Creating In-House Bank Videos

By Walt Albro

More community banks are producing videos in-house for such things as customer training, community outreach, job recruitment and sales promotion.

Since the cost of video production has gone down, it’s now possible for a bank to use its own equipment to create short videos of reasonable quality without the need of a third-party production company.

Merchants Bank N.A. (assets: $1.5 billion), Winona, Minn., has been generating its own videos using in-house employees for more than five years.

The videos are used primarily for education purposes: to explain such things as the mortgage process, the construction loan process, the importance of maintaining a good credit score, the difference between regular and Roth IRAs, the purpose of wealth management, etc.

“We’ve also used them for branding,” says Mary R. Gordon, CFMP, vice president and director of marketing. “For example, we created one on the importance of community giving and what it truly means to be a community bank.”

All of the videos are housed on the bank’s YouTube channel.

Fancy equipment not necessary The chief benefit to the bank is flexibility. “We’re able to record a variety of topics, at low cost, with local experts from our different markets, in relatively quick turnaround,” Gordon says. “We also have the ability to edit videos, add or change title slides, that sort of thing.”

While the videos are not necessarily of the same caliber as those done by an outside company, they serve their purpose, and the bank’s employees watch them. “They’ve improved since we started doing them five year ago,” Gordon notes.

The video equipment that the bank uses:

  • Camera: Cannon Vixia HD.
  • Lighting: Stellar Ring.
  • Audio recording: iPhone or Samsung phone.
  • Editing: Adobe Premier.

Gordon says the biggest obstacle to in-house video production is simply getting over the initial fear of starting. “Don’t make it more complicated than it has to be. You don’t need fancy equipment. You just need equipment that will take a clear video and record clear audio.”

A key piece of advice is to keep your videos short—no more than 90 or 120 seconds. The bank did one long video on credit score education, but broke it up into a five-part series in order to keep each individual segment short. “If they get too long, you’ll lose people’s attention,” she says.

Another suggestion is to carefully select your presenter. “If you are going to film a person, select someone whom the camera likes, meaning make sure they are comfortable in front of the camera and can speak to the audience,” says Gordon. “If they are uncomfortable the audience will feel that.”

The bank initially thought it had to have certain people on camera because of their positions. But eventually, the bank discovered that it was better to have someone who could engage the audience and come across as trustworthy and confident—rather than the person who might be the most knowledgeable subject expert.

The bank provides a presenter with bullet points to mention in the video, but rarely with a full script. “We coach them on what they can and cannot say from a compliance perspective, but we don’t want the piece to sound memorized,” says Gordon. “We have found that sometimes an interview process works, and then we edit out the interviewer.”

Sometimes the bank prepares a compliance-approved full script and has the presenter read the script on camera. That way, the bank has a full recording that can later be cut up and edited.

A few tricks

Over the years, the bank has learned all sorts of tricks. For example, screen capture videos are easier because then you can record audio and video separately if need be.

“For both live video and screen capture, one thing we have found very helpful, is adding bullet points to the screens where there is a lot of information to absorb,” says Gordon.

“For example, this fall we filmed a video summarizing the new TRID mortgage requirements that we sent out as a reminder a couple of weeks before the effective date of the reg. That was a lot of information to listen to. So while our presenter was talking about the requirements we put up a sidebar of bullet points on one side of the screen so that the audio was supported by a visual at the same time.

“Again, we learned as we went. That’s not something we would have done five years ago when we started.”


The idea for this article originated from an online conversation held on the ABA Bank Marketing Network’s Online Community This is the first in an occasional series about banks that produce their own in-house videos. Join the conversation.

Walt Albro is the content editor of ABA Bank Marketing. Email: [email protected]