Why are New Zealand banks ahead of U.S. banks in these and other technology areas? "The big issue with American banks is an unwillingness to move," he says. "People get stuck in a big-bank mentality. But big banks can do this. This was not easy, it took tenacity and not caring what people are saying behind your bank. I also surrounded myself with wonderful people."
Two other bankers at the Small Business Banking Conference also talked about using videoconferencing to interact with small business clients.
CIBC has eight commercial bankers serving small businesses by phone and videoconferencing. Mike Marshall, senior director of small business banking, noted that, "People are much more comfortable talking to an expert who is confident and knows what they're talking about, even on a screen, than someone in a branch who doesn't understand small businesses and the products they use."
David Tremblay, business development and strategy executive of the client development group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, pointed out that small businesses like to bank when it's convenient for them, which is not during traditional branch hours.
He also noted that his bank provides a choice. "Sometimes clients say, 'I'm old school, I want to look people in the eye, I don't have a computer,'" he related. "We don't cut people off from the branch."
Tremblay expects that within a year, banks will be offering small businesses videoconferencing from a smartphone. "If you're not including a video strategy in your phone strategy, you're missing the boat," he says.