Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Staying Relevant

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Staying Relevant

Article excerpt

IN THE APRIL ISSUE, WE OPINED how many of us have become slaves to e-mail, cell phones, etc., and how speed and frequency of communication does not equate to quality or efficiency. But there is a flip side to that argument: No matter what your personal views are toward the digital onslaught, or how you cope with it, that siege will not lift.

You may reject Blackberry bondage, but tens of thousands of others will busily thumb-scroll their way through endless messages and declare it to be freedom. And you may prefer to read words on a printed page, but many others will eagerly scan their favorite blogs on big or small screens.

It's ridiculously easy to become irrelevant in the public's mind if you do not keep up with the latest trends. As a personal matter, one can choose to be irrelevant by ignoring the latest craze. Most businesses, however, don't have that luxury. Banks and other businesses have to stay in the loop or risk having an easily swayed customer base declare them obsolete and move on.

Not that a business needs to follow every market zig, but it needs to at least be aware of the shifts. It's one of the great business challenges of our time to be able to sift reality from hype--fad from genuine trend. And nowhere is this more evident than in the relentless rush of technology.

Sifting after the fact is a lot easier. We can all see now, for example, that early talk of the internet eliminating the need for branches was largely self-promotional or at least misinformed. Yet, even in hype there usually are elements of truth.

So while internet banks mostly flared and folded, online banking continues to grow rapidly. When you add to that the amazingly rapid acceptance of wireless devices, you have a potent mix of threat and opportunity. …

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