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Defining a Community Bank's Electronic Strategy

Wednesday, January 1, 1997

If a community banker decides to venture into electronic banking, there are many different strategies for the use of new technology. A bank may position itself as:

Mainstreamer: Banks that delay offering electronic banking and payment products until they become more mainstream. They wait for a critical mass of customers to desire services before making investments.

Marketer: Banks that delay offering electronic banking and payment products but use the new technology to advertise or create goodwill. Examples include home pages on the Internet or selling advertising space on ATM screens.

Improver: Banks that delay implementing the truly advanced technologies but, instead, use "more mature" new technology (i.e., truncation, electronic check presentment, check imaging) to improve internal operations or offer enhanced services to customers.

Partner: Banks that want to implement new technologies and electronic banking products while avoiding the learning curve associated with doing it themselves. They pursue alliances with other organizations that result in giving customers a local option for convenience that big banks offer. These banks may outsource the service to a service-provider or hook up with a developer who is looking for a pilot bank.

Innovator: Banks that are motivated to carve out a niche by offering high-tech electronic banking and payments products. These banks position themselves ahead of the technology learning curve.