Independent banks face several unique challenges. MSPs can help them stay competitive.
An independent bank offers a sense of community and customer care that is absent from large, multinational financial institutions. Customers appreciate that they can be more than just a number at their local bank.
But there are also many unique challenges an independent bank must contend with. Fortunately, w ith the right I.T. solutions, your bank can keep its independent charm without losing its competitive edge.
Here’s how a managed service provider (MSP) can make life easier for independent banks by addressing the problems they face.
Challenges for Independent Banks
Competition with Large Banks
Once a vital part of many towns and neighborhoods, independent banks now contend with shrinking market shares. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, megabanks controlled only 17% of assets in 1995, but that number has now risen 59%.
This dramatic increase shows that local banks must prioritize acquiring and retaining new customers. Providing individualized service in local communities is a great start, but independent banks must also remain competitive by adapting to a changing technological landscape.
Maintaining data security is one of the major challenges facing the banking sector and independent banks in particular. Small financial institutions make tempting targets for hackers due to their relative lack of security infrastructure and training.
Many independent banks can’t afford to have a full-time cybersecurity department tracking threats and fixing loopholes. This leaves them exposed to hacks targeting their customers’ financial information, which can have catastrophic effects on customer confidence.
Secure Data Storage
Independent banks are more likely than their large corporate counterparts to rely on aging hardware to store valuable financial information. This entails limited data storage capability, as well as a lack of accessibility outside the in-house network. This setup not only leaves them vulnerable to security threats, but it also means that you could lose all that data in the event of a fire or natural disaster.
There are many ways technology can make life easier for independent banks. Unfortunately, the majority of smaller financial institutions lack the resources to hire a dedicated I.T. staff and implement systemic changes to their technological infrastructure. If this is the case for your bank, a managed service provider (MSP) can provide you with solutions specifically tailored to community banks and credit unions.
Here are a few of the benefits of MSPs for independent banks:
How Managed Services Can Improve SecuritySecurity is one of the most pressing challenges facing an independent bank, but there are a number of ways an MSP can help. For instance, your MSP can train employees to recognize cyber threats such as phishing emails and malware. Most data breaches occur because employees do not know how to recognize online threats, so giving them the tools to take proactive steps to keep data safe is vital.
Another way managed service providers protect data is by installing VPNs (virtual private networks) to facilitate the safe transfer of information. MSPs also conduct assessments to locate vulnerabilities in your system before malicious actors can exploit them.
Software Solutions for Customer ServiceMaintaining an excellent customer experience will ensure that your bank remains successful, and specialized software can help. For example, you can track customer behavior over time and use data analytics to determine what services are most popular among current customers and identify growth opportunities.
Great I.T. for an independent bank means using every tool at your disposal to serve your customers better. Talk with your MSP about how enterprise software and other solutions can be of assistance in meeting your business goals.
Thanks to cloud servers, independent banks no longer have to worry about losing their valuable information to disasters, power outages, or hackers. Because the servers are housed offsite, it also drastically reduces overhead costs associated with maintenance.
The cloud makes all data available to authorized users, streamlining day-to-day operations while allowing banks to control who can access critical information.
One piece of broken hardware can cost thousands to repair or replace, as well as costing valuable time. If you operate an independent bank, you’ve probably witnessed firsthand that all it takes to bring down your I.T. network is a power surge or an errant cup of coffee.Finding a qualified technician is another time-consuming task, and the whole break-fix cycle repeats every time something goes wrong.
However, with an MSP, you can be confident that your I.T. needs will be met for an affordable monthly cost. In addition to immediate help with hardware problems, you can count on guaranteed network uptime and secure cloud servers that will back up your data so it’s always at your fingertips.
Assistance with Regulatory Compliance
Changes in banking regulations hit smaller banks the hardest, but with managed services, you can be ready for any new rules that are put into place. Often, community banks do not have the resources to devote to staying ahead of new requirements, which can lead to fines and interruptions in service.
MSPs can ensure that patches are verified, security measures are up to date, and all your data is accessible in the event of an emergency.
Network Monitoring & OptimizationOne of the most valuable services an MSP can provide for community banks is network monitoring. This allows banks to diagnose and address network connectivity issues any time day or night, as well as alerting them to suspicious upticks in network traffic.
When banks have the tools to manage all aspects of their network, they can ensure that transactions are consistently processed quickly and safely, leading to greater customer satisfaction.
Network optimization is another service provided by MSPs that involves testing connections and removing redundancies. Sometimes providers will replace cables and other pieces of network hardware that are no longer performing at optimal levels. Providers also examine data about network usage over time in order to make changes that will improve speed and efficiency.
Still have questions about how I.T. solutions can work for your bank? JMARK can help you understand your options. Call 844-44-JMARK, get in touch at [email protected], or visit the Contact Us page of our website to learn more.