As part of his job as chief information officer for First National Bank of the Gulf Coast, Peter Setaro attends many banking conferences to keep up on the trends and advancements that others see in bank technology.
"One [misconception] that was glaring to me was that older folks are not flexible enough to handle change," says Setaro, an executive vice president at the Naples, Fla., bank. "We're not seeing that at our bank."
The youngest segment of his bank's customers age 29 and younger adapt to technology very quickly. But customers 55 and over are the second-fastest adopters, probably because they have money for technology like iPads and the time and interest to use them, he says. Customers aged 30 to 54 lag behind the other two groups, maybe because they are at a busier time in their lives.
Setaro has helped eliminate paper at his bank by instituting e-signatures. He recently transformed a traditional branch into one where teller lines have been replaced by teller pods and customers are encouraged to gather around a "technology bar" to use the public WiFi, read the morning paper on bank-supplied Kindles, and even Skype with loved ones far away.
At 2,400 square feet, the new, tech-heavy branch also is about one-fourth the size of its predecessor branch.
Setaro is also working on embedding radio frequency identification chips in bank-issued debit cards so that staffers will be alerted when a customer walks in the door and armed with that customer's information.
In the future, Setaro believes, customers will be interested in aggregating financial information from various sources and in financial planning relationships, which will require banks to do a better job of engaging their customers, he says. "More banks will be going back to what they were meant to be, years ago."