Don’t Let Your Community Financial Institution Get Eclipsed!

Sean Galli
Don’t Let Your Community Financial Institution Get Eclipsed!

On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse was visible in parts of the United States. The eclipse clocked in at just over four minutes, but some local governments declared disaster declarations due to the unusual influx of people. This incredible event “eclipsed” work, school and more in areas that experienced it.

There’s an eclipse problem among community financial institutions too…and it’s not caused by solar phenomena.

The changing industry environment is smothering too many community banks and credit unions. It’s time to recognize what’s going on and fight to keep pace before the lights go out forever.

Risks You Can’t See

Without special glasses, you couldn't look at the eclipse. It would've blinded you.

Community financial institutions tend to leave their metaphorical glasses at home. They are so scared of being blinded that they never dare to look up. They assume the risk is too great.

But they’re missing a key risk: the risk of doing nothing. The risk brought about by excessive safety and caution. In a traditionally conservative industry, these anti-risk tendencies are difficult to break.

Still, you must break them. You must try new marketing ideas, invest in technology and flip your service model upside down. Accept risk, and you may accept some failure. But you also increase chances of growth.

Missing the Show

Not everyone experienced the eclipse. Maybe they lived in an unaffected part of the country or couldn’t get glasses in time. Whatever the reason, they missed the show.

And your community financial institution is missing the show too.

FinTechs and mega banks are swooping into your territory and stealing the very consumers who should flock to you. Many FinTech lenders target the underserved with unsecured personal loans. The largest banks also see an opening with serving the underserved.

TD Bank is opening 15 new locations to serve majority-minority areas. Chase is rapidly expanding its branch strategy, with plans to develop branches in lower income and rural areas.

Helping those in need is supposed to be what community banks and credit unions do. Not FinTechs or the big guys. Reexamine your business practices and see if you’re really living out your mission.

Because you can’t afford to miss the show…and you can’t afford to let competitors steal it either.

Attract Attention

Few things attract attention like a total solar eclipse. It’s a sight to behold. But community financial institutions often lack the same allure.

This is usually a brand problem, both in how its presented and how its operationalized.

First, many community bank and credit union brands have outdated messaging, targets and visuals. Their websites are scarily old as well. In short, the times passed by the brand. If you’re in this situation, it’s time for a rebrand.

Second, your staff doesn’t always live your brand. The brand doesn’t translate into your service standards. And if employees don’t live the brand, consumers will never love the brand. Conduct consumer experience training to align your brand to your experience.

Ready to step into the light? On The Mark Strategies helps with strategy, branding and training to ensure nothing eclipses your growth. Book a free consultation now.

Sean Galli
Marketing Coordinator