. But as they grow more and more comfortable with conducting much of their business online, alternative lenders offering the speed and convenience of digital application processes and quick approvals are becoming an increasingly attractive funding source for them.

What can you do to win these small businesses back? Keep fostering those long-term relationships, of course, but just as importantly, don’t accept the status quo of your loan process. Take a renewed look at exactly how your customers interact with your institution and the hoops they have to jump through in order to get their money. Is this the route you would choose if you were on the other side of the transaction?

Keep in mind that the solution to this problem may not necessarily be going all-in on a digital transformation – not every community institution is willing or able to flip that switch. But there may be some smaller steps you can take, and our recent FMS webinar on building customer relationships with digital banking may be a good place to start.