By Kasasa | 10/23/2020
- 3:20 Vennesa Van Ameyde is Kasasa’s Chief Operations Officer and is here to talk about how the company has negotiated COVID-19 and how community banks and credit unions can leverage those lessons to prepare your financial institution for whatever comes next.
- 4:28 We started keeping an eye on the situation in mid-February, assembled a team and had presented a plan to our executive team, formed a COVID team that meets three times a week.
- 5:20 We leveraged our business continuity plan and our disaster recovery plan, and asked ourselves what parts were applicable to the pandemic? We started tracking and planning, which has been key to our success to manage us through the last six months.
- 6:50 Of course, we didn't do everything right. We've tried to be really agile and recognize that we're not always going to get it right, but we need to be constantly evolving.
- 7:38 We had three guiding principles: keep our employees safe, continue to provide badass service to our clients, and do our part to slow the spread of the virus, by being aware and informed and proactive and agile.
- 9:00 Many community financial institutions struggled to respond. We heard over and over again that they didn’t have the structure in place to handle the shutdown in day-to-day operations.
- 9:57 Many of our clients were overwhelmed, especially at smaller community financial institutions. They just had to figure out how to reprioritize their days and how to rework their operations. And I think that they really did a fantastic job of adapting.
- 10:57 Community financial institutions have provided a sense of security and trust, with some sending out reassurance messaging, providing a real advantage in the market.
- 11:40 Another great tactic has been proactively calling their account holders to check on them, adding a personal touch you don’t get from megabanks. This can set a foundation for lifelong relationships.
- 12:30 Years from now, we're going to look back on this and say, this was the shift when consumers realized that who they bank with matters.
- 13:15 There are two ways to look at the current situation: one is, you’re just keeping your head above water, right? But the other is to see this as an opportunity to reevaluate the business and adapt, streamline, evolve to get to where we need to be in three to five years.
- 14:15 This is a chance for bankers to ask what's the right thing to do with our business model now and in the future, so that it's not just reactive, but you can use this as an opportunity to slow down and look at all the things you're doing.
- 14:40 Kasasa had to adapt too, making a quick shift on some of our online experience tools that we offer, like online account opening, implementing a service that allowed businesses to apply for PPP loans with their community financial institutions, and shifting the targeting and messaging of our marketing.
- 16:46 Our client institutions’ experiences have varied and some were hit harder than others. We just try to have empathy and be there for them personally, to go the extra mile and provide that relationship because we want to be a partner, not just a vendor.
- 18:45 We should try and maintain the grace and empathy we’ve had through this time, to be more flexible, and recognize that we're all in this together going forward.
- 22:56 In a recent Financial Brand piece 60% of financial institutions said that improving back office efficiencies was important to their digital banking transformation, but only 24% have achieved this.
- 23:22 It’s challenging, like doing construction on a 737 while it's in flight. You don't get to just press pause to work on operational efficiencies.
- 24:26 I always advise leaders that 80% of the work that you're doing is a result of 20% of the things that didn't really matter. So prioritize and focus on that 20%. Don’t let it overwhelm you.
- 27:16 Everyday changes can be hard to spot because you’re so used to them, but be sure to focus on the “forest” AND the “trees” when it comes to your business operations.
- 28:45 Have conversations with your front line, being aware of what's going on and how things are going and asking questions, finding obstacles. But you also need to have a strategic vision of where you want to go to create a holistic view of the entire ecosystem. You can't be focused on any one silo in your business.
- 31:30 Use technology to maintain connection and visibility into your team. We use Slack for instant messaging and video functionality, Salesforce for CRM and centralized communications around our clients.
- 32:16 Daily or bi-weekly check-in meetings, which can just be a five to 10 minute meeting about what you're going to focus on today? What are the hits and misses, obstacles, etc. that you want to share with the group for shared learning? Open communication is really important.
- 33:00 We've also implemented a tool called Lattice to check in on employee satisfaction and emotional well being. We also use it for cascading goals throughout our organization, seeing how we’re doing on those goals, and performance reviews.
- 35:55 Some of the feedback that I'm the most proud of during this COVID year is that our employees feel heard, they feel respected, they feel loved, they feel appreciated. And that means so much to us because as leaders.
- 36:20 Zac, speaking a s an individual contributor who has personally received the flexibility and the empathy, and can't say enough good things about what that has done for me, my quality of life, and my attitude towards the company and my willingness to show up.
- 37:27 While we all want to learn from this and be prepared for next time, the truth is, you can't predict these sort of things. You just have to have an element of readiness.
- 38:55 You need your disaster recovery plan and your business continuity plan, but they’re just a foundation. And beyond that, you just have to be adaptable. Listen to feedback, adjust, and accept that it’s okay to not get there the way that you planned.
Business still has to get done. We still have to be accountable , but do it with that compassion, that kindness, that humanity.
The community that we create inside of our businesses, our institutions, taking care of each other, helping each other, loving each other is what will get us through this.
Kasasa® is an award-winning financial technology and marketing services company that provides reward checking accounts consumers love, the first ever loan with Take-Backs™, relationship-powered referral programs, and ongoing expert consultation to community financial institutions. Together we can Take Back Banking™. For more information, visit www.kasasa.com or Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.