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The way customers choose to interact with businesses is changing, and financial institutions are no exception to this trend. Today, banks and credit unions must confront the competitive pressure created by fintechs, and manage rising customer expectations for more technology and convenience in their banking services.

Here are five pieces of technology that are changing banking in 2018:

1. Evolution of Chatbots

Chatbots have greatly impacted the way customers interact with brands in multiple industries. Opportunities for banks to use the technology is readily available. In the past, chatbots were used to answer simple customer questions instantly to save time both for the company and the customer. As chatbots continue to evolve, they are able to offer up more relevant information and even suggest additional products or services that the individual could benefit from.

2. Advancements in Cybersecurity

In 2017, there were 1,579 data breaches, a new record high and an upturn of 44.7 percent from 2016. Due to huge breaches at Yahoo and Equifax, customers have become leerier in trusting companies with their personal information. To combat this negative attitude, financial institutions are developing stronger cybersecurity programs to keep customer data safe. According to American Banker, banks will continue to invest in strengthening their computer systems to protect customer information.

3. Branch Transformation and New Devices

As banks and credit unions continue to invest in branch transformation and add new devices, customers are going to continue to be delighted by the ease and efficiency of performing transactions. New ITMs (Interactive Teller Machines) and virtual tellers create a more human and personal interaction with the machine, as well as provide a variety of services that ATMs couldn’t previously offer. Instead of only offering $20s, ITMs allow customers to pick and choose their denominations for withdrawals. ITMs also allow customers to authenticate their identities by scanning their driver licenses or other pieces of identification if they lose their debit cards, making it more convenient than ever to access funds.

4. Increased Offerings Through Mobile Banking

A recent study by Citi revealed that 46 percent of U.S. customers have increased their use of mobile banking, and 91 percent said they prefer using mobile apps to going into the branch. By looking at the statistics revealed by the Citi study, banks and credit unions can see that customer expectations for mobile capabilities are on the rise, so what do financial institutions need to do to keep customers engaged? First off, financial institutions must expand their service offerings available on mobile banking channels to create more customer loyalty and keep customers engaged. To no surprise, customers also expect these services to be completely frictionless, fast, convenient and safe. Lastly, customers are used to opening apps and having unique and tailored content to their preferences. Financial institutions need to keep the needs and wants of the customer top-of-mind to offer applicable and timely services.

5. Detailed Data Analytics

The banking industry is focused on developing artificial intelligence (AI) to leverage real-time consumer data and automation to increase operational efficiency and creates a more individualized experience for new and returning customers. AI plays an important role in the success of some of the above technologies. For example, the use of data helps chatbots provide more accurate answers and creates tailored experiences through mobile banking channels. AI is expected to pave the way to the future of banking by making transactions convenient, easier and personalized.

Through my research and experiences with clients, I’ve learned that it is important for banks and credit unions to leverage new technology to stay current with competitors and increase efficiencies, but it is vital that they humanize the technology. Customers don’t want to feel like technology has replaced humans, but that the technology works in conjunction with them.

Steve Sharp

Vice President
Hometown: Marietta, Georgia
Alma Mater: University of Georgia
Tennis player, Gym fanatic, Travel junkie and Fan of College football.