Person-first, digital-forward: The balancing act of modern banking



By Zephyr Jaeger

While banking has moved into the 21st century in myriad ways, the history surrounding how banks used to do business never truly disappeared — and it shouldn’t. While it makes sense that handshake deals are out and notarized contracts, mobile banking apps and automatic payments are in, the humanity of banking is something that should never fall to the wayside. However, in this fast-paced, highly digitized world, it often does. The good news, though, is that maintaining our humanity while forging ahead into these technologically-advanced times is 100% possible. It just requires a thoughtful approach.

Whether at a community or national institution, engaging and attracting customers is a crucial part of making your bank successful. Our changing digital landscape has introduced novel opportunities for attracting and connecting with customers. For younger generations, namely Gen Z and Millennials, it’s critical to relate on personal and community levels utilizing the latest technology and strategies. Those generations have grown up so entrenched in the digital world that rapid technological advancement has become the norm. To catch their eye (and their business), meeting their expectation of innovation is paramount.

Mobile-first working for the masses
Combining the classic and community-forward ways of banking with the modern capabilities of today’s world does more than attract younger generations. Everyone from Baby Boomers to toddlers have relationships with technology in some way or another, whether they’re checking up on their retirement accounts or learning their numbers on an iPad. From automatic bill payments to once-groundbreaking ATMs, technology adds incredible value to people’s lives, making them easier and more efficient. New banking technologies thrive when banks keep their customers’ lives at the forefront of their thinking.

A huge aspect of meeting diverse customers’ needs is ensuring that your digital-forward offerings are inclusive, engaging and informative. While it may feel as though there’s a ubiquitous understanding of the progression of the tech movement, the complexities of using technology for banking (or any kind of financial matter, really) can be quite daunting. This is especially true for older generations who grew up in the era of in-person banking. But adapting can also be difficult for younger people, such as Gen Zers, who have a general mistrust of traditional banks. Transparency and communication are key throughout the implementation process in order to assuage any confusion or apprehension among your more cautious customers.

A critical aspect of implementing these digital-forward products and services is providing comprehensive education on how to utilize them, but the need for education doesn’t end there.

Breaking down barriers
Financial literacy is alarmingly low in America. Before your bank can engage customers with new programs, credit card offers and more, you need to be a source of all-around financial education. Providing in-depth financial literacy and guidance to your customers is a surefire way to make them feel empowered and in control of their financial wellness. It allows them to make smart decisions while opening their eyes to the many possibilities they may have missed before. Concepts like investing, starting a business, or taking out a loan are not self-explanatory, leaving all too many people out of a club that should be for everyone: the financial wellness club.

The beauty of our increasingly connected world is that providing equitable access to comprehensive education is easier than ever. Beyond baseline learning, technology allows your bank to implement a swath of products and services that open the doors for your customers to explore the financial world. A bank shouldn’t just be a place for people to store money — it should be a source of information, assistance, acceptance and growth. Melding person-first and digital-forward strategies will bring the old and the new together, attracting every kind of customer there is.

Digital banking doesn’t have to be unnerving. By educating your community of customers, your bank can soothe the trepidation that new financial technologies often induce and enable the next generations of consumers.

Accessibility, inclusivity and education
Whether a national bank or a community one, there is always a way to evolve your institution’s practices and cater to a diverse customer base. Implementing new technologies is no longer an option, it’s a requirement. But the way you go about it doesn’t have to cause distress or disruption, even for your most technologically-challenged customers. Technology brings convenience, and it’s up to your institution to be a helping hand, a guiding light, for all who may need it. Thankfully, there are more resources than ever to help your bank in this endeavor.

Using technology to bolster your financial education services is a fantastic first step in more directions than you may realize. Knowledge means power, security and comfort, especially in these rapidly changing financial times. Providing education in a mobile-first format will help your customers get used to learning about and dealing with financial matters using technology. Rather than leaving your customers to doom scroll through financial TikToks, which may or may not offer accurate information, your institution can provide a comprehensive financial literacy resource that sets your customers on the right path.

When education and technology intersect, essential knowledge becomes increasingly accessible to those who need it most. The power of financial inclusivity cannot be understated, as it allows historically disenfranchised communities access to the information and resources necessary to break detrimental generational, community, and socioeconomic patterns.

An all-encompassing step forward
As the world adjusts to the “new normal” of digitizing just about everything, implementing the newest technology at your bank is only the first step to staying up with the times in a way that attracts and pleases customers. Providing comprehensive education is a critical second step, ideally in collaboration with the first. The third (and arguably most important) step expands the first tenets into an initiative now all the rage at financial institutions across the globe: Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) standards.

Pressure from consumers, investors and other stakeholders has catalyzed a socially-conscious movement that banks are implementing. This is in effort to both improve their standards and practices and attract the increasing number of customers who care deeply about those things. Generation Z is particularly interested in the matters encompassed by ESG, including social justice efforts, carbon footprint reduction, and equality in the workplace, among others. Notably, offering accessible financial education and opportunities, especially for historically disenfranchised and disadvantaged communities, is a major aspect of many ESG efforts. Adopting a solid ESG initiative is a progressive way to start attracting younger generations, socially-conscious customers across demographics, beneficial investors, and generally improve your bank’s practices.

Getting started
Zogo’s financial literacy app is an award-winning product utilized by banks and financial institutions across the nation to empower customers on their financial journeys. The innovative and ever-evolving company has gained over 1 million app users, many of which are sponsored and supported by financial partners, and nearly 250 partners. Alongside its suite of best-in-class products and services, Zogo shines as a one-of-a-kind educational tool.

In addition to helping your bank bolster its educational efforts, Zogo’s Mobile Banking Loyalty Program is a novel way to increase customer activity and loyalty. Using a similar gamified, rewarding model as the standalone app, Zogo’s loyalty program can be implemented directly into your existing mobile app. With options for customizable objectives and an ever-expanding library of financial literacy lessons, Zogo can be just what your institution needs to take a giant leap forward in digitized customer-facing efforts.

Zogo is also a tool for achieving your bank’s ESG goals. Earlier this year, the Zogo team was thrilled to find themselves included in the first-ever ESG report from one of their partners: American Express. Zogo’s financial literacy education is unparalleled; designed to be inviting and comprehensive for every age, the modernized, gamified financial lessons are the perfect way to kick off or bolster your bank’s ESG efforts. Plus, the sleek, mobile-first model of the educational app brings your educational efforts into the 21st century in a flash. Two birds, one stone: Zogo.

To learn more about the ways Zogo can benefit your bank, request a demo with our innovative team today!