United Community Bank Bases Recommendations on Other Banks' Data

Article excerpt

Byline: John Adams

Banks have access to vast new troves of data, such as social media feeds, that they have to learn how to use in their marketing and sales efforts or risk losing share to other institutions that are catching on faster.

At one bank that's trying to get a head start, Georgia-based United Community Banks, the "big" data that really matters is transaction information from a network of other financial institutions. The bank contends that by using a new predictive modeling system that leverages this data, the response rate for debit card marketing pitches increased to 23 percent from 14 percent, with average spending per card increasing to $483 per month from $233.

"That's a couple of hundred thousand dollars in revenuea[bar]Not only did we achieve more efficiency and cost effectiveness, we also improved customer satisfaction scores to more than 95 percent [of customers reporting a positive experience]," says Craig Metz, an executive vice president who oversees all marketing activities at United Community Bank. "The program works kind of like Amazon.com, where you know that similar people made certain purchases."

The Blairsville, Ga.-based United Community Bank, which has about $7 billion in assets, is one of about a dozen banks that are participating as subscribers in a one-year "proof of concept" project with Fiserv. The tech firm is accumulating data via an integration with the banks' core processing systems, covering a range of transactions and activities such as account processing ,online banking, bill payment, and point of sale card transactions. This data is then run through an internally-developed analytics engine by Fiserv to determine the best prospects for loan products or other financial services that the bank is pushing at a particular time. …