An Affordable Way for Community Banks to Compete in Online Banking

Posted by Bethany Wood on Thu, May 13, 2021
Bethany Wood

Untitled design (31)The banking industry is completely changing (and fast!) due to this global pandemic. While banks are typically slow to adopt technological changes, the pandemic has accelerated this process by years. Digital offerings are not just conveniences anymore, but legitimate necessities for customers now. This adaptation can be more difficult for community banks with more limited resources than it is for large banks, but community banks still want to be players in the game.

Successful banks meet the demands of their market, but this can be a difficult feat in a world where consumers have contradictory demands. They want fast, digital, and online services, but they still want the human touch of bank branches, in-person services, and real people to answer the phone.

You have to appeal to customers who don’t have time to visit a branch and wish to do their banking online or via mobile apps, while also catering to customers who don’t even have an email address. Community banks are also responsible for helping the communities that they serve. All aspects are necessary, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accomplish.

In a conversation we had with Franklin, W.Va-based Pendleton Community Bank, president and CEO Bill Loving recognizes the bank must be more high tech with a smaller pool of resources. “What community banks do best is high-touch and in-person, but they also have to compete. You do not want to lose customers, who do not always have time to go to a meeting with a banker, to an online competitor. You want them to have that opportunity with your bank. It has to be the same.”

“Post-pandemic and even pre-pandemic, we need to be both high-tech and high-touch. Community banks have to provide the channels that the customer demands. Some will be in-person, some online,” says Loving. “There are a lot of online solutions out there, but they can be pricey. In a community bank and rural marketplace, we’re not going to get the volume of online applications that more metropolitan areas would get, but we still need to provide a resource so that we can be a player in the online presence and online market while still delivering that in-person product.”

Pendleton Community Bank has found Teslar to be a reliable, affordable platform that enables them to successfully compete. Teslar allows the bank to have online applications while still keeping their focus on high quality in-person services. Both online applications and in-person applications are routed to the Teslar system for organization and visibility.

“Teslar gives us a single platform to use that allows myself, lenders, operations, whomever, to get the information they need. Everyone sees items such as prepopulated reports in the exact same way. This information can also be the basis to help drive goals and objectives. I see Teslar as a key player in both the sales side and the portfolio management side,” states Loving.

Fintechs are often seen as competitors in the banking industry, but the right fintech partnership can be a great benefit to a community bank. For banks like Pendleton, Teslar provides an affordable way to compete in the online market. Teslar also provides tools to streamline processes and boost efficiencies within community banks, freeing up bankers’ time to focus on those high-touch experiences that really make community banks stand out.


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In this webinar, Joe Ehrhardt discusses leveraging technology and digital experiences to turn your PPP customers into loyal lifetime customers. PPP provided an influx of new customers for community banks. Of course you want to continue doing business with them, but you drastically altered your operations to serve these new customers digitally throughout the pandemic with unmatched speed and attention. What can you do to keep up that expectation without becoming inefficient in the process?

Topics: News, Banking, Technology

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