Banks must continue adapting to consumer preferences

Across the country, many in the banking industry have likely noticed that the ways in which consumers prefer to do their business at local branches are changing rapidly. Technology has certainly made this issue one to monitor, but it has also altered the evolution of consumer needs and desires.

The things people wanted out of a branch banking experience in 2000 probably weren't all that much different from the way things were in 1990, but they're very different from 2010's standards, which themselves are probably seen as primitive to what customers want today. For this reason, banks face something of a crisis when it comes to keeping up with shifting, changing, and growing demand, according to a report from Deluxe Corporation and reported on by the Financial Brand. This is especially true when it comes to how people prefer mobile banking.

Growing need
Just as more banking business shifted onto the Internet when online banking really began to make it big in the mid-2000s, more of it has shifted again over the past few years - this time to mobile devices, the report said. But with that comes changed expectations about what people are able to do online, and while there's still going to be a huge in-person banking component to business, people certainly prefer to get that process started online.

For instance, a recent poll of people who had opened a checking or savings account, IRA, or CD, or had applied for new credit such as a credit card, purchase mortgage, refinance, auto loan, and so on, predictably exhibited different preferences for banking services based on age, the report said. The youngest generations of banking customers certainly prefer more of an online component even for these options, so banks may need to do more to meet what is likely to be a large and growing need over the next two or three years.

People want more information on bank options available via mobile.People want more information on banking options available via mobile.

What do people want from each new transaction?
In particular, self-service application options are preferred by some 60 percent of respondents when it comes to simpler accounts like credit cards, the report said. And, as it relates to more complicated, and certainly larger banking needs such as applying for a mortgage or other type of loan, 41 percent say they would prefer to do that kind of thing in person. But regardless of that latter preference, consumers would probably still like to know as much as possible about the process, and they're overwhelmingly going to do that by going online in some way, so banks need to be ready.

"You have to be able to communicate and interact where the consumer is, whether on smart phones, tablets, the internet, direct mail, email, you name it," John Filby, president of Deluxe Financial Services, told the site.

The more banks can do to understand their clients' desires when it comes to the ways they go about business, the better off they and those customers are going to be as technology pushes the evolution of those needs.