Technology breaking geography barriers We all know technology advancements have been introducing new services and conveniences in our lives for decades. We also know most everyone needs basic banking services to live their lives. We need access to credit to purchase homes and cars. We need to be able to buy groceries, fuel, and have access to cash. For many generations, these services had been available in only one way – by visiting the local bank office. As expected, the future is certainly here and times are changing. Currently, the most popular way for people to access their bank is through electronic channels. The banking industry, including Decorah Bank & Cresco Bank, now handles more transactions through electronic channels than in person. Of course more complex transactions, such as loans, are still made the traditional way; inside the bank. Customers still have in-person access to bankers. That said – the days of stopping into the bank to cash a check or transfer money are dwindling. Customers have gotten used to initiating these routine transactions via electronic channels. Understandably, customers prefer the speed and convenience of these alternatives. Now let’s look at what is emerging today. We are putting more options in our customers’ hands to do their banking on their own terms. We now offer Mobile Check Deposit which allows customers to deposit their check from their kitchen by taking a picture of it from an app on a smart phone. Smart ATMs allow for quick deposits and withdrawals. We have installed one of these on the Luther College campus and more are on the way. Not only do these new tech channels create convenience for those who choose to use them locally, but they allow folks to take their hometown community bank with them if they relocate outside of the area. We have seen customers move away and easily maintain their relationship with us. We have all the tools we need right here at home – an experienced staff that cares enough to provide quality service and a good work environment to house them in. Many of these channels could be described as self-serve. From pay-at-the-pump to self-check out at a big box store, we are getting accustomed to being more self-sufficient. A new challenge this creates will be staying in touch with our customers. It will take new efforts on our part to reach out and connect with them. We want to see them come into the bank from time to time. Despite these changes we will always be here ready to answer the phone or meet with customers to help them. We will never force our customers to deal with what I call ‘Automated 1-800 Land’. Written by: Joe Grimstad, Decorah Bank & Trust Co.