Banking strategies for growth: Building for the future | Blend

Banking strategies for growth: Building for the future

Explore strategies that can expand your organization’s reach, satisfy the needs of all customer segments, and support your workforce now and into the future.

Sky-high inflation, rising mortgage rates, and “will we or won’t we” recession concerns dominate the headlines these days. But even a continued era of “what ifs” is rife with opportunities for financial leaders to deploy key banking strategies for growth while building for the future. 

In fact, 60% of C-suite executives said that digital transformation is the most important growth driver this year. Your financial institution’s ability to grow, however, is dependent on your ability to adapt to whatever the market throws your way. Here are a few banking strategies for growth to thrive in the long term.

Think beyond core services

As a leader of a traditional lending institution, you’re likely focused on your core suite of financial products to help attract and retain customers. But what if your business wandered a bit from core offerings to give customers other ways to deepen engagements with your institution? 

Some banking leaders have broadened their reach by offering small and medium-size enterprises services like accounting help and cash flow analysis. Others still are straying even farther from their core, extending into health care, security, and even mobile phone services. 

While your bank may not be in a position to partner with a health care entity or security firm, it bears rethinking your current product offerings and finding other natural fits that may broaden your reach. For instance, if you’re a rural institution, partnering with a crop insurance company to expand your products and grow your bottom line may be a smart move when rethinking banking strategies for growth. 

Be open to change and innovation

The advent of COVID-19 halted many small businesses in their tracks. To combat forced shutdowns, the government awarded around nine million Small Business Administration (SBA) loans totaling $750 billion in 2020, tasking lenders to process the deluge of applications. 

M&T Bank saw the opportunity to transform their processes and meet the exponential demand. Bank leaders jumped into action, calling on their existing technology partner to help compile the newly implemented SBA guidelines into an end-to-end, smooth-running application workflow. The new, streamlined processes were up and running within 72 hours, and the bank accepted 10,000 applications within the first hour. 

Partnering with a technology partner as part of your banking strategies for growth can enhance your financial institution’s digital agility, allowing your team the flexibility to make changes rapidly and in real time as circumstances dictate. 

Consider your customers’ ever-evolving preferences

Improving the customer experience is table stakes at this point. And as your organization transforms, you’ll want to make sure not to leave any segment of your customers behind. Gen Z and millennials, for instance, are most poised to go along on the digital journey, as they prefer to conduct their banking on their mobile devices. Compare that to Gen X and boomers, who prefer account opening and deposits at a physical branch. 

Satisfying all your customer segments may be as simple as offering clearer instructions and 24/7 support on how to conduct transactions via a mobile app or apply for a loan online.

More tech-savvy customers, however, want an intuitive customer experience that leverages their data to offer new products and services. Other desired capabilities of younger audiences include reimagined ways to finance certain products using split payments on loans or buy now, pay later models.

Invest in your workforce

Alongside digital transformation, 77% of executives list hiring and retaining talent as the top growth drivers in their organization. 

But it’s not enough to simply invest dollars. It’s creating an ecosystem within your institution that gives your IT teams access to the latest cloud software integrations, making it simpler to launch new products and services. It’s giving your branch managers, loan officers, and customer service employees access to a cohesive interface so they can pull up any information they need at any time. It’s attracting top talent by offering a variety of benefits that extend beyond wages — from opportunities for hybrid work and career development to mental health and childcare benefits. 

The bottom line financial leaders can take away: invest intelligently to foster the team you need to thrive for decades.