How big data may help consumers come around

Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Fanny and Freddie: for those in the know, these names make the blood boil. These, among many, many others, were the recipients of the now infamous 2008 bank bailout.

 
 

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Many are still of the opinion that a lot of what went on was white collar crime, and that those wearing white collars should be tried in court and put away.

With the fifth anniversary of the 2008 bailout just months away, Americans are still displeased, and many have turned to smaller banking institutions, or local credit unions. But is there a way big data could bring these once happy clients back into the fold? Some financial experts think so.

One of the ways big banks plan to woo customers back is through the analyses of how they are behaving with the smaller banks they ran off to in 2008 and 2009. And we have to be honest about the differences between small town, single-branch banks and monster moguls like Wells Fargo. While many consumers may have taken their entire life savings to the smaller outfits, they are probably missing out on a lot of the conveniences that big financial institutions bring: online banking, automatic bill pay, 24-hour customer service, enhanced fraud protection, and insurance when theft identity occurs.

So while consumers are in the throes of picking their poison, big banks are strapping on their big data boots to try to hit the ground running in 2014. One of the main things big finance institutions are doing is “casing the joint” to see what makes their potential demographics happy. They’re doing this by checking out real-time social media users’ reactions to determine what they’re buying, which methods they are using to buy (credit card, debit, PayPal, etc.) and whether they are making such purchases via desktop/laptop or by smartphone or tablet. Other important factors for those who are using their mobile banking apps that banks are looking at how long they stay logged in and which aspects of the apps they are using the most—this allows banks to obtain important information about how satisfied mobile customers are without bothering them with survey calls and emails.

A logical conclusion is that those making purchases via iPhone or Android devices are likely more interested in the convenience of online banking to check out funds before making a purchase. As a general rule, small banking institutions don’t offer phone apps for checking balances, making transfers between accounts, and so on. It certainly stands to reason that those who are doing holiday shopping via their Amazon app are also interested in using a banking app to make sure they won’t go into the red before they press “buy”—and these are the very people big banks are now catering to, adding sponsored posts on Facebook to, and reaching out to via any mailing list they have with former clients on the roster.

The patterns in our online behavior send a message to big banks about how likely we are to come back. In the meantime, their focus should clearly be to work on what they will actually do differently for us once we come back. The days of the deceptive ARM must be over. Big data tells us that with how hard these institutions are working to seek us out, with any hope, they will work just as hard to keep us in their corral by ensuring we are pleased with everything from online banking to teller availability, and access to mutual funds to fairness in loans—true fairness, not the specter of fairness that haunted the past.

Related Reading:

The Big Data Social Bandwagon: Time to Jump On? – Yahoo Small Business Advisor

It’s Big Data if You Say So | The Marketing Robot

 
 

 
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