It has been a busy couple of months in the Brandt household as we took time to do some significant financial housecleaning. In the last four months, we have:
- Applied for, and opened, a new Home Equity Line of Credit at our primary financial institution
- Opened a new Health Savings Account at our primary financial institution
- Opened a new High Yield Savings Account at a different financial institution
- Transferred a significant amount of money through bank-to-bank transfer from our primary institution into the new savings account
- Started using our credit card, instead of our debit card, for everyday purchases
- Started bringing our lunch to work, saving hundreds of dollars a month
- Rolled over my husband’s long-neglected 401(k)s into a new investment account
- Set up automatic transfers from our primary financial institution to the new investment account
- Opened new checking and savings accounts for our children (including one 16-year-old)
I think that’s it. As I said, it’s been a busy couple of months.
You may wonder, given all of this new activity, have I heard from our primary financial institution?
We haven’t received anything thanking us for our new accounts. We haven’t received anything responding to what could be considered a sign we are leaving (large transfers to other accounts and a decline in our ATM card usage). The children haven’t received any messages welcoming them as new customers.
And we haven’t received anything about credit cards, mortgages, or auto loans (which seems like a no-brainer given our aforementioned, soon to be driving, teenager).
Which makes me wonder – does my financial institution actually care about me?
It should be noted that our financial institution is not a small institution lacking the resources for automated marketing systems. A regional player, the organization has just under $10 billion in assets, a robust online presence, and locations in several states. (They are also not a client).
We do receive 4 to 5 email solicitations and refer-a-friend requests each week – all of a very generic nature. Which defines most of my interactions with them. Generic.
On a Live Chat with them today I was informed that I could “use Mobile Banking to access and manage my accounts.”
Which is super useful until you realize that they should be able to tell that I am an active mobile banking user.
Contemplating all of this recently, I found myself wondering not if my financial institution was paying attention, but if it actually cares about our “relationship.”
It wouldn’t take much to make me feel valued. A note from a branch manager. A voicemail – because let’s face it, I’m not picking up the phone – checking in to make sure my kids had everything they need. A personal message in my online banking inbox instead of the student loan repayment solicitation (which they should know we don’t have because we don’t send payments to any other loan companies than our credit cards and mortgage).
I know the technology exists to cover these basic communications, and much more. At the most recent Washington Bankers Association’s Marketing Conference, I listened with great interest as Jenna Rowland from Marquis and Allison Wilson of American Savings Bank explained how marketing automation could improve customer retention and profitability by ensuring the right message gets to the right person at the right time.
So why don’t I move? Because the anticipated pain of moving is preventing me from making a switch. But I’m one foot out the door. And, as you can imagine, I will not be referring a friend.
Great post. Just too bad you had to write it!
Thanks Eric! Certainly has provided great “fodder” and food for thought.
Oh you are so right, Kristin! It’s amazing that any bank these days is NOT actively reaching out to their customers what with mergers and acquisitions happening. My primary financial institution of over 30 years was recently acquired. The acquiring bank has done their best to inform me of how my accounts are changing but you would think a branch manager (who was retained) would notice that our mortgage has been paid off, out checking accounts are at minimum balances, our savings had been closed, etc. and reach out to us. That slight is not only happening to me personally but to all of the bank’s customers. It’s amazing how the “pain” you mention is very minimal to have the satisfaction of knowing you now bank with a caring institution.
It’s a point well taken! As we know, marketing can only do so much – it takes the whole team to keep the relationship going.