Magazine article American Banker

Face It, Bankers: You're Not Apple

Magazine article American Banker

Face It, Bankers: You're Not Apple

Article excerpt

Byline: Andy Sobel

Everyman is a 42-year-old marketing middle manager in a suburb of Cincinnati. In the morning, he gets into his Prius, dodges minor traffic, sits through a few meetings. Most days he buys a sandwich for lunch. Fighting off a nap, he flirts with a co-worker, emails his wife, goes home, has dinner, interacts with his kids, and falls asleep on the couch. Once a week maybe he gets some cash.

Point is, short of using a debit card at Subway or to fill up the tank, he isn't engaging the banking system at all on a daily basis. And that's just the way he wants it.

For him, for the vast majority of Americans, the role of the bank is to be there when the customer wants it to be there. Like the water company. Like the electric company. Engaging with one's bank - sticking a card in an ATM, basically - should be as simple, mindless and consistently efficient as turning on the tap or an overhead light.

What does this mean for banks?

That they, in turn, are expected to act like utilities, providing a basic 21st-century human right (access to cash) just as the water company provides water and the electric company electricity. And that's about it, no matter how many cross-selling products they come up with, no matter how modern their mobile banking services (which, by the way, the vast majority of Americans could not care less about).

It also means banks should realize what they are not: vibrant companies on the cusp of innovation with galloping stock prices creating emotional consumer attachments. …

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