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PCBB Banc Investment Daily August 09, 2013
Banc Investment Daily
August 09, 2013

Creating a Buzz

The standard housefly or "musca domestica" accounts for 91% of all flies in and around human habitations and is one of the most widely distributed insects around the world. Flies are disgusting and are considered a nuisance as they carry a number of nasty diseases including typhoid, cholera, dysentery and even anthrax. No matter what you think of flies, we have always been amazed by the speed with which they can dart off the kitchen counter just as one approaches with a magazine in hand. It turns out, they fly (yea, we did that) at 4.5 miles an hour. That may not seem all that fast, but because of their size, it is the human equivalent of 810mph. Well no wonder we miss frequently.
We were buzzing around social media sites the other day, lighting here and there while thoughtfully rubbing our antennae as we pondered community banking. We are always interested in what is going on at community banks around the country and periodically check in to see what people are thinking and talking about. In general, we find social media is still tricky for banks.
While the benefits are clear in terms of communication with customers and prospective customers, companies including banks are often reticent to give employees access to social media sites on company computers. If your bank intends to have a presence on social media, decisions have to be made including which employees are in the communication chain.
Mostly bank use of social media sites is indeed social. We often see posts about community events and organizations that banks support as they support their community. We also see smiling photos of employees at fund-raisers and even marketing messages scattered here and there. One particular bank posted a number of photos that really caught our eye, with all the bank's employees in bright shirts, celebrating with customers with music, entertainment and a big downtown party. It was truly a real old- fashioned celebration in their small town but publicized on social media. This truly was a winning combination of old and new.
Not all bank use of social media is just social though. Online bank ING Direct for instance has given 1.8mm bank customers access to their bank accounts through Facebook. Customers receive real-time account alerts there in read-only mode. Now, ING said it plans to expand the application to include transactions such as transfers and bill payments. Another example is Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which is already allowing transactions through Facebook, as well as access to account data. Mechanically speaking, the customer logs into the bank's website interfaced through Facebook. All of the bank's online security is in place but the look is different and information is right where customers can access it most readily.
US banking institutions continue to experiment and none we know of have yet allowed access to online banking through Facebook due to concerns over FFEIC rules on social media. That will eventually change and we would expect this service to be coming soon to US institutions.
You don't have to deal with flies to know using social media can create a good buzz about your bank. Social media can be a great way to help your bank publicize things you do in your community quite inexpensively.