Over half of consumers (56%) said they don’t choose local banks or credit unions for their primary banking account because they aren’t convenient. And, despite popular rhetoric, they weren’t talking about mobile applications or technology. These individuals were saying local institutions didn’t have enough branches or ATMs.
Really? Branches and ATMs?!
Yes. Branches and ATMs. Look, we get it. There is a large chunk of people, especially younger consumers, that don’t think banking in a branch is necessary. But an almost equal number of consumers disagree.
If that isn’t confusing enough, even people who think branches don’t matter have literally been in a branch recently.
Even during the lockdowns of 2020 sixty-one percent of Americans said they would still feel comfortable walking into a branch. And, when it comes to ATMS, eighty-seven percent of consumers take ATM fees into consideration when selecting their primary banking institution.
But why do physical locations matter?
As the number of branch locations continues to shrink, so does the amount of signage and brand presence within individual communities. In the meantime, large, national financial institutions invest in bombarding consumers with digital ads, paid social media, and billboards that make them seem omnipresent.
And, while over sixty-five percent of US consumers use their financial institution’s digital banking platforms, it is not the only way they choose to bank. Consumers between 18 and 34 years visit the ATM an average of 7.1 times per month to get cash and another 4.7 times per month to deposit funds. A recent study showed close to seventy percent of Americans stepped foot inside a bank branch within the last year.
Clearly, current and potential account holders still desire a physical connection to their financial institution. So, why would they be choosing “big banks” that only have a superficial presence in their communities?
Perception often trumps reality.
All that advertising from larger financial institutions that makes it seem like they are everywhere? People buy into it. When they see a brand regularly in their social feeds, while they are driving, or on ATM signage, it sticks in their brain. The more often they see it, the more likely they are to internalize the brand. And, even if the brand is on a billboard or on their phone, a consumer will start to register it as a part of their everyday lives.
Credit unions and smaller community banks don’t necessarily have the large quantities of cash required to advertise at that level. But they DO have the ability to leverage their very real presence through a series of simple maneuvers like:
- Emphasize local branch branding with large, prominently placed, colorful signs.
- Show off your off-premise technology with fully wrapped ATMs.
Of course, there is always the digital playing field, as well. Local institutions should consider investing in targeted social media advertising and enhancing their online SEO videos, targeted content, and a robust Branch and ATM locator.
Let your local community know how convenient your financial institution really is with the Wave2 Branch and ATM locator. Our innovative, interactive system integrates seamlessly with your financial institution’s website and mobile application.
In addition to an easy, fully branded implementation, the Wave2 locator continuously pulls in fully up-to-date listings of all your network partner locations – including shared branches, shared ATMs, and surcharge-free ATM networks. This can help to change the public perception of your institution by building cardholder awareness of of all those nationwide locations as a powerful extension of your convenient access network. Contact Wave2 today to discover more!
Jason Green, Co-Founder
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