Community bankers often work in lean organizations, wear multiple hats and spend most of their time focused on customers. Becoming digital banking experts who are up to date on new technology is a luxury many find out of reach – even though consumer trends today demand that banks continue to invest in digital, user-friendly solutions.
As part of its commitment to support community banks, PULSE has teamed with Bankers Helping Bankers (BHB) to assist in this effort. The bankers-only platform, together with PULSE, will provide resources to help BHB members leverage the full potential of their debit programs – strengthening operations, mitigating fraud risks and engaging account holders.
“There are a lot of community banks that participate in the PULSE network, and this partnership with BHB is very much in line with the mutual clients that we serve.”
Jeff Brandt, Senior Vice President, Business Development, at PULSE
Such resources are key to the BHB mission of enabling community banks to come together to address shared challenges, operate more efficiently and discover new income sources. A collaboration between the Independent Bankers Association of Texas and FedFis, an Austin, Texas-based organization that provides fintech data analytics, the BHB platform is aimed at providing community bankers the ability to share insights and get advice.
“Bankers Helping Bankers enables busy bankers to not just share information, but also to be able to discern what might be an optimal choice for them,” explained Jeff Brandt, Senior Vice President, Business Development, at PULSE. “It helps speed up the process of technology selection and implementation.”
Bankers talking to bankers
BHB is built on the idea that the best advice comes from other bankers. Among its many benefits, BHB helps financial institutions evaluate and partner with fintechs. For example, if a community bank is considering changing one of its mobile banking providers, it can find feedback from other banks that have worked with the company.
The platform provides commentary on all aspects of that relationship, such as service, product and support, and it allows bankers to ask one another questions. “If you’ve ever been in a room with community bankers, you know there is a lot of trust,” Brandt explained. “If a banker hears something from another banker, it’s someone who has their collective best interests at heart and wants to offer the best advice they can.”
Community banks face unique challenges
Because many community banks operate with an array of technology platforms, they can struggle to integrate new technologies. This can create not only operational challenges but also a disjointed consumer experience. (See our newsletter recap of the webinar, Every Moment Matters – Meeting the Demands of a New Customer Age, for ideas on improving the customer experience.) For instance, users may have access to mobile banking apps that are not integrated with other banking channels.
Community banks are also mindful of the special role they play in their region. As active community members and employers, they place an extraordinarily high value on exceptional customer service and appreciate the insights they get from their peers on key technological decisions.
“Instead of having to sort through all the options on their own, they can go on the BHB platform to quickly narrow down their choices,” Brandt said. “They do this based on the comments from their colleagues and other community bankers on aspects such as implementation, customer experience or how the technology integrates with a specific core platform.”
PULSE offers expert advice on debit programs
The partnership with BHB is a key component of the ongoing mission of PULSE, which is dedicated to providing community bankers with debit resources and solutions. Each year, for example, PULSE sponsors the Debit Issuer Study, an unbiased source of debit industry trends and insights.
PULSE can also help community banks leverage the Discover® Debit “front-of-card” solution. Discover Debit provides financial institutions with an opportunity to enhance their customer experience through cardholder benefits and marketing programs while increasing program profitability.
“There are a lot of community banks that participate in the PULSE network, and this partnership with BHB is very much in line with the mutual clients that we serve,” Brandt said.