Community Bank Innovation Ideas | Complete List from IBA Annual Conference

As a guest speaker, it’s often difficult to gauge where audience members are at in their innovation journeys. At a recent engagement I was able to ask IBA members about their current innovation projects during an interactive exercise within my keynote presentation. The sharing of bank innovation ideas was anonymous and over 200 bankers participated.

The results shared aloud were quite interesting however there were not many surprises. Perhaps most of the comments were general in nature and the audience members were holding their breakthrough ideas close to the vest during the live session. Once I saw the complete list (no names of banks were shared with me), I was actually encouraged to see so much innovation taking place and was glad we did the exercise because it gave us a real-time gauge.

Most Notable Community Bank Innovation Ideas:

  • Develop a web-based bank – nationwide marketplace for deposit accounts.
  • Using technology to gather customer feedback and ideas for improvement.
  • Implementing pseudo robo advisor offering.
  • Partnering with a Fintech company.
  • Lobby kiosk with teller.
  • Create online conversations with customers.
  • Account opening on mobile devices.
  • P2P solution with core provider.
  • Customer customized mobile banking app.
  • Formed a committee of younger bankers in our institution to focus on the future.
  • Remote call center, cyber lunch and learns for commercial customer.
  • Intentionally hiring millennials and actively matching them with senior managers to create new thinking.

Complete List of Remaining Innovation Projects that were Shared:

  • Started a joint venture to buy Fintech company stock that integrate with banking and help make the bank more efficient/bring new opportunities.
  • Improve the time deposit sales process and train our people to exploit the opportunities that other banks ignore.
  • Hired young team of bankers to grow the bank and for succession. They are empowered.
  • Provide digital inventory (register, check out services for new business customer).
  • Special account targeted to millennials – direct deposit, e-statement, debit transactions.
  • Challenging the compliance/regulatory framework with new ways to deliver solutions.
  • Mobile banking, electronic loan applications, getting involved in social media.
  • Using technology to capture customer feedback, ideas for improvement, so forth.
  • Create micro loan product for small retail customer.
  • Automating manual processes. Introducing new mobile app for business customers that is different from our mobile app. Employee intranet.
  • Focusing on educating customers on bank fraud in many avenues (e.g., radio, paper, website).
  • Text balance on demand.
  • Expand advances online. Implement new PFI onboarding.
  • Using GoTo meeting to cut travel time and interface more effectively.
  • Rolled out mobile app.
  • Listened to customers’ requests and started offering additional services – Health Savings Accounts.
  • Partner with a FinTech company.
  • Creating deposit gathering focus groups.
  • Banker outreach – calling customers on routine basis.
  • Digital report of risk management tools. We’re a correspondent bank.
  • I-pay.
  • Savings account that attracts children/students with apps and activities inside and outside of bank that builds financial literacy. Called Adventures in Savings, built by employees in bank – not outside, so employees feel empowered.
  • Text alerts for account transactions.
  • Debit card app to monitor activity and turn on/off activity.
  • Focus on developing young talent.
  • Create on-line “conversation” with customers since they no longer enter the branch for transactions.
  • Ability to receive funds to account via text messaging to bank.
  • Mortgage products for newly divorced individuals.
  • Social marketing.
  • Fully outsourced secondary market program for our government products (VA, FHA, RD).
  • Retaining millennials and younger as they head to college with account with no ATM fees, free debit card, iTunes rewards and fee mobile app.
  • Have peer-to-peer payment system in beta form for testing.
  • Open accounts on mobile/smart phones.
  • Pick up of deposits.
  • Pain free account transfers.
  • Hired marketing person to be out of the bank 2/3rds of the time and trained her about our products, rather than hire financial person and get them to do marketing.
  • Non-retail staff permitted to work at home to save on office costs.
  • Mobile capture.
  • Automating traditionally slow/cumbersome processes.
  • Convert training efforts to online and virtual.
  • Wash car windshields during summer thru drive up banks.
  • E-Signature for documents.
  • “Making Cents Out of Lemons” – elementary school entrepreneur program – lemonade stand in community.
  • Stream line loan processing to satisfy the millennials.
  • Loan hedging program.
  • Healthcare entity in bank.
  • Lending officers bio on Home website.
  • Bringing remote capture to commercial customers to save them time to go to the bank. Process their deposits at their convenience.
  • Canadian dollar credit card for U.S. companies who do business in Canada.
  • Customer Appreciation Days.
  • Eliminate Network D.
  • Share interchange income with the large business user.
  • Used sales force software to improve loan process from application to loan docs.  Reduced for employees.
  • Email updates of significant events and industry developments to clients and friends.
  • Taking a “family recipe” veggie dip to market.
  • Unlimited surcharge for ATMs.
  • Assist community banks in better handling check clearing house, different and new platforms, FinTech, etc.
  • Remote mortgage origination office in 20+ cities across US; adding 1-2 offices every 3-4 months.
  • ACH direct deposit.

Where do the smaller banks need to innovate most?

Michelle Toll, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, at the State Bank Group based in Wonder Lake, Illinois was kind enough to share her thoughts on that question in a recent interview with me. Here’s what she had to say:

“In areas like lending partnerships, exploring virtual customer experiences, owning their own data through strong analytics, and obtaining the best talent and consultative partnerships to help them think beyond their four walls.”

Click here to read the entire interview with Michelle Toll on Fintech Trends in Banking 2020.