What the shift to digital banking means for business owners and their banking relationships



By Mark Nance – VP, Treasury Management Sales

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the shift to digital banking. With social distancing rules, self-isolation, quarantining, and working remotely, business owners have had to reconfigure the way they conduct business.

Early on in the pandemic, Paragon, like other banks, experienced clients calling in to learn more about online services such as bill pay, because people were quarantined at home and their business checks were in the office. Businesses had to set up direct deposit to get payroll out to employees working from home, and some clients wanted to cut down or eliminate their check and cash handling to accept contactless credit cards and offer ACH invoice payments.

Each of these was happening at some level before COVID-19, but the pandemic has sped up the transition tremendously. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the banking industry and business owners face a new challenge: What does the shift to digital banking mean for business banking relationships?

Banks and businesses will adjust together
It’s true that businesses are taking longer than personal banking customers to transition to digital services. One reason is that the original technology was more geared toward consumer adoption, whereas only recently have digital services evolved to allow businesses the functionality they require. This sophistication combined with COVID-19 have pushed the pace of adoption into high gear.

As digital banking continues to grow, small businesses will feel the impact. There will certainly be a learning curve to figure out how best to use and manage the various digital payment avenues, but businesses won’t be left to navigate these new waters alone. Your bank will lead the way in adjusting to new norms and making sure you’re set up for success. The improved cash forecasting, faster payment receipt, and improved customer experience you’ll find with online banking will produce dividends that will be well worth the effort and investment of time and capital.

Still a personal business
As the pandemic continues its upheaval, in-person visits have been curtailed. But many banks already have powerful mobile banking apps and online banking tools. This allows business owners to create person-to-person transfers and initiate ACH transactions and wires all from the palm of their hand or the click of a mouse.

The move to digital banking does reduce a business’s reliance on their bank for day-to-day transactions, but having a strong relationship with your bank is more important now than ever. With all the changes going on, it is important to have a trusted bank adviser who can offer advice.

The banking industry is constantly looking for the next innovation or way to improve on our current offerings so we can keep our clients ahead of the game. Community banks traditionally have a close relationship with their clients, which makes it easy to reach out directly when we find a new method to improve a process or keep their accounts secure.

With change comes opportunity. So many aspects of daily life have been changed by COVID-19. Even after there is a vaccine, we expect many of these changes will remain. With the introduction of Real Time Payments and the formation of the U.S. Faster Payments Council, there is promise to see sweeping changes to how businesses conduct banking operations.

Now is the time to have a trusted adviser on your side who is experienced in navigating digital banking relationships. The businesses in position to take advantage of the changes in our ever-evolving digital world will be the ones who will find the greatest success.

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