Five problems you need to solve when customers can’t reach your rural bank branch

Sometimes circumstances prevent customers from reaching their local bank branch – it's a problem rural banks need to solve.

If you’re overseeing the operations of a rural bank, you already know that the struggle clients face visiting your branches can cause serious cash-flow problems. In certain localities, that’s always been a problem, but the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the challenges bank managers must overcome when branch access is hard:

  1. Lockdowns and health restrictions preventing both clients and staff from travelling to branches, making it impossible to serve customers in-house.
  2. Banks already employing field officers to visit remote communities have found that health concerns have prevented employees from visit clients – either through fear or due to local restrictions on movement. This means customer visits grind to a halt.
  3. While branch staff can always resort to calling clients individually, that can seriously consume both time and resources, and branch staff may not be specifically trained to take on that task. This approach is difficult to scale, can face delays, and can be highlight inefficient.
    Clients always need regular communication from their bank. That doesn’t mean a “send-to-all” email blast, but targeted, personalised communication based on the context of that individual customer.
    For example, ordinarily a bank might announce altered branch working hours on its social channels, but each municipality may have different rules for opening hours (while some may be closed completely), making a one-size-fits-all messaging strategy ineffective. Furthermore, your clients may not have access to social media.
    In addition, customers may run into financial difficulties without regular updates from their bank. For instance, many customers may face late loan repayments, while others may not have the balance available to make a payment until they receive remittances. Both must be notified by their bank of any cash movement.
    If customers cannot reach their nearest branch, whether due to the pandemic, a natural disaster or a simple mobility issue, their bank must find ways to connect with them and keep them abreast of any key news affecting their accounts.
  4. Then there is the issue of staff availability. If you have many people on your payroll who cannot reach the branch due to illness or travel restrictions, your branch will take a serious productivity hit. Absent or inefficient employees are a major expense, so it is essential to take steps to keep your branch working, either by ensuring as much work as possible can be done from home, or to give responsibilities to the employees who can make it into work. 

There are solutions to all these problems. If a rural bank chooses the right long-term partner with the experience and the technology to address those issues – a partner offering a cloud-based core banking system like Oradian – you can even turn many of these problems into advantages. 

If you’re interested in discovering how Oradian’s cloud-based core banking system can unlock growth for your business, get in touch with one of our business intelligence experts for a free overview of the Oradian system.

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