By Lauren Caggiano
In the age of COVID-19, you can never be too careful, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise your banking experience.
As many banks and credit unions closed their lobbies in the spring to prevent the spread of the virus, this presented an opportunity for them to offer safe alternatives to in-person interactions.
Institutions like STAR Financial Bank allow customers to take care of their financial affairs without having to set foot in a branch. For instance, STAR’s interactive teller machines (ITMs) — located throughout northeast and central Indiana — make it possible to manage one’s personal and business finances in a contactless context.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the interpersonal element many appreciate about the traditional banking environment.
“When you drive up, you actually speak with a banker through video,” said Anna Chambers, marketing project coordinator. “And I think we’ve all learned this past year that those video interactions can really supplement, if not replace, a lot of face-to-face interactions. So those interactive teller machines allow us to work with our clients face-to-face without people having to actually meet in person. Beyond those, we have online banking tools like remote deposit capture. Our clients can bank from home or wherever they are.”
The fact that these ITMs are staffed by bankers means they’re more qualified to dive deeper into your financial concerns or questions. Plus, the technology is protected through security protocols, so you can rest easier knowing your personal information likely won’t be compromised.
But what if you would prefer to engage in person? Chambers said the ITMs aren’t the only solution.
“We don’t think the ITMs are going to replace you being able to do anything on your phone,” she said. “It’s more or less that we want to give our customers as many options on how they want to bank.”
Whether STAR or another bank of choice, Chambers said it’s important to find a financial institution that works for your lifestyle. National banks might not be as invested in the local company as say community banks, which by definition serve a small and specific geographic area. The latter tends to place more of a focus on strengthening the economy of their service area.
“When you bank with us your money stays in Indiana,” said Chambers. “It stays in building Fort Wayne, whereas when you bank with some other larger bank, you don’t know if your money is staying in your state and helping your own community. It might be going to San Francisco or Dallas or wherever and helping build that community. So that’s another perk or a benefit of going with a community bank.”
She added that smaller banks, though without a national presence, often have the chops to offer a sophisticated digital payment solution. Think a digital wallet, which offers consumers greater security. In a recent report, consulting firm Accenture forecasts nearly 420 billion transactions worth $7 trillion are expected to shift from cash to cards and digital payments by 2023 – and increase to $48 trillion by 2030.
STAR Financial, starfinancial.com