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Gambling addiction. Is it a problem for banks? You bet it is.

 

Let's face it. An addiction to gambling is, yes, a problem for banks. But, it's a much bigger problem than that.

American Banker just ran an article on banks and gambling: Why Gambling is Suddenly a Problem for Banks. The timing of this article makes perfect sense … to me, anyway, as there seems to be a significant increase in the marketing messaging around gambling … especially during NFL games.

It used to be beers that occupied the ad airwaves during football games. Now it seems to be brands such as DraftKings and FanDuel. There are sites, too, that hawk these brands, such as “Covers.” Here’s the kind of stuff you’ll find there: “New bettors that register with the online sportsbook today receive $200 in Bonus Bets, plus any cash winnings, after an initial $5 wager. The bottom line: Make an initial $5 qualifying bet and automatically receive an instant boost to your DraftKings account, regardless of the outcome of the wager and without the use of a DraftKings promo code.” Same as the commercials. These brands are spending big money hooking new customers with promotional offers

How big a problem is this? For starters, the impact of problem gambling stretches beyond the individual struggling to overcome it. Gambling addiction also has an inherent “social cost,” experts say; a cost that is paid by American taxpayers. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) estimates that the annual national social cost of problem gambling is $7 billion. These costs include gambling-related criminal justice and healthcare spending as well as job loss, bankruptcy, and other consequences. This number, the association says, is probably far below the actual cost as numbers are hard to track, and there's not a whole lot of research being done on the subject. Also, according to their site, and just as frightening is this: “60 to 80 percent of high-school students have gambled in the past year, and 14 to 19 percent either fit the criteria of having a gambling problem or are showing ‘signs of losing control.’” A February 2023 article in Money even went as far as to call sports gambling a “ticking time bomb” with “addiction at an all-time high and getting worse.” 

According to a recent 60 Minutes segment titled “Sports betting boom fuels concerns about problem gambling,” 50 million men regularly bet on sports and Americans have spent more than a quarter of a TRILLION dollars on sports betting. A contributing factor that looms large? Placing bets has become easier than ever. Who needs a bookie when you can place a bet on just about anything, anywhere, anytime simply by opening an app on your phone? 

Much like drug or alcohol abuse, a gambling disorder is a diagnosable, chronic mental health disorder. Studies have shown that society has a greater understanding of, and sympathy for, individuals who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. Why? A gambling problem is viewed as one that’s far easier to control. In reality, problem gambling and substance abuse are very similar: Both come with higher-than-average rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior. According to the National Association of Addiction Professionals, problem gambling has the highest suicide attempt rate (up to 20%) of all addictions.

How does gambling impact banks? The debt that comes with it. Research has shown that excessive gambling and debt are strongly connected. Those with clinical problem gambling often have high levels of debt and the severity of the gambling problem correlates with the amount of debt. A gambler’s debt can be secured or unsecured and research tells us that gamblers most often finance their debt with credit cards and unsecured loans … money management instruments with higher interest rates. Of course, in order to be profitable, banks need that debt to be paid. The worry right now, for the banking community, is that it won’t be. Which is why we’ve created ad campaigns on the subject. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

Bank Marketing Center

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication — developed by banking industry marketing professionals — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. Like these campaigns that community banks can run to help educate their customers on the extremely real, and dangerous risks of gambling.

We are excited to announce that we have added video editing capabilities to our suite of services. (Yet another reason to make bankmarketingcenter.com your partner in compelling marketing messaging!) Along with the functionality our bank partners already enjoy, such as ChatGPT, they'll now be able to:

  • Animate static elements like text, shapes, and photos
  • Upload and trim your own video clips
  • Access a growing library of stock videos provided by Getty Images
  • Add and edit multiple scenes and transition between them
  • Produce more engaging social content, more professional digital signage displays, or even a full blown commercial

To learn more about this new feature, our bank partners can click here to view the educational video. To view our newest marketing creative, both print and digital, visit our website. If you're not yet a partner, go to the bankmarketingcenter.com homepage and register for a one-on-one personalized demo. You’ll learn why over 300 financial institutions have chosen us as their bank marketing partner. You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. 

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5 community bank marketing trends to think about

What will community bank marketing look like in the coming year? For many, this year will mean taking advantage of the technologies, such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning), that can enhance their business across the enterprise. They’ll also continue to leverage social media, as its role in the overall marketing mix continues to grow.  And, they’ll make sustainable business practices a core component of their growth strategy. So, what can community banking’s C-level leadership be thinking about as we move into a new year?

1. Embracing the hyper-personalized digital experience

In our increasingly digital world, along with the growing customer expectation of convenient, seamless service, personalization is key; especially in attracting and retaining the younger, more digitally savvy customers that now comprise nearly 50% of the U.S. population. Leverage data insights to personalize online interactions – the mobile experience, in particular – tailoring content and offers to match individual customer needs and preferences. Utilize AI-driven tools to create personalized experiences across digital platforms, enhancing customer engagement and satisfaction. What are consumers looking for in mobile experience? 24/7 access, features that track expenses and make it easier to save, easy P2P payment options, and enhanced security, to name a few.

“Generative AI, epitomized by the release of ChatGPT, empowers banks to provide hyper-personalized customer experiences like never before. By analyzing vast amounts of data and understanding individual preferences, banks can craft tailored financial solutions, recommend investment opportunities and offer real-time assistance that resonates with each customer's unique needs.”1

This is critical when you consider the fact that 70% of people rate personalization as “highly important” to their banking experience.2

2. Implementing and marketing sustainable banking practices

To most, the word connotes “going green” by choosing paper over plastic, recycling rather than committing trash to a landfill, or driving fewer miles. For financial institutions, that notion of sustainability barely scratches the surface. With growing pressure from customers, employees, the federal government, and a wide range of both state and federal regulatory agencies, banks must now address what is known as the “Triple Bottom Line” (TBL) – people, planet, and profit.

How? By incorporating sustainable banking practices into their lending, operations, human resources, and management of physical assets. Incorporate sustainability into your bank’s marketing strategy. Highlight eco-friendly initiatives, such as paperless options, green financing, or community sustainability projects. Demonstrate a commitment to environmental and social responsibility. Those banks that do, and act on internal and external sustainability initiatives, will ultimately have a competitive advantage. 

3. Enhancing customer service with AI and ML

By automating the capture and analysis of customer interactions across various channels - such as chatbots, call logs, emails, and social media - artificial intelligence and machine learning can assist banks in gauging customer satisfaction levels and pain points, as well as responding more promptly to customer questions and concerns. 

AI can power robust customer experience functions, such as chatbots, as well as help with processes such as gathering, storing, and validating customer data from across the enterprise. Machine learning can sift through emails, reviews, and other customer interactions to understand the sentiments behind them, thereby helping to predict customer behavior, enhance their experience, drive loyalty, and improve retention rates. All while adding greater efficiency and accuracy to manual, labor-intensive and error-prone, "human-in-the-loop" processes. 

4. Leveraging social media platforms and messaging

Why are social media platforms the ideal messaging platforms for community banks? Because social media IS community. Unlike the large, national banks, community banks are in the business of participating in their communities and, importantly, helping people through relationships. Community banking, at its core, is about connecting with customers on a personal level. And isn’t that what social media is all about?

According to the ABA’s 2023 State of Social Media in Banking, “three out of four (76%) banking executives agree or strongly agree that social media is important to their banks.” And why not? After all, social platforms can do a great deal; help you connect with your customers, build relationships and trust, increase awareness about your brand, and boost your leads and sales. How will forward-thinking banks make use of these powerful engagement tools? They’ll introduce new products, cross sell, gain valuable insights into customer preferences and market trends, improve their customer service support, offer financial management guidance, celebrate their employees and community involvement, attract new talent … the list goes on.

5. Leveraging data for better decision making

Unstructured data, or "big data," is the data associated with a whole new world of data sources that includes social media, image and video files, document scans, webpages, blog posts, call center recordings, emails, analytics, metadata, and more. This data lacks a defined organization or pre-set pattern, can range in size from a few bytes to very large documents and represents, by far, the lion's share of the data that banks process daily. It's estimated, in fact, that 80-90% of data generated daily is unstructured and the growth of unstructured data is climbing at 55-65% each year.3

This is where automation can, again, play a key role. Leverage data analytics to make informed marketing decisions. Analyze customer behavior, preferences, and engagement patterns to refine marketing strategies. Use these insights to create targeted campaigns that resonate with specific customer segments and maximize marketing ROI.

What next?

Community bank marketing in 2024 is rich with opportunity. Forward-thinking banks will take steps toward Integrating sustainable business practices, making the most of digital innovations, engaging the community via social media, and offering a seamless, customer-centric experience from in-branch to “in-hand.” What we’re all learning is that the future of banking lies in embracing automation and harnessing the power of data to unlock new avenues of growth and success. And that future is now. 

Bank Marketing Center

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers; the messaging — developed by banking industry marketing professionals — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue.  Now, through our partnership with ChatGPT, customizing our layouts is even faster and easier. With the addition of AI-assisted content development, our clients can very quickly generate articles they need for newsletters and blogs and any other content they might need in their marketing efforts.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

 

1Forbes. Enabling Next-Generation Customer Experiences Through Banking Innovation. September 7, 2023.

2Capco Intelligence: Insights for Investments to Modernize Digital Banking.

3CIO Insight. How Businesses Use Unstructured Data for Business Intelligence. February 15, 2023.

 

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Is your bank marketing missing a generation or two?

As you’re well aware, banking customers now have more choices than they ever have. They also have greater access to a vast amount of data and information, which makes shopping for a “better” banking experience about as easy as it can get. This means competition is fierce, for both consumers’ attention and their business. … and not just from traditional financial institutions, either. Today, a community bank’s competition comes from the big nationals, regionals, other community banks, well-funded, loosely-regulated non-banks … the list gets longer every day.

CX is king

If any of us in the banking industry has learned anything, especially since the pandemic, customer experience (CX) is king, and that a financial institution’s survival depends on its ability to meet the sky-high service expectations of the marketplace. The segments of that marketplace that are particularly critical, not just to banks but all businesses, are the Millennials and GenZs. Why? Together they comprise 1) nearly 50% of the U.S. population, and 2) they are the banking consumers of the present AND future, those individuals who are just beginning their financial journeys. 

So, segmentation and personalization are, or at least should be, at the top of any community bank’s marketing efforts. The key takeaway is this: When it comes to bank marketing, one size does not fit all. Especially when you consider that 70% of people rate personalization as “highly important” to their banking experience.1

Just how seriously do those individuals take their bank’s customer experience? Pretty seriously. Couple that with the current economic environment and you have nearly three quarters of banking Americans exploring ways to cut expenses, including a bank’s fees and recurring charges. Sixty-three percent are looking for ways to balance saving time and saving money. What does this mean for a community bank? It means people want to know their bank will reward their loyalty, help them save money and time, and generally make life easier. In addition to cutting costs, consumers are also looking for help managing their finances. According to a June 2022 survey by Vericast, 44% of respondents say they get their financial advice from friends or family. Only 31% turn to their financial institution for financial advice.2

Here’s an opportunity for the community banks to do what they do best; build upon those trusted relationships and offer financial guidance in the way of workshops, as well as scheduling one-on-one meetings with financial planning specialists.

The up-and coming generations

What happens when these up-and-coming Millennial and Gen Z banking services consumers don’t receive the customer experience they’d like and expect?  They “vote with their feet,” as the saying goes.  In fact, they don’t even need to use their feet!  They can now switch banks in less than five minutes using nothing more than a mobile app. And Millennials and Generation Z have the greatest tendency to make the jump from one institution to another, with 53% of millennials and 42% of Gen Z changing financial institutions in the past two years.3

What you need to know about Gen Z

For starters, Gen Z’ers, contrary to popular belief, don’t spend every waking hour on TikTok and texting. They actually like to mix a bit of analog (or what some are calling “vintage” technology, such as record players, flip phones, and disposable cameras) in with their digital lives. 

To reach Gen Z with your financial institution’s offers, consider focusing on deposits, BNPL, and card incentives. This banking consumer wants to build their savings, but roughly only 25% of Gen Z surveyed indicated they had saved $1,000 or more for unexpected expenses or bills.3  To help Gen Z customers, and potential customers, meet their financial goals, community banks would do well to provide easily accessed education tools through the web, social media and apps.

What you need to know about Millennials

Members of this generation see how other industries use tech and communication to improve the customer experience and expect the same from their financial institution. They’re in a busy stage of life, too, and here is where CX technologies and practices can come into play. Text messaged offers, auto controls and convenience are all critical as they balance the demands of time, work/ life responsibilities and resources. Millennials want offers and information on how you can help them. Establish your position as a trusted advisor to save them money on the things they want and need to build loyalty. Most importantly, invest in this relationship now because as they get older, while they will also be exploring more and more financial services and products, they will also become less receptive to financial institution messages.

Bank Marketing Center

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers; the messaging — developed by banking industry marketing professionals — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue.  Like these ads on our portal that you can use to market to younger, digitally savvy customers.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

 

1,2Capco, Capco Intelligence: Insights for Investments to Modernize Digital Banking.

3The Center for Generational Kinetics, The State of Gen Z 2021-2022, October 2021.

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How to use ChatGPT prompts in bank marketing

It’s obvious that we’re fans of ChatGPT. After all, back in July, we added AI-assisted content development to our suite of bankmarketing.com solutions through the integration of ChatGPT. With the addition of AI-assisted content development, clients can very quickly generate articles they need for newsletters and blogs and any other content they might need in their marketing efforts, including suggestions for their marketing plans. In short, the addition of this technology makes the creation of marketing content even simpler. Perhaps you have an extremely lean marketing team, or your marketing team members have no design or writing skills. In either scenario, ChatGPT is a true lifesaver.  

If you’re not intimately familiar with ChatGPT and its capabilities in terms of bank marketing, read on. As community bankers, it’s essential that you understand the benefits of this amazing technology.

For starters, ChatGPT, is by definition, an AI-powered conversational agent that can optimize a community bank’s marketing resources, deliver more engaging and meaningful customer experiences, and in so doing, drive revenue growth.

Ok, I know what it is. Now, how do I use it?

ChatGPT is certainly a great tool in creating content … if you know how to use it. To that end, we’ve included a few tips that will help – that is, if you haven’t already mastered it – to, at least,  get you started. 
Here’s what I did. I opened ChatGPT and used the prompt, "What should I promote in January as a financial institution?" ChatGPT generated the following response:

“In January, consider focusing on financial products and services that align with common New Year’s resolutions, financial planning, and seasonal trends. It then suggests marketing your investment products such as IRAs, as well as offering financial management workshops that can be considered a way to address a New Year’s resolution to better manage money.”

If you do not like the initial generated idea, use the prompt again and it will generate a different response. If you like the initial response and you want to write, say, a blog on the subject, you can then prompt ChatGPT with: “Write a 750-word article on why it's a good idea for banking customers to investigate investment products and financial management education in the New Year.”  The program will give you this, as a start:

“As the New Year begins, it presents an opportune time for banking customers to delve into investment products and financial management education. While resolutions often revolve around health and personal goals, prioritizing financial well-being can be equally crucial. Exploring investment opportunities and seeking financial education in the early months of the year can pave the way for a more secure and prosperous financial future.”

Pretty good, right? Again, if you’re not happy, prompt the program again for a different response.  You can continue to prompt the program, slightly modifying your prompts, until you’re happy with the response. You can modify your prompt as well. For instance, you can prompt ChatGPT with “make this article more conversational,” and you’ll get an entirely different response again. 

Next, say you’re working on an ad and can’t come up with a great headline. Use the prompt: "Write a headline for why it's a good idea for banking customers to investigate investment products and financial management education in the New Year. ChatGPT will give you this: “Empower Your Finances: Explore Investment Opportunities and Financial Education in the New Year for Greater Prosperity" Again, if you don’t like it, use the prompt again until your AI content assistant provides you with a headline you love!

How well does ChatGPT work?  You decide.  Back in July, we prompted ChatGPT to “write a 750-word article on how to get the most out of using ChatGPT in writing marketing content.” This is what our AI-assisted writer came up with. Now, is ChatGPT the award-winning writer you’d love working on your bank marketing? Perhaps not. Sometimes he/she can be a bit, well, “loose” with the facts, so it’s always good to do a bit of fact checking. But, it's a great tool for the novice, and even the professional writer who will occasionally suffer from a case of writer’s block.  PS: Never input information that you don’t want to share with everyone on the planet!

Want to learn more about prompting? Check out our video!

Bank Marketing Center

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers; the messaging — developed by banking industry marketing professionals — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue.  Now, through our partnership with ChatGPT, customizing our layouts is even faster and easier. With the addition of AI-assisted content development, our clients can very quickly generate articles they need for newsletters and blogs and any other content they might need in their marketing efforts.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

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Fair Lending practices: An essential element of your bank marketing mix.

Community banks are the bedrock of local economies, fostering financial growth and stability within their neighborhoods. As cornerstones of trust and service, these institutions hold a significant responsibility not only to provide financial support but also to ensure equity and fairness in their lending practices. Implementing and steadfastly following Fair Lending practices isn't just a regulatory necessity; it's a fundamental commitment that strengthens community ties and fosters inclusivity.

What is Fair Lending? Fair lending prohibits lenders from considering your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability when applying for residential mortgage loans. Fair lending guarantees the same lending opportunities to everyone, and that the process is based solely on the individual’s financial qualifications. How is this guarantee enforced? The federal Fair Housing Act protects an individual’s fair lending rights. The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity enforces the federal Fair Housing Act and state and local enforcement agencies enforce fair housing laws that are substantially equivalent to the federal Fair Housing Act. 

Lending discrimination can occur at any stage of a home purchase or refinancing process. For example, if a lender refuses to make a mortgage loan because of your race or ethnicity, or if a lender charges excessive fees to refinance your current mortgage loan based on your race or ethnicity, the lender is in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.

Understanding Fair Lending Practices

In order to facilitate the practice of fair lending, community banks are subject to various regulations, including the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), Fair Housing Act (FHA), and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Compliance with these regulations is essential to prevent discriminatory practices and promote fair access to credit and banking services. When put into practice, Fair Lending processes actively prevent discriminatory lending practices, including redlining (denying credit based on a neighborhood's demographics), steering (directing borrowers to less favorable loan products), and pricing disparities based on non-financial factors.

The Importance for Community Banks

As a community bank, upholding Fair Lending practices reinforces your reputation as a fair and ethical institution, one that represents the best of its community. This fosters trust among customers, investors, and the broader community, enhancing the bank's standing as a reliable financial partner. But trust isn’t the only benefit to Fair Lending. Fair access to credit fuels economic growth within the community. When banks ensure equitable lending, they empower both individuals and small businesses, facilitating entrepreneurship, job creation, and overall economic development.

As we all know, community banks are uniquely positioned to understand the needs and challenges specific to their community. Implementing Fair Lending practices allows them to tailor services and lending products that cater to the diverse requirements of their community members.

Why market your Fair Lending practices?

Simple. Marketing your Fair Lending practices demonstrates your commitment to fairness, equality, and social responsibility; the cornerstone to your reputation in the community. It’s a way to:

  • distinguish yourself from both the non-bank and the large national banks
  • engage customers beyond financial transactions
  • Invite your customers to be part of an ethical banking journey, aligning their values to your commitment to fairness and non-discrimination
  • reinforce the personalized service you’re known for
  • communicate your bank’s dedication to providing equal opportunities for credit access
  • empower underserved communities, encouraging those who live in them to seek financial assistance without fear of discrimination
  • reinforce your role as a driver of positive social change by promoting economic equality
  • enhance your reputation as an ethical institution

Effective Marketing Strategies for Fair Lending Practices

Educational Campaigns and Workshops

Hosting seminars and workshops on fair lending educates your community, showcasing your bank's commitment to Fair Lending practices, while empowering your customers with an understanding of their rights.

Digital and Social Media Messaging

Leveraging digital platforms to communicate fair lending messages broadens your bank’s reach. Social media advocacy campaigns can disseminate information effectively and quickly, while engaging a wide audience. Use your social media platforms and messaging to communicate your educational programs and your community partnerships.

Community Partnerships and Outreach

Collaborating with local organizations and participating in community events reinforces the bank's commitment to fairness. Such partnerships demonstrate a shared dedication to promoting inclusivity and equal access to credit.

Challenges and Considerations

Resource Allocation and Budgeting

Implementing marketing campaigns focused on Fair Lending practices requires dedicated resources and budgeting. Community banks might need to allocate additional funds and personnel.

Navigating Regulatory Compliance

Ensuring that marketing efforts comply with fair lending laws and regulations is essential. It is critical that your bank navigate these regulatory frameworks while effectively communicating their Fair Lending initiatives.

The promise of AI and Fair Lending

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized the banking industry, offering efficiency, accuracy, and personalized services. However, while AI presents a myriad of benefits, its application in lending decisions can potentially exacerbate biases and lead to unfair lending practices, such as:

  • Discriminatory Outcomes

Biased algorithms can result in discriminatory lending outcomes. For instance, AI might favor certain demographics or penalize others based on historical data, leading to unequal access to credit.

  • Reinforcement of Socioeconomic Disparities

If AI algorithms consider factors correlated with socioeconomic status, such as neighborhood demographics, they might inadvertently reinforce existing disparities, limiting opportunities for marginalized communities.

  • Legal and Reputational Risks

Unfair lending practices, whether intentional or unintentional, pose legal and reputational risks to banks. Lawsuits and damage to reputation can arise if AI systems are found to perpetuate discrimination.

What next? Strengthening Communities through Fairness

Marketing fair lending practices isn’t just about compliance; it’s a demonstration of a community bank’s commitment to its core values and the community it calls home. By communicating their practices transparently, community banks can continue to foster trust, promote inclusivity, and reinforce their positive impact within their communities. 

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com – one of the industry’s most well-regarded providers of professionally-designed marketing materials to local banks – our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. Like these ads on our portal that you can use to market your Fair Lending practices.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

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Why your bank marketing should include "greenness."

Sustainability. To most, the word connotes “going green” by choosing paper over plastic, recycling rather than committing trash to a landfill, or driving fewer miles. In other words, modifying consumption behaviors to reduce the human carbon footprint on our shared earth. For financial institutions, that notion of sustainability barely scratches the surface. Granted, sustainable business practices have always played a role in banking operations and profitability (as well as bank marketing) but, today, those practices are even more vital. Why?

With growing pressure from employees, the federal government, a wide range of both state and federal regulatory agencies – and importantly, customers – it has become more critical than ever for banks to have a strategy in place for addressing what is known as the “Triple Bottom Line” (TBL) – people, planet, and profit - in their bank marketing.

Originating in 1994, the TBL initially encapsulated social equity, economic, and environmental factors. However, over time, this concept has evolved into broader frameworks like CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), and specialized concepts such as environmental P&L, impact investment, and carbon productivity.

Why sustainability is critical to bank marketing

According to a recent survey by Mambu, a financial services technology company, “findings demonstrate the sustainability opportunity for banks, as nearly half (49 per cent) of consumers say they would consider switching to a provider with a stronger commitment to sustainability.  And, just two in five (42 per cent) consumers think that their current bank or financial institution clearly communicates its sustainability commitments, with only 37 per cent knowing what climate pledges they have publicly announced or committed to.”

So, what does sustainability mean for community banks? Those banks that fail to value their ESG commitment may find themselves at a reputational disadvantage. And with it, a challenge to their goal of attracting and retaining customers. Simply put, there’s a new kind of customer out there. Today’s banking customer wants to know that their purchases are having an impact—and they’re willing to spend time researching a bank’s products, its social structure and environmental impact. Ergo, the better your community bank can present its commitment to sustainability—that is, to creating economic, social and environmental value—the more success it will have in attracting customers and creating long-lasting relationships with them. Now is the time, if you haven’t done so already, to make and market green initiatives in the marketplace. Switch to motion-sensor LED lighting in your branch locations, eliminate paper where possible (i.e., monthly statements), make use of remanufactured materials and energy efficient equipment where possible. Want more ideas? To discover more ways to go green, visit the Green Business Benchmark website.

How do you develop and reinforce those customer relationships? Yes, you should go green yourself and market that “feature” of your bank, but you can (and should) also encourage your customers to do the same. Create informative content, such as blog posts, videos, and infographics, highlighting the significance of sustainable practices and their positive environmental impact. Share practical suggestions with your customers on how sustainability can integrate into their daily lives, from conscious consumption to energy conservation and recycling. You can even involve them in the processes by asking for suggestions in controlled environments or organizing sustainability-focused events, seminars, or webinars to actively engage your audience. “By positioning yourself as a reliable source of information, you establish credibility and attract sustainable customers who prioritize sustainability in their lifestyles.”1

In conclusion, sustainability in banking is not just a buzzword—it's a transformative journey shaping the future of banking as “greenness” takes on increasing importance to consumers and with it, the bottom line for your community bank.

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com – one of the industry’s most well-regarded providers of professionally-designed bank marketing materials – our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. Like these ads on our portal that you can use to market your sustainability.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

1medium.com. How to Attract Customers with Sustainability: Building a Greener Future. October 11, 2023.

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Are your customers satisfied? Survey says …

 

Your community bank, and this certainly goes without saying, thrives on relationships.  Sure, offering products and services that consumers want is important, but there are a host of factors that drive customer satisfaction. In today's customer-centric landscape, where CX (Customer Experience) is paramount, success hinges on a banker’s ability to understand their client needs and preferences. What better way to gain these insights than to … well, simply ask. Hence, conducting customer satisfaction surveys stands as a crucial instrument for gauging satisfaction levels, pinpointing areas for improvement, and elevating the quality of your service.

According to HubSpot, “surveys should go beyond measuring the KPI of satisfaction to identifying the factors that have the biggest impact on customer satisfaction. That way, as soon as unsatisfied customers are identified, the business can quickly respond to the cause of the dissatisfaction and address it.”

The Significance of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

  1. Insightful Feedback

Customer satisfaction surveys act as a direct channel for customers to voice their experiences, opinions, and grievances. This feedback is invaluable, providing bankers with a deeper understanding of client expectations, and providing insights into strategies for tailoring their services accordingly.

  1. Enhanced Service Quality

By analyzing survey data, banks can identify pain points and areas where improvement is needed. This proactive approach helps in refining services, streamlining processes, and ultimately enhancing the overall customer experience.

  1. Customer Retention and Loyalty

A satisfied customer is more likely to remain loyal. By addressing concerns highlighted in surveys, banks exhibit a commitment to their customers' well-being, fostering trust and loyalty which, in turn, reduces churn rates.

  1. Competitive Edge

In a highly competitive industry, banks that consistently deliver exceptional customer service gain a competitive edge. Customer satisfaction surveys aid in staying ahead by constantly adapting to evolving customer preferences.

Methods for Conducting Banking Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Having been in marketing for at least a few decades, and having been involved in all forms of consumer research – including many, many surveys – I think that it’s important to mention here that developing a survey that truly yields useful insights is tougher than one might think.  It’s much more involved than asking a question and offering multiple choice answers.

SurveyMonkey does provide examples of what they deem good survey questions here on their site. They also go on to say this about the challenges of executing a successful survey: “You open the survey in good faith, ready to provide wisdom to the organization that seemed to care about your opinion, only to find leading questions geared toward receiving glowing reviews.”

As you can imagine, although DIY surveys work pretty well, a survey can be tricky. If you feel you're not quite up to the task, you might consider consulting a third-party research professional who specializes in surveys. 

So, what are some of the different types of surveys you should consider? 

  1. Online Surveys

Utilizing online platforms for surveys provides convenience to customers. Email surveys, website pop-ups, or dedicated survey portals allow for quick feedback collection. These surveys should be succinct, easily navigable, and inclusive of various rating scales and open-ended questions. HubSpot and SurveyMonkey can be helpful here. 

  1. Mobile Applications

With the surge in smartphone usage, banks can leverage dedicated mobile apps to gather real-time feedback. Incorporating surveys within the app interface ensures accessibility and immediate responses from tech-savvy customers.

  1. Telephone Surveys

Personalized phone surveys can engage customers more directly, allowing for in-depth conversations to uncover nuanced feedback. They are a fabulous way to learn. However, this method often requires additional resources and can be time-consuming. If you can manage a telephone survey it is, in my opinion, high on the list in terms of gaining useful insights.

  1. In-Person Feedback Mechanisms

Branch visits, although somewhat impractical due to space and resource constraints, provide an opportunity for face-to-face interactions. Implementing feedback kiosks or dedicated service desks encourages customers to express their thoughts and concerns, fostering a brand perception built on trust and inclusion.

  1. Social Listening

Social listening is the monitoring of your social media platforms for any customer feedback, discussion or mention of your brand or products, industry topics, keywords, and more. Monitoring social media platforms enables you to track customer sentiment in real-time. Analyzing comments, messages, and mentions offers insights into immediate concerns and public perceptions.  A blog we posted a while back might be helpful in gaining more insights into “getting the most out of our social media.

Best Practices in Implementing Customer Satisfaction Surveys

  1. Clear Objectives and Questions

Define precise objectives for the survey and craft questions that directly address these goals. Clarity ensures that collected data aligns with the bank's improvement strategies.

  1. Consistent and Timely Surveys

Implement regular surveys at different touch points along the customer journey. Timely feedback helps in capturing immediate experiences, offering a holistic view of the customer lifecycle.

  1. Analyze and Act

Mere data collection is insufficient. Banks must diligently analyze survey results and take actionable steps to address concerns and capitalize on positive feedback.

  1. Engage Customers

Encourage participation by demonstrating the value of feedback. Offering incentives, such as discounts or entry into prize drawings, motivates customers to share their opinions.

  1. Transparent Communication

Once changes are implemented based on feedback, communicate these alterations to customers. Transparency in acknowledging their impact fosters trust and reinforces the importance of their input.

Get Started

Prioritize customer satisfaction through efficient, effective surveys and you will establish an image of your bank as responsive, trusted and customer-centric. Adopting diverse survey methods, analyzing feedback diligently, and acting upon it in a timely manner are the cornerstones of achieving unparalleled service, which is a necessity in today’s highly competitive banking services marketplace. 

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com – one of the industry’s most well-regarded providers of professionally-designed marketing materials to local banks – our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue.  

Now, through our partnership with ChatGPT, creating your own custom content is even faster and easier. With the addition of AI-assisted content development, our clients can very quickly generate articles they need for newsletters and blogs and any other content they might need in their marketing efforts.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

 

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Forrester’s Predictions for 2024. On the money? What do you think?

For those of you who may have missed it, the analyst firm Forrester just issued their report on what they believe the coming year holds for banks. Granted, there’s no crystal ball out there and, as we have all seen, experts have been struggling for years with predicting where the economy is headed. So, while I think many predictions should be taken with a grain of salt, I do think that what Forrester believes lies ahead is pretty much on the money (no pun intended). 

Where do we begin? With three US bank failures in the US and the last-minute rescue of a major Swiss bank. That certainly does not bode well for tranquility in the banking sector for the coming year. As usual, an air of uncertainty looms, hinting at potential challenges for banks in retaining deposits as they grapple with sustaining profit margins. The promising, yet uncertain and untested realm of AI technologies adds a layer of complexity; these technologies, according to Forrester, pose as many risks as they do benefits. Regulatory agencies find themselves compelled – by some of the inventors of these AI-powered technology solutions themselves – to take a more active role, especially in the US, where open banking finally garners long-overdue attention.

30% will shift deposits from primary institutions

Forecasts hint at a potential shift as thirty percent of customers consider redirecting their deposits away from their primary banks. An uncertain global economic outlook, combined with persistently high interest rates, continues to exert financial pressure on banking customers in the coming year. Having once reaped the benefits of increased loan interest rates, banks again find themselves now facing heightened scrutiny for not passing on similar benefits to consumers. Anticipating this, regulators are poised to clamp down on unfair savings rates and tighten controls. In response, cash-strapped banking consumers will do what they always do; vote with their feet. Challenger banks will seize the opportunity to attract these disenchanted consumers, capitalizing on the discontent surrounding savings rates. Apple Card’s introduction of a high-yield savings account, for example, successfully drew over $10 billion in deposits by promising a premium experience and cultivating an encompassing digital financial ecosystem for customers.

Technologies come with risk

Open banking, fostering the freer flow of funds, takes center stage in 2024 and prompted by the CFPB’s proposed rule on personal financial data rights, is challenging traditional banking models. Established banks find themselves compelled to reimagine their value propositions, seeking innovative ways to showcase their worth in the evolving landscape, fostering deposits, and nurturing loyalty in a competitive environment. Yet, despite intentions to invest in open banking technology, the majority of US banks falter in delivering consumer-facing solutions. And, it’s no wonder. With its promise comes risk; to financial privacy and the security of consumers' finances, as well as resulting liabilities.  

Furthermore, the fintech and traditional financial sectors pivot towards niche customer segments, striving to differentiate themselves in a saturated market. “While some fintechs collapse or pivot due to challenges in funding, and targeting niche audiences, others discern opportunities in designing inclusive financial products and experiences catering to specific needs or infrequent but impactful customer journeys.”1 Herein lies a tremendous opportunity for those banks, community banks in particular, that leverage their personalized (yet convenient and expedient) banking offerings, particularly through their online presence.

Within this landscape driven by digital transformation, the risks posed by AI-driven technologies are becoming more apparent (and perhaps exaggerated? No one really knows yet, do they?) every day. While the benefits of generative AI (genAI) are obvious in terms of driving customer experience, risk management, data management and more, without robust controls, it could prove catastrophic, leading to disastrous outcomes for banks. Despite banks’ efforts to pilot and regulate genAI usage, rogue operations might inadvertently breach privacy, copyright, or bias protocols, and regulatory scrutiny to name just a few. Forrester’s security and risk team foresees a rise in data breaches and fines attributable to AI-generated code security flaws, warning banks of potential repercussions if stringent governance is not in place. I agree wholeheartedly. GenAI is, at the moment, a loose cannon not only in terms of its uses, but what regulators will do (or at least try to do) to ensure “fair practices”in banking functions, such as the unbiased review of credit applications, as well as the protection of the customer’s personal data.

In the end, Forrester emphasizes that “failure to act is, unequivocally, a failure itself. That banks must cultivate trust in their technological endeavors, prioritize stakeholder trust, educate staff, uphold privacy principles, and institute appropriate governance to navigate this evolving terrain.”2 Easier said than done, I think, but both possible … and necessary.

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com – one of the industry’s most well-regarded providers of professionally-designed marketing materials to local banks – our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue.   

Now, through our partnership with ChatGPT, creating your own custom content is even faster and easier. With the addition of AI-assisted content development, our clients can very quickly generate articles they need for newsletters and blogs and any other content they might need in their marketing efforts.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.


1,2,Forrester. Predictions in Banking: 2024.

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10 tips for community banks ringing in the holidays

‘Tis the season! And although, chances are very good that over the years you’ve stepped away from sending out personally signed holiday cards to each of your customers, that doesn’t mean that there’s no longer an opportunity to strengthen those bonds and, perhaps, boost your brand and revenue at the same time.

Of course, the holiday season is an opportune time for your community bank to connect with customers, boost engagement, and reinforce your role as their local financial institution. As we move into the holiday season, it’s crucial that you make effective use of marketing strategies that resonate with your audience and build goodwill. Let’s explore just a few of the types of marketing activities you can and should consider in order to make the most of the holiday season.

1. Personalized Season's Greetings

Community banks thrive on personal connections, and the holiday season is the perfect time to showcase this. Send personalized season's greetings to your customers, acknowledging their loyalty and the community's shared values. Whether through email, physical cards, or even a festive video message, a thoughtful greeting can go a long way in strengthening a customer relationship, whether personal or business.

2. Holiday-Themed Content

Leverage your bank's blog, social media, and website to create holiday-themed content. Offer tips on budgeting for holiday expenses, the advantages of opening a holiday savings account, or even local event guides for the season. Tailoring your content to address the financial concerns and aspirations of your community during the holidays can position your bank as a helpful resource. Check out our portal and explore some of the content developed specifically for the holidays, from email holiday greetings and promotional banners to fun, festive, in-branch messaging.

3. Community Involvement

The holiday season is, as you know, synonymous with community events and charitable activities. Your community bank can showcase your commitment to your neighbors by actively participating in such local holiday events. Sponsor or host events like tree lighting ceremonies, toy drives, or food bank collections. These efforts demonstrate your bank's dedication to the well-being of the community. Create a calendar on your website, for example, that your website visitors can use to plan their activities over the holiday months.

4. Promotional Offers

Consider offering special holiday promotions or discounts on select banking services. These could include reduced fees for account openings, credit card interest rates, or even cashback rewards for holiday shopping. Perhaps a special offer on opening a Christmas Club account as a gift for a child or grandchild. Such promotions go a long way in attracting new customers and enhancing customer loyalty.

5. Your Small Business Customers

Many small businesses require financial assistance leading up to and during the holiday season. As their community bank, you can provide support and financial solutions tailored to small business needs. Highlight your commitment to these very important customers through targeted marketing campaigns that might, for instance, promote funding solutions – along with financial guidance – that will help your small business customers successfully navigate the holidays.

6. Social Media Engagement

Engage with your audience on social media platforms to share holiday messages, financial tips, and promotions. Host holiday-themed contests or giveaways to encourage interaction and increase your online presence. Respond promptly to customer inquiries and comments to reinforce your bank's commitment to customer service.

7. Financial Wellness Resources

Speaking of financial guidance, the holiday spending season can be a dangerous time for some. Promote financial wellness resources and tips on responsible holiday spending, savings, and managing credit card debt. These resources can be in the form of blog posts, downloadable guides, or educational videos. An off-shoot? Host financial workshops that cater to the unique challenges of the holiday season. Topics could include budgeting for gifts and travel, avoiding debt during the holidays, or optimizing credit card rewards for holiday shopping. Providing valuable financial education sets your bank apart as a trusted and concerned advisor.

8. Merchandise Local Relationships

Collaborate with local businesses for joint promotions. Offer discounts to customers who shop at participating local stores or dine at nearby restaurants. Supporting local businesses not only strengthens your community but also builds goodwill with customers.

9. Email Marketing Campaigns

Leverage email marketing to keep customers informed about holiday promotions, events, and tips. Send out regular newsletters with relevant content and offers. Personalize your emails to make customers feel valued and understood.  Need help putting a holiday newsletter together?  Using our new ChatGPT feature, you can create your own custom content … faster and easier than ever before. You’ll never sweat getting a newsletter out on time ever again!

10. Mobile Banking Enhancements

Enhance your mobile banking app with holiday-themed features. You can, for instance – if you haven’t done this already – enable customers to set holiday spending budgets, receive real-time transaction alerts, or access discounts and promotions directly through your app. Emphasize the convenience and security of mobile banking during the busy holiday season.

In conclusion, the holiday season offers community banks a unique opportunity to connect with customers and strengthen their presence in the local community. By implementing these holiday marketing strategies, you’ll not only boost customer engagement but also demonstrate your commitment to supporting the community during this festive time of year. Building positive holiday experiences now will lead to lasting customer relationships and goodwill throughout the year.

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com – one of the industry’s most well-regarded providers of professionally-designed marketing materials to local banks – our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue.  Now, through our partnership with ChatGPT, creating your own custom content is even faster and easier. With the addition of AI-assisted content development, our clients can very quickly generate articles they need for newsletters and blogs and any other content they might need in their marketing efforts.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

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Newsletter marketing? Be a pro in no time!


At a time when the marketplace is increasingly competitive, community banks face a unique challenge: how to effectively compete with larger financial institutions while, at the same time, maintaining their local, community-focused approach. One powerful tool that you, as a community banker can leverage to stand out, and stay connected with their customers, is newsletter marketing. In this article, we’ll talk a bit about the importance of sending out newsletters on a regular basis and why doing so is well worth the effort (PS: And, how it can be far less effort than you think!)

Building Stronger Customer Relationships

Community banks pride themselves on their personal touch. As a community banker, your newsletter can be a valuable marketing vehicle for strengthening your relationships with customers. By regularly communicating through a newsletter, you’re not only providing updates on new products and services, sharing financial tips and insights, and showcasing community involvement, among others. You’re building trust and with it, loyalty.

Educating Customers

One of the most valuable opportunities open to you as a local bank is your ability to offer one-on-one, personalized financial guidance to customers. A newsletter is an excellent platform for sharing valuable financial information, tips, and guidance. Topics can range from budgeting and saving strategies to explanations of the financial products and services you offer.

Cross-Selling Opportunities

Newsletter marketing also creates opportunities to cross-sell your products and services. By strategically featuring different financial offerings, you can remind customers about products they may not be aware of or have not considered. You can also give them a reason to consider such products. If, for example, you mention home equity lines of credit as the holiday season approaches, such a mention might remind customers that a lower-interest HELOC might be preferable to a high-interest credit card when it comes to covering holiday expenses.

Staying Top-of-Mind

Consumers are bombarded with information from various sources, thousands of times each day. It’s critical, of course, that you take advantage of ways to stay top-of-mind with your customers and in so doing, ensuring that you are their first choice when financial decisions need to be made. Newsletter marketing keeps you in regular contact with your customers and helps your bank stand out in all the “noise.”

Need a bit of help with newsletter content?

Sound like a lot of work? Not at all. Now, we’ve talked about ChatGPT before but it’s certainly worth mentioning again, especially in the context of creating long-form marketing materials such as newsletters. The ChatGPT functionality that is now a feature of our portal can be a tremendous help when you’re searching for newsletter ideas. Here’s an example of just how useful it can be. Start by entering a prompt such as, “what financial services products should my bank promote in the month of November?” 

When I did this, my AI-assisted writer gave me this advice:

The financial products and services your bank should promote in the month of November can depend on various factors, including your bank's goals, target audience, and current market conditions. However, I can suggest some common financial products and promotions that banks often consider for November:

  • Holiday Savings Accounts: November is the beginning of the holiday season in many countries, and people often start thinking about holiday expenses. Promote special savings accounts or certificates of deposit (CDs) with competitive interest rates and incentives for those looking to save for holiday shopping.

  • Personal Loans: Many people may need extra cash for holiday expenses, travel, or home improvements. Promote personal loans with competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms to attract borrowers.

  • Credit Cards: Offer special promotions on credit cards, such as cashback rewards, lower interest rates, or no annual fees, to entice holiday shoppers and travelers.

  • Home Equity Loans or Lines of Credit: Some homeowners use the holiday season to make home improvements or renovations. Promote home equity loans or lines of credit for these purposes, highlighting the potential tax benefits.

  • Auto Loans: November can be a good time to buy a new car, as dealerships often have end-of-year sales events. Promote auto loans with competitive rates and quick approval processes.

  • IRA and Retirement Planning Services: As the year comes to a close, individuals may be looking to maximize their contributions to retirement accounts. Promote Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and retirement planning services to help customers plan for their financial future.

  • Online Banking and Mobile Apps: With the holiday season's busy schedules, promote the convenience of your online banking and mobile app services. Highlight features like mobile check deposit, bill pay, and budgeting tools.

  • Financial Education Workshops: Offer free or low-cost financial education workshops on topics like budgeting for the holidays, debt management, or retirement planning. These can attract customers and build loyalty.

  • Charitable Giving: Promote initiatives for charitable giving during the holiday season, such as partnering with local charities and offering to match donations made through your bank's accounts.

Of course, now that you have a few ideas, you can prompt ChatGPT again, this time with a prompt such as, “write a 100-word article on why November is a good time to get a personal loan from Your Bank & Trust.” Here’s what you get:

  • November is the perfect time to explore personal loan options at Your Bank & Trust. As the year-end approaches, many people find themselves in need of extra funds for various expenses, such as holiday shopping, home renovations, or unexpected bills. Your Bank & Trust offers flexible and affordable personal loans that can help you meet your financial needs. With competitive interest rates, easy application processes, and quick approvals, getting a loan from Your Bank & Trust can provide the necessary financial aid without added stress. Don't let financial worries overshadow the joyous holiday season; instead, secure a personal loan from Your Bank & Trust this November and enjoy peace of mind as you tackle your expenses.

Conclusion

As a community bank, success depends on your ability to connect with customers, earn their trust, and maintain your unique position as a community-focused financial institution. Newsletter marketing is a powerful tool that can do just that; by building stronger relationships with customers, educating them about financial matters, cross-selling products, and keeping your brand top-of-mind. And, now with ChatGPT, all of the above is easier than ever.

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers; the messaging — developed by banking industry marketing professionals — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue.  Now, through our partnership with ChatGPT, customizing our layouts is even faster and easier. With the addition of AI-assisted content development, our clients can very quickly generate articles they need for newsletters and blogs and any other content they might need in their marketing efforts.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.