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Bank Innovation and Igniting Loyalty

Our team—like many— has been following the shifts of the current news cycle. Amongst the pandemic and resulting cancellations of many conferences, we thought it was more important than ever to share our insights we gleaned from Q1 events. While the recap below reflects on Bank Innovation Ignite, we see loyalty as a critical theme for every bank in the year ahead.

Personalization, harnessing the power of data to deliver unique experiences, harmonizing the human-digital divide, learning to operate less like a big bank and more like a nimble institution, and establishing trustworthy emotional bonds with customers. All the key themes that emerged from Bank Innovation Ignite 2020 were well known challenges.

Yet more than what we heard throughout the event’s many conversations, we noted what was absent from the conversation: loyalty.

We heard multiple times that banks have yet to create closed-loop, tiered, engaging loyalty experiences for their customers — the likes of which have been the hallmarks of the travel and hospitality industry for decades. Discussions focused on technology solutions to drive business results, but missed a critical element.

Technology alone can not create the emotional foundation for “trust” and “love” between customers and their financial institution. Banks need programs designed to engage with their customers' values by cultivating true loyalty.

What Banking Can Learn from Other Industries

Across financial institutions, executives discussed the need to learn from other industries outside of banking to deliver the experiences customers want and expect - companies like Apple, Amazon, and in the hotel and airline industry.

A clear lesson from these sectors is that creating curated experiences drives immense customer trust and affinity for these brands - a ‘stickiness’ factor equated with “trust” and “love.”

While banks are working to deliver personalized experiences, most attendees admitted that few of their customers are likely to say, “I love my bank.” More might say, “I trust my bank.” However, that same trust also manifests itself in customers cherry picking the individual services they count on most from different financial institutions (i.e., a credit card from one institution, a mortgage from another, and a checking account from yet a third).

For presenters and attendees, the solution to bridge the trust and love gap consistently returned to technology. Technology as a means to create personalized, unique experiences. Technology to deliver something exciting! Technology to engage consumers frequently.

A better technology service might help move customers from “my bank is fine” to “I love my bank,” and encourage customers to utilize more than one service. However, technology as a potential cure-all also misses two critical elements:

  • Technology as a medium itself can make cherry picking easier;
  • Banks are in an arms race for new tech — that often means they’re focusing on launching technology to solve problems that often can’t be solved with just a new widget.

Technology can help create bank loyalty or a rewards recognition program that works for all areas of the bank at the same time, but it can’t make people love their banks the way they value other institutions.

Connecting Rewards and Loyalty

Across the conversations about innovation, personalization, and how financial institutions can get customers to love and trust them, the role of loyalty in banking was conspicuously absent. While financial institutions are some of the best at giving out rewards, especially for card products, those rewards alone miss valuable experiential opportunities and ultimately don’t equate to cross-bank loyalty.

That can change — and at Bumped we believe the key is a new reward currency that links a bank’s mission and its multifaceted businesses with something exciting and elusive to most customers: stock.

Stock as a reward currency is a new concept, made possible today due to advances in the technological and regulatory environment in fractional shares. Stock rewards have a resonance with consumers. It has the ability to provide financial institutions three critical elements lacking in cash back and points reward programs prevalent today across the industry.

  1. Closed-loop Loyalty. Stock enables cross-bank, multi-tiered loyalty programs, linking card, retail, and wealth with one reward currency - a closed loop system that can eliminate the breakage created by cash and points programs (the “cash out” effect).
  2. Long-term Engagement. Stock rewards provide financial institutions an opening to engage consumers throughout their financial journeys. A stock rewards program might start with an integrated card system, rewarding consumers in stock instead of cash for every purchase on a card. It might then evolve into providing stock rewards for completing “good financial behaviors,” such as opening a checking or debit account or setting up an emergency fund. All this empowers a consumer to build a wealth profile and enables banks to engage consumers in financial planning conversations, serving as that trusted advisor for a customer’s wellness journey.
  3. Access and Empowerment. Stock rewards create access. In a world where over 84 percent of all stocks owned by Americans belong to only the wealthiest 10 percent of households, as according to the NY Times, offering the average consumer a reward with tangible value matters. Stock rewards enable financial institutions to invest in their customers and those customers’ financial futures. Co-investment in mutual trust on a financial journey together - that sounds like a paradigm shift and the foundation of a deeper kind of loyalty.

Getting to “I Love My Bank”

As bank executives look for how they can innovate and create a world where their customers can wholeheartedly say, “I love and trust my bank. It cares about and invests in me,” they shouldn’t look to a technology solution alone. They should instead learn from other industries and think about a new way to engage their customers.

We believe stock rewards are the next wave of innovation in banking loyalty and a new way to win the hearts of your customers. Stay top of mind and wallet with a loyalty program that your customers love—it's more

Our technology offers a unique method to build personal relationships with your customers, truly grounded in loyalty and trust. Learn how it can advance your company’s loyalty program by connecting with our team; send us an email at [email protected]

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