Technology emphasis for business is often focused on e-commerce, with the assumption that all success is based on sales. But many community-based businesses are better served by back-end technology – that is, the infrastructure to help business owners manage their clients, production and income more efficiently.
Banking partnerships can offer business owners the infrastructure they need to manage their money. Not only the largest financial institutions, but also more recently regional banks are beginning to further leverage technology to support their business clients. Regional banks have the same stake in sustainability and growth that small businesses do – they are both working toward the same community viability.
Most community banks shy away from offering technology to small business clients due to the costs involved in setting up both the core vendors and the connecting software, according to Nikhil Bijlani, Product Manager at Capital Bank, N.A., headquartered in Maryland. Business products, he explains, cost far more than consumer products – for example, a mobile business app requires additional levels of security, and requires integrating multiple layers of transactions for businesses to move their money among accounts, vendors and customers. Mobile apps for business are therefore more complex to offer and manage.
“We think it’s worth our time and money,” says Bijlani. “Capital Bank has made a conscious decision to further invest in technology in ways that enable online management of and access to funds for our customers.”
In addition to recently developing a business app, Capital Bank has just added Direct Connect, a connection between business online banking and the Intuit suite of financial products, Quicken and QuickBooks. The interface allows customers to directly download account information into the financial management products and automatically reconcile data without manual data entry or the extra step of uploads. The bank is one of the few regional banks in the DC metro area to offer that business solution.
Bijlani maintains that his product team provides clients a one-on-one touchpoint and the customization needed to ensure their adoption of these new technologies as part of the partnership commitment his bank offers its business clients. That, along with the technology offerings, sounds like a model more community banks should aspire to.