Thought Leadership

2020 Vision: Customers Bank’s Digital Evolution

Jay Sidhu
Executive Chairman, Customers Bank

SBA Lending

Customers Bank is in the midst of a digital evolution. We understand this is a big statement, and because tech buzzwords and phrases are often overused, we felt it was important to lay out our vision as we embark on this exciting new chapter at Customers Bank. This undertaking involves much more than providing online banking functions and an easy to use banking app. Our business will be fundamentally transformed, positively affecting our customers, Team Members and ultimately the future of the company.

We have made it our vision to be a digital company that provides financial services to help our customers succeed. We are evolving as a bank, to become an inherently digital organization. Our digital evolution starts with internal, cultural change. A Digital Transformation & the Workforce study from IndustryWeek found 71% of leaders believe the workforce is important in supporting their digital transformation strategy. We know our ability to provide experiences that amaze customers has always been driven by our Team Members. Our Team Members are empowered to identify new avenues that streamline processes, leverage artificial intelligence and to look to consider technology a vital component of providing seamless and engaging customer experiences. We call this evolving our Team Members into “digital citizens.” Planning got us to this starting line, but Team Member adoption and support is what will take us across the finish line.

We understand that this is a completely new approach to banking and will challenge every Team Member to deconstruct and reinvent their job responsibilities. We see this as a good thing. Growth in every aspect of our lives, both professionally and personally, is inevitable. Think of where the financial services industry started and where it is today. Younger generations may not remember, but there was a time when getting access to one’s own money meant getting in line at the local bank branch. The country’s first ATM appeared in 1969, making it possible – but not always free – to withdraw cash anytime. Fast-forward to 2020 and digital banking has made it possible to complete financial transactions with just a personal computer or smartphone.

Given that we are living in 2020, we have also made it our mission to modernize our technology platforms so we have the agility to adapt to the ever-changing customer preferences we are all experiencing in this 4th industrial revolution. We know that the stakes have risen to providing not only the service, but also a frictionless, exciting experience, which is just as important in the service industry today. In addition to adapting to these changes with our customer base, we are also simultaneously modernizing our internal technology platforms with tools and capabilities that enable multidisciplinary teams to seamlessly collaborate on behalf of our customers. We see this aspect as key.

Harnessing the power of data and AI insights for the benefit of our customer is another cornerstone to our digital evolution. We are using the work that comes out of AI and machine learning to automate work to really reap the benefits of productivity and efficiency. This has also led to new career paths for our Team Members. They are developing critical skills that are very much needed in this 21st-century world and beyond. Gone are the days where we are looking to hire large groups of clerical type roles to open up accounts and check off reports every day. We have new positions that manage the “bots” that review the reports, and manage the data health so we are always ensuring the best possible experience for our customers. With the integration of industry-leading technology, including Salesforce, our new digital structure will continuously drive change to enhance customer experiences and operate more efficiently. In fact, in a six month period we’ve already saved over $500,000 in annualized time savings, which will expand Team Members’ capabilities and create the capacity to support future growth. In 2020 we will more than double this number!

As we focus on building out multidisciplinary teams that align to the single-point-of-contact model Customers Bank was built on, and remaining vigilant in our pursuit of the power of our data and AI, we will define a new standard in financial services.

It’s an exciting time to be in banking and to be at Customers Bank. This digital-first vision will provide tremendous opportunity for enhanced customer experiences, and Team Member and company growth.