Leaders in Lending
Leaders in Lending

Episode · 1 year ago

How Community Banks are Building a High-Touch Digital Experience w/ Dan Pogue


Some clients want a 20 minute conversation with a trusted advisor. Some clients want to pick up their phone and get a loan in 5 minutes.

Banks that are able to meet both needs have a tremendous advantage over those who primarily provide one or the other.

In this episode of Leaders in Lending, our host talks with Dan Pogue, President of Commercial Retail and Small Business Sales at Midwest BankCentre, about the future of digital transformation in banking.

What they talked about:

- How to prepare employees for digital transformation.

- How to integrate new employees into a remote team.

- Effective communication tools for a hybrid environment.

- How Midwest BankCentre is integrating high touch with digital.

Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

Dan Pogue is the President of Commercial Retail and Small Business Sales at Midwest BankCentre. Formerly executive vice president-commercial banking, his focus has expanded from regional commercial lending and treasury management to include consumer/small business lending and sales as well as all retail branches.

Midwest BankCentre is a values based financial institution that influences and advances communities by empowering people, enabling businesses and energizing neighborhoods.

We can be high touch, high relationship oriented, but we can also offer that digital option to the client. There's so many are wanting. You are listening to leaders and lending from upstart, a podcast dedicated to helping consumer lenders grow their programs and improve their product offerings. Each week here, decision makers in the finance industry offer insights into the future of the lending industry best practices around digital transformation. In more let's get into the show. Hi and welcome to leaders and lending. I'm your host, Jeff Keltner, and I'm joined today by Dan Pogue, president of commercial, retail and small business sales at Midwest Bank. Center has been in the banking business for thirty five years, mostly on the commercial side, but as recently taken up the mantle of running the consumer and small business parts of the business as well. The Dan, welcome to the podcast and thanks so much for joining us. Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here with you all. Yeah, so, you know, we were chatting a little bit before we started recording this and you know you were talking about your perspective on digital transformation and and some things you think people maybe get wrong about. You know, how you think that's going to play out of the best way to do it. I'd love for you to kind of walk me through your thoughts on that a little bit. Yeah, you know, the digital transmation here at it was thanks that are has been very, very interesting really, not just over the past year but, I would say, where the past for three years for us, you know, as a community bank, our goal is to really make things convenient, agile and to liver really good, individualized financial services to our customer base. You know, we've done quite well at that. We want our words for that, but really it boils down to the customer and when you talk about the digital transformation, what we have done is we have tried to invest in platforms such as upstart, to be quite honest, of platforms in which we can actually show the client things that they want, that they need. But it's I have to be real specific about this, because I think the misconception is that it's all digital and you're replacing relationship and we in no way, shape or form wanted to replace that relationship aspect to our business. What we want to do is meet our client where they would be. Some still want to come in the bank and do all called a long form application, but many were finding in the consumer space want to have that digital capability to do applications at nine o'clock at night when they're off for work, and this is one of the things that I think is a, I guess, something that a lot of people think it has to be one way or the other. We believe it can be both ways. We can be high touch, high relationship oriented, but we can also offer that digital option to the client that's so many are wanting, and that's one of the things that I think will set some of the community banks apart if they can adopt that and really get in touch with some of the cutting edge technology and convenience without there for their customers. Yeah, that's really interesting. How do you think about you know, in that world, the things your employees used to do shift a little bit. Right, it's not you've got a digital capabilities. You're pairing that. I think really everything out here is we want on each other. I must be able to start an application home and come into the branch, or start an application the branch and upload their verification documents at nine pm, sitting on the couch and their PJ's. But how do you think about the role you want your staff, whether it's in the branch or in a call spinner, playing in the context of this kind of, you know, hybrid high touch plus digital world. You know, we really want to be a consultant for that client and you make a very good point. This freeze up time to be able to be the consultant for the client. They can fill out their application and we're not having to delve into a lot of that mundane work of the application, which they have all the details right for the application to fill out, but we can help them with types of products, pricing term, things like that, that we can actually help them not only personally with their small business and things like that. And we really like to look at ourselves as a trusted advisor for our client and this truly does free of time to do more what we really enjoy doing and I think gives the...

...customer really great benefit by being that trusted advisor. I think it's a great point that it's not only often better for the client but also it's more engaging for the employment. Nobody likes kiing in information on a screen as their job. Being able to have a high value at conversation is really interesting. How do you think about preparing your employees for that, because that is a it's some degree shift a little bit and they're they're maybe enjoying that part of the role war but need to be able to engage at a higher level in the conversation, the advice that the consultative conversation. How do you think about getting your employees ready to kind of take on that role as the primary thing they're doing and enable them to do that well? It's been a little more difficult in the COVID era because when working remote a lot, but what we are doing now and can want to continue to do is training. Training is the key for our client, for employees and rolls. We really do a lot of that and want to continue to do a lot of that so that they're aware of the questions they're going to come on and the ways that they can help the client that they may not even know right now. The client may not know, but if we can offer suggestions about various topics and whether it's fraud, whether it's the types of products they may might need, the types of products they may need they don't even know or possible or out there right now, but it really is immense training for all the people that are on the frontline, that are speaking with these clients. I love the idea of role playing. That's something you do with your staff where your pretend client coming in and going through a real scenario and kind of given feedback. You know, we absolutely do. You know, I was in commercial previously. A lot of that is out calling in. A lot of people are munching more experience on the consumer side. A lot of time to work getting people may be fresh out of college. Okay, they've never really had a cells or a role such as that. So the role playing and it's difficult at first for someone. There's nothing scarier than happened, to sit down with maybe your boss or even with a peer and admit what you don't know. But by not doing so and doing that three or four times, you can just see immediately the difference in someone and how they can interact with someone after doing some role playing. I think it's a key to being successful. I love it. I haven't done role play since my first sales training at IBM. They took us and we had we had our the end of our sales training was VP's came in playing clients and my guy gotten a car wreck on the way to the meeting, came in with a cutness head, the bandaged up and he is sometimes it's going to happen. Your client do it anyway, and I didn't know if it was real or fake. But there's nothing that replaces that experience of kind of doing it and and getting the feedbacks. I'd be fun to see that. But that sounds like a pretty cool part of the training process. Yeah, it is not fun at first, but it's fun after three or four times. It certainly gets you more comfortable when you actually in front of a client. Absolutely so. You mentioned going remote kind of the shifts you's had to make. How has that been for you as have you been surprised by what the the shifter and Covid is looked like? How have you dealt with, you know, the kind of unusual circumstances we've been in for the last year and a bit? Yeah, it's he would have told me a year ago, or slightly over a year ago, that our bank would be eighty percent remote, I would have said you're crazy, that could have never happened. There's no way we can pull it off. And I've got to tell you I've been so proud of our bank, our team, to be able to pull that off. We were a hundred percent in the facilities every day. Really no one per se was remote for the most part. Up until Covid we were able to get that stood up and about a thirty day period, have a laptops, having surface pros, having a computer monitors everything so that we could get the vast majority of our staff working from our homes and we've continue that to this day. We still are eighty percent remote and the great thing about it is we were able to handle all of the stimulus, the PPP funds that had to go out and what we saw was which is, once again something I would have never thought, we have grown more from a lone standpoint, from a deposit standpoint this year that...

...maybe any other year and our history working remote. So you know, it's something. As we look forward, it's going to change the way we look at how we do business. That doesn't mean we're going to be fully remote or fully in the office. What I think it means is we've seen that there can be some hybrid to the two of them working together so that some people can be remote more some convene the office more and it really works. The one thing we have to guard against far that is on boarding of new employees. Yeah, that's very difficult from a remote standpoint. The other thing is just that synergy as a team that you have when you're actually together. So I think those are the two things we and others have to watch out far as you look at what your hybrid schedules going to look like going forward. So now you still have to be together and have that you know, that ability to work together and collaborate and beat players. YEA, so much of that team work really boils down to trust that gets built. Sometimes in those minutes between meetings when you can chitchat that kind of go away when you click end on the zoom call and then your black screen and you miss some of that. Have you found anything has been effective? I mean getting to eighty percent remote so quickly it's pretty impressive. I love to understand, like how you think you did that so effectively. And then to your point about teamwork, are the things you guys have found that have been helpful and maintaining that sense of camaraderie, particularly for new employees. Has that come on? Because it's there's one thing for a team that was high functioning to go into a remote environment. It's a very different thing to try and integrate into a team where you don't know folks. I guess it's a lot of questions, but I'm miss start with that. What have you found that's been effective for kind of maintaining team solidarity and kind of that teamwork feel as you've gone through the transition to a pretty much everybody being remote? So so I'll start off with just repeating one thing I said, and that's having the right technology. So if you're going to have somebody work from home, they better feel like they're at their desk. So if they have two monitors the surface pro good high speed Internet, they better have that. Wea they're working remotely and we'd appomplish that. So I think that's number one. Number two is over communication. HMM. So you can't expect for people to have camaraderie understand what everybody's doing if you only have a zoom meeting once in long we will have up to two to three meetings every week in various departments, bringing the teams together there to just talk about, okay, what's happening in your area, whether I've talked about it earlier, whether it's PPP in the stimulus you know, every Tuesday morning we have a meeting about that with all our frontline people and our backline. Well, we control people, okay, where they can ask questions. We continue to have loan meetings every week on Thursday were all the frontline lenders are on those meetings. We continue to have ourselves meetings as if we were doing in person, but we do it on zoom, so people don't see each other. You know, some people would say, well, point, aren't you just over meeting? I don't think you can in this environment, okay, because that continues to make people feel like they're a part of what's going on. Otherwise I think you have isolation and I don't think that's good when you're trying to get everybody to work together and do the job they need to do. Other than Zoom, have you guys implemented any kind of new tools from kind of communication standpoint at like the chat tool or something that's given you a different way to communicate that maybe you didn't need the previous to the remote experience we have. I'm remiss and sayings because really it's teams is what because of Cawihis and Microsoft? Yeah, yeah, yeah, so so we have done that and that's work very well for us for staying in touch and that kind of yephing. Okay, so that really is our mechanism for almost any and all meetings internally that we have now and these the chat functionality and team rooms or is that something you guys? Yeah, we absolutely do. Yeah, I've I've been quite proud of our group, who not everybody was as technical in the way they're using the chat, the way they're setting up the team's meetings, the way they're setting up groups within teams,...

...but they're particular groups and it's really been wonderful. I mean throughout this stimulus and doing the PDP, we would use chat extensively throughout the day for any questions and someone may have relative applications coming in. So it really has been a wonderful tool for us. That's interesting. Yeah, one of my favorite things that I do. My team's going to hate that I say this, but I lark. They'll have back channel chat stirring calls with clients and I just watched see what it's going. I'm happy on the comment up on my two eyes in there and watch what happens and it's been fascinating to see the amount of information you can get and the speed of communication in some ways I think is faster than when we were in the office. I'm not always, not in every way, but there are times where it is. To the other question I asked how you thought about bringing new team members into that experience, because obviously all of our on boarding practices were kind of built around first day you come in, you get the laptop, you get training in person, and now that's all being done remote and some of the training you can do, but particularly the team building. I think is hard getting to know people. Have you found anything it's particularly effective at bringing New People on board during this kind of more remote experience? Yes, I guess we have a onboarding meeting with the executives were anybody that comes in any given month, five or six of our executives will spend about an hour or two, an hour and a half of them talking about what they do and talking about the job that did new employees going to do, and then we open it up for the last twenty minutes for them to have any questions they want. Okay, that could be anything from what your favorite book that you've read to you know, what's the best piece of advice someone gave you early on about being a leader? Okay, we just had one a couple weeks ago. That really opens people up, especially when it's really kind of off the cuff, less structured. So we found that to be very beneficial. Something that might sound just a little I don't know, maybe you know a little try and you say, Oh, is that really fun or not? You know, there's something we've done where we have cooking glasses. Okay, so stuff is delivered to your house, you go on. In this case it would be zoom, probably teams if they have it, and you actually cook at your house and everybody shows what they've done. Once again, it's fun, it's interactive, you know, and we try to bring in New People. We're going to have a think one of our young lays is arranging a flower arranging class with one of our clients and they're going to have up to thirty or forty folks join to do this. It's little things like that that you have to be creative. It's no different in our advisory board meetings. We're doing the same thing. You might have a tasting of some time, okay, in those meetings or or just something to make it a little different, a little fun, not just numbers and banking, but I think that really gets people more a part of the bank and a part of what or trying to do. The experience, the sound like fun activities. I like that engaging and I can't do a taste test. I guess there's no tastes competition in the iron chef over zumed, but it sounds like a fun activity. Yes, the other you want to ask you guys. You guys have kind of stood up a digital bank. Tell me a little bit about the strategy you're taking in that and that digital space. I know you've been able to acquire some deposits, but what what drove you to do that and what's how do you think about the approach you're taking and that in that area? Yeah, I think for us it was, you know, a real transformational situation for us. We we were trying to look out for five, ten years and say what is community banking going to look like? And we kept hearing this FINTAC, that Stach, this company that is a non traditional banker doing consumer loans, doing small business loans, taking deposits. So we went to our board and said, you know this, digitals not going away. Okay, it's here to say, it's just how quickly is it going to be here? And we thought, you know what, it's time for us to try to do this and stand something out. So about a year and a half ago, we stood up our digital bank and you know, I'm proud to say we are now. We don't have deposits in forty eight states. Are With our digital bank, probably doing CDs, we're doing money markets. Were now doing regular deposit accounts. So that's what we did. Now, going forward,...

...what are we looking at? We want to be able to do lending through this vehicle. To we currently can do mortgage loans through a digital space. We are teaming up with upstart, which were extremely excited about, in order to do car loans and things like that. On the consumer space, we want to be able to advance that even further into other states. But this was really the impetus for us to get into this, doing the digital bank, because we really feel that over the next five to ten years the landscape for commercial banks in general is going to look very different if people don't go out there and start looking at things in a different way and try to be on the cutting edge of the digital situation. I mean is reason is what a month ago. Walmart now has highed dimple from City Bank and basically you're going to start the banking operation. My understanding is Wal Greens may start doing something with some accounts. The list goes on and on. We can either stand back and watch that and lose market share, are we can join up with people like an upstart or something like that and do our own situation so we can compete, and that's that's how we got into it and that's where we see it going over the next five or ten years and we really embrace that. It's interesting strategy. I mean, I you know and in the Silicon Valley area we are all kind of on Shibsus, but everybody's kind of focuses on the innovators to Lema in this concept of how do you stop outside and trends from coming and eating into your market share? And one of the strategies that they really talked about is it's often hard to move the big ship, so setting up something that's independent and can kind of make different decisions doesn't have to be totally integrated into the old way and you can kind of approach it. Den Though, is an interesting way to actually, you know, internalize some of that innovation without having them of the whole cruise ship Onunday one. So I think it's a really interesting strategy. Something at the Digital Bing. I'm curious how you think about integrating that with the more traditional side of your bank, particularly in the context of what we talked about earlier, the high touch combined with the digital how do you think about kind of melding those two over time and too kind of a singular experience? I mean, we're all trained to be, you know, basically trusted advisors, high touch, and as a community bank, we still have several points that want to see us, they want to be in front of us, and that's wonderful. Okay, we're never going to forsake that for digital and we won't do it vice versa either. Okay, they really do work together. Okay, you know, you mentioned it earlier. Just because someone goes on and does a digital application doesn't mean they still don't want to pick up the phone and talk to Danny about options that they have. And that's the thing that I think we're trying to do, and I think other community banks can be exceptionally good at, is being both. You know, you said, can you be all things to all people? In this case I think we can. I think we can offer them options. Whichever option they want to do okay, and I really don't think good customer service, good relationships and being that advisor to the client is ever going to go away. That's the one thing I think community banks and banking in general will always be there because of that. People will still want that service. But I do think we have to launch out and add the digital aspect of things too. Makes a lot of sense to me, and I certainly in my own experience as a consumer of banking products. There's Times maybe I'm buying a car and goal I know the car I want. I just want to loan. I don't I don't need how I just need to submit the information get my rate. And there's times and maybe I'm thinking about and I want to plan for retirement, I actually have no idea what I should be doing or what are my out what's a CD? What's some money market account? It's an IRA and a K and a roth like. How do I make sense of my options and then I probably do want to pick up the phone and have a conversation. So I don't think it's just different customers. I think it's the same customer in different context has very different desires and needs. Right I sometimes I really want to twenty minute conversation with a trusted advisor that sometimes I want to pick up my phone and get it, get my loan in five minutes and be done because I know what I want. Being able to meet both, I think, is a tremendous advantage over those who are tied to one or the other,...

...because I think most people have experiences where they want to see both sides of that equation. Right. They want to they want to rack both ways. You know, I think education is a big part of it also. You know, we are in several different communities and each community's different. Some neat education on banking and a lot of other things, and that's really a mission the Midwest. Thanks are is being able to offer that. All of that can be offered digitally, some of it can, but a lot of that is being in front of people, setting up training, setting up classes for people so they can understand about banking, about their personal finance about their business and how we can grow their business. We are providing access to capital for everyone in the community. Okay, not just if they make x amount of dollars, but also the Lower Economic Community Muss, because it's extremely important if our community is going to thrive. We feel we have to do that. Chance. Meeting people where they are, no matter how they want to meet, is extremely work for many West Bank Center and I think it should be for everyone else out there too. Yeah, it's kind of the core of what consumer banking is all about at the end of the day. Absolutely so down I got my the standard three questions I used to close this out, so I know they're not surprised it to you, but I'm going to throw them out there for you. Number One, but what's the best piece of career advice you've ever gotten? The best piece was early, early on in my career, coming out of college, when one of my supervisors said that you know, never be afraid to raise your hand and ask a question or volunteer for the task or a project. If you do that, people will always see you as someone willing to do things, not willing to be scared that you're afraid to ask a question because you may look stupid and asking the question, but, more importantly, you're willing to volunteer for anything because your persistent and you want to help. So that, I think that's some of the best advice I ever got. Always be willing to raise your hand. I like that. The second question, you know, and this is interesting for you because you kind of came into the consumer landing carry a little more recently. What's the best piece of advice, as you advice you've gotten about the lending industry? Yeah, I think it's pretty simple. What are customers looking for? The look in for a quick, efficient process to apply, to be approved and to get documentation. Commercials a little bit of a longer span from start to finish. Consumer is not consumer. If you want that car loan, you wanted probably in twenty four hours. So really it's efficiency, a quick process and a good process. Yes, certainly. If I'm saying at the car dealership I want to I want to drive off in my new vehicle, I don't want to that a little prebsolutely right. Yeah. Yeah, and my last one. What's your bold prediction for the future? You this can be about lending, banking, kind of whatever you like couldn't have to be work related. But what's a bold prediction for the future? So I can bring you back in a year and we can we can see how how right you were. I think it will be about banking. I thought a little bit about this and I think you know, traditional banks, I think, will continue to see the quant in alls the aspects of consumer banking, that's deposits, that's loans. If, and this is the big thing, if they don't embrace technology, they continue to do things like they've always done and not embrace technology and joined forces with others, probably outside of the banking industry, and look at it differently, I think you will continues to see a gradual decline in the market share of banks versus non traditional lenders out there. I agree with that one. I think you'll see banks that get this one right and banks that talent, and I think the difference will be pretty clear. I like that prediction. All right. Well, that thanks so much for joining us today. I really enjoyed the conversation and appreciate you making time. Thank you very much. I've enjoyed it. Upstart partners with banks and credit unions to help grow their consumer loan portfolios and deliver a modern, all digital lending experience. As the average consumer becomes more digitally savvy, it only makes sense that their bank does to. UPSTARTS AI landing platform uses sophisticated machine learning models to more accurately identify risk and approve more applicants than...

...traditional credit models. With fraud rates near zero, upstarts all digital experience reduces manual processing for banks and offers a simple and convenient experience for consumers. Whether you're looking to grow and enhance your existing personal and auto lenning programs or you're just getting started, upstart can help. Upstart offers an into in solution that can help you find more credit worthy borrowers within your risk profile, with all digital underwriting, onboarding, loan closing and servicing. It's all possible with upstart in your corner. Learn more about finding new borrowers, enhancing your credit decisioning process and growing your business by visiting UPSTARTCOM Ford Banks. That's upstartcom forward banks. You've been listening to leaders and lending from upstart. Make sure you never miss an episode. Subscribe to leaders and lending in your favorite podcast player using apple podcast. Leave as a quick rating by tapping the number of stars you think the show deserves. Thanks for listening. Until next time,.

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