It’s no secret that technology has dramatically changed the way most people bank over the past decade. Online and mobile banking transactions have soared in recent years as consumers have embraced these time-saving options. According to Javelin Marketing Research, mobile banking adoption is growing at over 20% annually, and over 30% of users access mobile banking at least once a day.
Not surprisingly, the growing popularity of online bill pay has led to a steep drop in check use. The Federal Reserve reports that the number of checks written fell nearly 25% from 2009 through 2012. This steady decline is expected to continue in coming years.
Teller transactions have also declined significantly as a result of customers performing transactions online. Right here at Highland Bank, we’ve seen in-person customer transactions drop by 52% since 2008. It’s clear our customers now do many transactions online that they formerly performed at branches. The number of Online Banking users has surged nearly 40% over the past seven years, and Mobile Banking use is now growing even more rapidly.
Small Bank — Big on Technology
While many community banks have been slow to adopt and invest in new online and mobile banking technologies, Highland Bank has strived to keep up with much larger competitors. “We routinely upgrade our technology so we can offer advanced online and mobile banking services with just as many features as the larger banks in the area,” said Andrew Dahlen, Senior Vice President and Director of Branch Banking. “In fact, we were one of the first community banks in the Twin Cities to offer Mobile Deposit. And while some banks charge a fee for mobile deposits, at Highland Bank they’re always free,” Dahlen noted.
With Mobile Deposit, customers simply click and submit photos of the front and back of checks with their smart phones to make deposits. It’s a convenience few community banks offer, one that’s rapidly catching on with Highland Bank customers. Mobile deposit transactions are up nearly 25% in the past year alone.
Our customers can now do most of their banking by computer or mobile device if they wish. And new services in development will soon simplify banking even further.
Still the Same Personal Service You Deserve
While technology has certainly changed banking, one thing hasn’t changed at Highland Bank: our commitment to providing personal and caring service to all customers. Patti Hutton, Branch Manager at our Bloomington location, sums up how Highland Bank strives to deliver the convenience and care customers seek:
“Outstanding service is a constant expectation of ours. We have standards in place to ensure our customers always have a positive experience at our branches. And we survey customers to make sure we’re living up to expectations—theirs as well as ours.”
“I feel our in-person service is second to none,” continued Hutton. “If our customers have questions or issues, they can quickly get help from a friendly local banker. We take time to get to know them and their family, and do whatever we can to help. We balance checkbooks for customers who are struggling. We even call customers who overdraft frequently and help them find alternate banking solutions to better manage their funds and avoid fees,” she noted.
According to Hutton, customers notice and appreciate the personal attention. “I’m pleased to say that our results routinely rank above the 95% level of satisfaction,” she said proudly.
Redesigned Branches That Will Enhance the Customer Experience
It’s inevitable that the big changes caused by the popularity of online and mobile banking would soon lead to changes in the design of bank branches, both in the Twin Cities and around the world. Highland Bank is again taking a proactive approach by updating our local branches.
Our Minnetonka Branch Is Slated for Redevelopment
Construction will begin soon on a smaller and much more modern Minnetonka branch. Highland’s senior leaders have spent countless hours planning the new design, which will be the prototype for our banks of the future.
“Technology has reduced customer bank visits, but Highland Bank’s presence in the communities we serve is as important as ever,” notes Andrew Dahlen. “In addition, fewer teller transactions have led to the consolidation of teller and banker positions into a combined Universal Banker role — a banker that can handle just about any customer request,” he elaborated.
“Our goal for the new Minnetonka branch, and eventually our other branches, is to redesign the lobby to better suit the reasons customers still visit the bank, and to enable our Universal Bankers to efficiently handle all types of transactions,” Dahlen emphasized. He then outlined key changes customers can expect at the updated branch:
- A smaller lobby with Universal Banking Stations instead of a traditional teller line.
- Advanced ATMs where you can cash checks and make a deposit without an envelope.
- A Technology Bar, where customers can learn about and enroll in Online Banking and Mobile Banking.
Keep an eye out for news about upcoming changes at other Highland Bank locations!