BAI Checking 2.0 Executive Forum in Chicago where close to 50 financial institutions learned about legislative changes, customer perceptions, new product development and marketing opportunities around the checking account. While only a month has passed since the first Checking 2.0 Executive Forum held in Atlanta, it is obvious that there are a number of changes occurring in the marketplace.
There was consensus among the participants that while consumer trust and confidence in banks has been negatively impacted by the events of the past two years, there may be some uptick in these measures over the next few months if financial results continue to improve and if banks continue to focus on the customer experience.
A significant change from the March event was that virtually all of the participating banks have developed an alternative version of 'Free Checking'. Checking account product innovation has added stipulations to some accounts, benefits for a fee on others and alternative reward structures on other checking programs. In fact, in a quick survey of the participating banks, it did not appear that any of the 'Free Checking' programs were similar.
When discussions moved to how banks are responding to Reg E, there were some organizations that were well on their way towards communicating with their customer base while other banks had not yet begun their information dissemination. Surprisingly, MB Financial out of Chicago shared that they had already achieved close to 85% opt-in from their customer base (and nearly 100% from new customers) by leveraging a combination of postcards, traditional direct mail, phone call follow-up and branch level involvement.
The success of some of the participating banks illustrated the importance of a multi-channel communication process with strong employee involvement and call center follow-up.