Writer: Joey Garrand
2 min read April 2021 — In a world where people feel uncomfortable leaving their homes, or are simply absorbed in the latest Netflix series, the battle to offer seamless online banking experiences is both demanding and never-ending. Customers increasingly want what they want, when they want it, and from the comfort of their bed. Complicating the challenge is that an element of human touch will remain necessary.
Denise Monahan, group vice president at M&T Bank, told Invest: that demand is greatly increasing for “mobile and online technology platforms and solutions to support the transition to a work and business from home environment,” highlighting the importance to introduce new, innovative digital banking products.
According to a global PwC survey, 87% of respondents (banking executives) said innovation in the banking industry is important. However, just 11% said their organization is very prepared on the innovation front. Why? Improving technological capabilities is expensive and difficult.
Monahan, after describing the increasing demand for digital services, explained the bank’s extensive efforts to maintain and improve their technological capabilities. “M&T recently completed its new centralized technology hub in Buffalo that will support our operations across the bank’s entire footprint in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.” The new centralized hub consists of 330,000 square feet of space and 1,000-plus employees. “The bank’s continued investments in technology and technology talent will continue to drive efficiency and solutions for our clients.”
As Monahan points out, investment in talent is critical in driving technological innovation, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at M&T Bank, René Jones, agrees. “In today’s digital economy, attracting and developing tech talent is one of our top challenges.”
Other South Jersey banking leaders agree as well, such as Brian Jones, president and CEO of The First National Bank of Elmer. “Finding good, young, qualified people who want to come into the industry is a challenge,” Jones told Invest:. Jones went on to discuss the factors necessary to attract and retain top, young banking talent: “We have to be able to relate to young people and supply them with the things that they need and want — whether that is being an environmentally conscious employer, providing a flexible work schedule, or rotating responsibilities. If we want to keep people coming into our industry, we have to adapt to their changing desires and needs.”
Although there is a great focus on digital capabilities, both Monahan and Jones agreed that an element of human touch will remain critical. “Being client-centric and client-driven is at the core of all we do in leveraging and managing the appropriate balance between humans and technology,” said Monahan. Jones shared how the pandemic environment “challenged us because we operate in a soft community bank model that requires an element of human touch, people interacting on a personal basis.”
If there’s one common theme that presents itself with each banking executive Invest: speaks to, it’s that relationships remain the top priority. Whether those relationships are built through digital capabilities, in-person interactions, or both, great talent is a requirement, and finding or attracting that talent remains a constantly evolving challenge.