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Banks closely monitoring economy for marketing, product impact

Banks in Mississippi closely watch the economy, both nationally and locally, for any indication that changes to their marketing programs and product offerings are warranted.

Jerry Ables, executive vice president at the Bank of Commerce in Greenwood, says banks are not unlike all competitive businesses, constantly monitoring the marketplace, their customer base and the current economic environment to develop the most beneficial and most advantageous products for account holders.

“Our local economic trends have always somewhat lagged behind the national conditions, and Greenwood’s economic circumstances have fared better than most,” he said. “Bank of Commerce marketing programs will continue to promote the most convenient and technological conveyance of our products and accounts. We are continually looking at the latest technology to determine what fits our customers’ personality and needs.”

Customers, banks and branches

Ables thinks growth in the electronic delivery of payments has been, and will continue to be, a huge part of any bank’s marketing program.

“This not only pertains to enhanced debit card functions, faster automatic check processing and more attractive bill payment opportunities for our customers, but also better utilized methods of delivery between banks and branches,” Ables said.

He sees banking by telephone, or mobile banking, as the newest trend on the horizon. “It has generated a lot of interest and will continue to generate a great deal of notice in the future,” he added.

Sound decision making

Cadence Bank in Starkville is also keeping a close eye on the economy, feeling that a fluctuating, and at times uncertain, economy reminds consumers of the stability of their bank as a whole.

“At Cadence Bank, we give sound financial advice no matter what the state of the economy,” said senior vice president and marketing director Jon Boydstun. “Federal deposit insurance is also a reassurance that customers’ funds are protected.”

He says the bank tries to give a consistent branding message of a sound company that listens to the needs of its customers.

“We have created products that help consumers build good financial habits such as our new Simply Savings Account, which encourages disciplined savings habits by requiring an automatic deposit from a checking account at least once a month.”

Boydstun said Cadence also encourages customers to protect their assets and their good name by signing up for the bank’s Identity Theft Protection Service. On the mortgage side, the bank continues to offer traditional mortgage products and focus on customer needs.

“We help our customers make good financial decisions for the long term,” he said. “We have never offered subprime mortgages and never will. It’s all about integrity for our company.”

Smart and efficient spending

Lee Wade, vice president of marketing for The First, a bank based in Hattiesburg and Laurel, says the financial institution always tries to spend its marketing budget wisely, making the most of shareholders’ funds.

“We’re using our customer relationship management software, which is new to us, to help figure out where to spend our advertising dollars and do it smartly and efficiently,” she said.

Wade says the economy is pretty much business as usual in the area. “We’re not having the problems here that are occurring nationally,” she said. “The business owners I talk to say things are going well. We hope this continues.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.


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