Innovation at the Bank

by Nicholas Heskett
Commerce Bank

Need proof that we are living in a time of great change? Consider this: consumers today interact with their banks 15 to 20 times a month, up from three to four times a month in the pre-digital era, according to research by Netfinance.

Or this: when they go online, millennials switch their attention between media platforms 27 times an hour, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

The implications of findings like these are far-reaching. They remind us bankers that you, our customers, want to conduct business right now, wherever you are. They tell us we need to listen carefully and be agile in how we design products and services. They explain why your desire for convenience, speed and highly customized service are transforming the way banks operate. If you need even more proof, consider some banking innovations that didn’t exist a few short years ago…

  • Mobile banking. If you’re like many consumers, you no longer have to visit a branch to take care of your banking needs. That’s because banks now come to you through your phone, tablet or computer. You can make a deposit, pay a bill and check your account balance in between sips of your morning coffee. And mobile banking services will only continue to expand.
  • Custom accounts. Everyone’s banking needs are different, and banking products are now being designed with built-in flexibility to accommodate them. Just like you might choose a custom ringtone for your cellphone, you can now build a checking account with the features that fit your needs, from automatic saving plans and online bill pay to ID theft services. There’s no bundling in—or paying for—services you won’t use or find valuable.
  • More ways to pay. Perhaps nowhere has there been a greater explosion of options than at the cash register. Reward cards, gift cards and debit cards have made the “plain vanilla” credit cards of yesteryear seem old-fashioned. They’ve also added bulk to our wallets. If you prefer to carry a single card, Commerce now offers a free payment feature that lets you specify which purchases you’d like paid from your checking account and which to treat like credit card purchases. Online and phone payment systems, such as ApplePay, let you forgo “swiping” altogether.
  • More ways to be paid. Businesses benefit from innovation, too. Commerce’s Health Services Financing program, for example, includes a line of credit that enables patients to pay medical bills over time, while helping healthcare providers improve their cash flow. Meanwhile, app-based solutions allow on-the-go businesses (think electricians or food truck operators) to turn their phone into a secure, portable cash register.

Of course, innovations like these don’t happen in a vacuum. The reason consumers interact with their banks five times more often today than they once did is because we are carefully listening to their needs. Our goal is to develop solutions that you don’t even know are possible—and that you soon won’t want to live without! iBi


Nicholas Heskett is an assistant vice president and the central Illinois retail sales manager for Commerce Bank.