Do you ever feel like your bank or credit union is a bit behind the times? That products and services are introduced that other financial institution competitors have long before yours? Or perhaps that your FI’s technology just isn’t keeping up with consumer demand?

Well, don’t feel too bad just yet.

This week, we look at an example from shoe and apparel behemoth Nike, as they announced their latest innovation in the running shoe market, and to great fanfare. The only problem, at least in this runner’s opinion, is that they’re a bit late to the party.

Capturing Attention

Nike captured more than just the running community’s attention last summer with their Breaking 2 project: the attempt to have three runners break the two-hour time barrier in the marathon. After that attempt, Nike successfully made most runners lust after a pair of the shoes that propelled Eliud Kipchoge to within 25 seconds of the two-hour goal. Going to market, Nike priced these amazingly engineered shoes at $250. That’s a lot of money for a pair of shoes that aren’t very durable, and are not meant to be your “everyday” running shoe choice, and appeal to a very niche market.

With the announcement of the Epic React shoe, Nike has introduced their take on “performance foam” in their running shoes. Essentially, running shoe makers are attempting to find the perfect balance of a lightweight shoe that has a lot of “bounce” to it, has a lot of durability, and is also fashionable enough to be worn as a lifestyle shoe. Should you so choose.

Lata, Playa

So what’s the big deal?

Nike is probably the last major shoe manufacturer to produce a shoe with their own take on performance foam. Adidas kicked it all off with their Boost material, Saucony has Everun, Books has Amp DNA, New Balance has Fresh Foam, and so on and so on. Nike has let their competition pass them by and gain market share while focusing on other markets that have less wide-range appeal.

This sounds a lot like how we might feel when introducing new services to our consumers and market, such as mobile banking and responsive websites. National bank brands are often the first to be on the cutting edge with new technology and innovative features. It leaves smaller community financials to compete on consumer expectations based on what multi-million-dollar ad campaigns define as the new normal.

Here are four things your bank or credit union should be doing (and why) to keep up with the table stakes of financial consumer expectations.

  1. Functional Mobile Banking. It’s no longer enough to simply have a mobile app that allows your consumers to view their accounts and balances. Functional features like mobile deposit, Touch ID/Face ID log in, mobile access to your FICO score, and being able to turn on/off your credit and debit cards are now expected. In an ever-increasing mobile world, your mobile banking app has to be the priority for your institution.
  2. Easy-to-use peer-to-peer payments. P2P payment apps such as Venmo and PayPal kicked off an easier way to pay your friends. Now, payment systems such as Zelle, funded and introduced by the big national banks, is taking off, and so are consumer expectations. The key difference is that Zelle embeds within your mobile banking app – making the payment process more seamless for your consumers.
  3. Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. The two front runners in mobile payments have emerged, and adoption rates continue to climb. With the security, convenience and popularity of Apple and Samsung Pay, there’s not a lot of downside to offering mobile payments on your debit and credit cards.
  4. Keep checking free. This feels like a no-brainer in today’s market, but it seems like even the biggest of banks aren’t understanding. As consumer’s wallets continue to get squeezed, even in the wake of economic growth, they will search for the best value for their financial services. Be that value! Keep access to their money – via their checking account – free.

Community financials may not always get to be on the cutting edge of the latest fintech. However, that is by no means a reason for our segment of the market to let the competition pass us by. Take a lesson from Nike on this one!