Pub 12 2023 Issue 6

Surviving Versus Thriving in Today’s Market By Data Center, Inc. ommunity bankers have long been community changers. Through their service to small businesses and local economies, their impact on the lives of their customers and neighbors is undoubtedly far-reaching. Nevertheless, the community of community bankers and changers is, in and of itself, changing rapidly — enough for some to declare it under attack. Why is that? Today’s digital age has posed, to some extent, challenges for all financial institutions. Not least of which, however, are community banks. Many in the community banking industry watch as digital evolution takes wind and ask themselves, “How am I to keep up?” They face the challenge of providing a competitive rate of return. They wonder how to maintain efficient operations with limited resources. Often, they turn to what they perceive as the only clear solution: merging. They do this because one look at today’s technology tells them they are being left behind, and in some cases, they are. The question is not whether technology renders community banks vulnerable in today’s market, but rather, what are we to do about it? Driven by the passionate belief that community banking is worth fighting for, we look beyond the bounds of the traditional core ecosystem to find our answer: opportunities to innovate and diversify income streams. Consider these examples: • BaaS • Fintech partnerships • Digital banking/expanded market reach • Robust product offerings In capitalizing on these opportunities, the importance of choosing the right technology partner is stronger than ever. For community bankers who want their foot in the door of new markets, a trusted partnership yielding new technologies, product offerings, and more is invaluable. Accordingly, the answers to the following questions must inform community bankers’ decisions: 1. Which partner can provide the most consistently innovative and agile technology? 2. Which partnership will equip my bank with the most robust set of product offerings and capabilities? C 18