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Webinar Recap: Compliant Digital Marketing and Growth

  • Last Updated: December 14, 2023

In This Article

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In this article

We’ve put together some of the key takeaways from out recent webinar on compliant digital marketing and growth.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Compliant Digital Marketing and Growth panel. We’re always excited to share our insights and actionable strategies for financial institutions grow and scale their digital customer acquisition.

In the banking and financial space, compliance is an essential component of acquisition, but it can also be equally challenging to navigate. Regulations surrounding how a bank attracts and acquires new customers can be complicated: it requires internal coordination, oversight, and technological requirements to manage a workflow of various compliance activities.

To understand what it takes to succeed at compliant digital growth, this discussion focuses on the technology, tools, and resources that every financial institution must consider, whether they’re planning their digital foundation, or already have the infrastructure and are ready to start marketing.

A special thank you to Brad Papalardo, Director of Government Affairs and Trust Services at Massachusetts Bankers Association, who hosted this webinar. And a big thank you to our panel participants who graciously shared their diverse insights and perspectives in the banking and financial space:

  • Dave Hunkele, Chief Strategy Officer at Finzly
  • Anthony Costanzo, Director of New Business Development (Banking) at Quinstreet
  • Andrew Silverman, Director of Digital Strategy, Analytics at CIBC
  • Alana Levine, Chief Revenue Officer at Fintel Connect

Preparing a digital presence

When considering the requirement for digital account opening, Dave at Finzly notes that it’s important to get comfortable with playing in the space. According to a Cornerstone Advisors report, mega-banks and fintechs opened 69% of their accounts digitally during COVID, while community banks and credit unions online opened a combined 10%.

It’s evident that in the last year, the gap of accessibility has widened for community bank products on the market. Luckily, this also means it’s the right time for these banks to look at how technology can close that gap.

Essential qualities of an integrated technology partners

Dave suggests considering the following features when evaluating potential technology partners and integrations:

  • Workflow tools to create a frictionless customer journey
  • Flexible, adaptable solutions that can respond to your compliance changes
  • Integrated analytics to see what your customer’s going through, and how to help them navigate
  • Opportunities to partner with additional technologies, such as driving qualified traffic to your website, or co-browsing to provide live support to prospective customers
  • Fits with your current infrastructure and works efficiently with your core provider

In addition, Andrew at CIBC emphasizes the importance of internal alignment and strong executive support for decisions. To ensure that they are all on board, all stakeholders should know the answers to these questions before implementing new technologies:

  • What’s the goal? Is it just for customers to sign-up online or does it go beyond that?
  • Is the bank looking beyond this first step and potentially operating entirely online?
  • What is your KYC (Know Your Customer: identification and validation) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering program) needs? If some of it is manual, could does the fintech partner provide automated solutions?

“It’s not just one swing at the plate where you’re trying to capture a national audience, and you’re not sure you’re doing it right. You can do it in small doses.”

Dave Hunkele on how A/B testing can solve for internal hesitations about digital integrations for banks

Getting stakeholder buy-in before you start

Andrew has witnessed fear and anxiety at the prospect of new digital technology introduced into a bank. Banks must be aware they might face these types of internal obstacles if there’s a misalignment in objectives between the risk side and product side of your businesses. Treating new technology as a pilot program can ensure your risk is managed to expectations.

As part of managing internal expectations, Dave suggests an external approach: as an exercise, stakeholders can ask themselves, “How would I like to go through the bank opening process as a customer?” If the answers received have one or more overlapping themes or pain points, it can create a sense of urgency for both risk and product departments to improve.

Alana at Fintel Connect adds that a proactive approach can be vital to addressing potential conflict before it occurs. When introducing new technology, she suggests rolling out upgrades in small steps, such as limiting new automation abilities to a small cross-section of your customer base. This minimizes the impact of any possible missteps while providing banks with early performance data.

Online account opening process

As a publisher, Quinstreet connects audiences searching for financial advice with bank products that fit their needs. Once a prospective customer clicks away from the influencer’s site to the bank’s site, the bank must provide an account opening process that moves them effectively to the bottom of the funnel.

Anthony typically looks for the following qualities in a bank’s customer onboarding flow:

  • Competitive products that draw in a customer’s interest to apply for a product
  • The ease at which a customer enters data through your workflow
  • Back-end validation of identity that’s transparent for both Quinstreet’s team and the bank

Anthony emphasizes that financial institutions must avoid bottlenecks in their workflows. Bottlenecks, he says, are essentially missed opportunities where potential customers are driven away by a poor website experience. He furthers that banks facing technological limitations to delivering a positive customer experience online must partner with fintechs and providers that can ensure their account opening process successfully captures customers. ​

How to keep your digital marketing compliant

Before implementing digital channels and processes, Dave notes the importance of standardizing brand assets and creative pieces, including websites, social, text, and email. Inconsistencies in how a bank represents itself create compliance issues, so it’s essential to set it up correctly.

He also encourages bank marketing leaders to ensure their teams understand regulations clearly, so that those considerations are baked in at the start – not the end – of their marketing initiatives. Conducting compliance training sessions can help staff understand not just what the regulations are but why they are in place and how they serve your bank’s business.

Similarly, Andrew has found CIBC’s annual and quarterly training and weekly touchpoints on compliance to be effective, particularly in avoiding a reactive approach to fixing compliance terms. “The diligence of our compliance really helps to […] be on top of this. It helps to have people who are dedicated and share new information as it comes up, because you want to be adapting in real-time.”

Alana agrees: in the banking space, she has seen attitudes around compliance and regulation evolve. Regulators were once viewed as barriers to marketing execution; nowadays, the conversation is more focused on collaborative, thoughtful innovation to keep both the bank and consumers safe. “The more that you collaborate and work with your regulators,” she explains, “the more they’ll be able to inform you and your compliance teams and support what you’re looking to do.”

In terms of addressing potential pitfalls in your digital marketing, Dave also emphasizes the importance of A/B testing. “It’s not just one swing at the plate where you’re trying to capture a national audience and you’re not sure you’re doing it right,” he says. “You can do it in small doses.” Testing out different scenarios and implementation to a small test group can help you refine your approach while increasing the comfort with the new initiative and the experimental process, as well.

Adjustments to the online account opening process

When bank partners make adjustments to their account opening flows, Dave observes that it typically happens in response to compliance rather than optimizing user experiences. He’s seen change requests usually occur in situations where a new product is released, or a bank is looking to expand the market reach of products by adjusting the form’s domicile fields.

He explains that one of the advantages of having fintech partners is expediting compliance change requests. Rather than sending lengthy requests to your core provider, dealing with prioritization and then waiting in a long queue for development, partnered technology providers can be built to respond to compliance changes in a timelier manner. He encourages all banks to look for these types of capabilities when considering fintech partners.

Marketing Compliance Checklist for Banks & Financial Institutions

Here’s a checklist of important areas to consider when evaluating your bank’s compliance across its digital channels. Make sure your compliance team is onboarded early and provides clearance in the following areas:

  • Product and service information is clear, concise and accurate
    Misinformation can harm your customers perception of your brand and have legal implications. It violates 2010’s Dodd-Frank Act and Section 5 the FTC Act. The Consumer Financial Protect Bureau also classifies this as Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Practices.
  • Required disclosures are available for all deposit and loan products
    Terms & conditions for offers are displayed to customers. Consult the Truth in Savings Act (TISA)’s Regulation DD for deposit requirements, and Regulation Z of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) for loan requirements.
  • Advertising is representative of a variety of personas
    Inadvertently excluding certain peoples may cause your bank to be dinged for discriminatory advertising. See the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which regulates unfair lending practices.
  • Compliance marketing emails are automated
    To meet the lengthy requirements of CAN-SPAM, email automation can ensure your banks is following the rules with minimized efforts and complexities.
  • Compliance for text messages
    Ensure your bank is following regulations similar to the above to regulate your text message communication.

For a full list of guidelines surrounding advertising, consult the FTC’s Advertising FAQ for small businesses.

Tips and takeaways for bankers getting started

Don’t be afraid of the stories and myths of digital account opening. The technology is a lot better than before, the technology to pull components is there. I would say embrace the idea of engaging with your customer digitally – it doesn’t mean that you can’t engage with them physically, but it’s a much better experience for your customer.

Secondly, don’t think that you have accomplish everything. It doesn’t have to be 100% automation, Day One. Get started, think about what’s working, what’s not working […] and think about your customer. You’ll find that is achievable for you and you’ll see incremental improvements as you go, which can help justify incremental spending as you go, as well.”

Dave Hunkele
Chief Strategy Officer, Finzly

“The biggest point here: being intentional and understanding what you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s customer goal or a bank goal. And understanding that it’s an iterative process over time: you don’t have to come out with a huge bang – you can evolve over time. The right resources exist for this and it’s just about how the fit into your organization, your tech, and your infrastructure.”

Andrew Silverman
Director of Digital Strategy, Analytics, CIBC

Just get started. You’re not going to have the perfect solution with every bell and whistle on Day One. But get started, and you start to build the case for that bigger solution. Getting involved is the way to do it.”

Anthony Costanzo
Director of New Business Development (Banking), Quinstreet

“The biggest point here: being intentional and understanding what you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s customer goal or a bank goal. And understanding that it’s an iterative process over time: you don’t have to come out with a huge bang – you can evolve over time. The right resources exist for this and it’s just about how the fit into your organization, your tech, and your infrastructure.”

Alana Levine
Chief Revenue Officer, Fintel Connect

Thanks again to everyone who attended! If you want to learn more about how Fintel Connect’s technology provides banks and financial institutions with safe, compliant and scalable customer acquisition, get in touch with us today, or follow us on LinkedIn to keep up with the latest in performance marketing for financial services.

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