There is a business cartoon that has been circulating around social media – a group of employees is holding court in a conference room. The manager at the head of the table declares, “Digital transformation is years away – I don’t see our company having to change anytime soon.” Meanwhile, outside the window just behind him swings a giant wrecking ball labeled “COVID-19.”
The term “bank” never appears, but there is no sector for which the message rings truer. While the migration of banks and credit unions to digital channels has been underway for several years, of course, the national brands have been the most aggressive, creating an online capabilities gap over most community financial institutions. Given the pandemic-prompted closing of most branches and the energetic push of customers of all stripes toward remote channels, those investments by the largest institutions seem more prescient than ever.