If you have not walked into your local bank branch in a while, chances are you may be a little surprised. Gone are the days of waiting in long lines to deposit a check or transfer funds. The list of transactions you can do without ever interacting with someone is growing.
“The banking landscape is changing dramatically and becoming more digital every day, and we have to change with the times if we are going to remain relevant,” says Roger Christensen, senior vice president, marketing, communications and business development, Bank of Utah.
In the competitive banking industry the old adage “You have to go where your customers are” has never been truer than it is now. The branch side of the banking business, where you have someone standing in front of you, is shrinking. According to Christensen, banks are changing the way they look and feel, and that is being customer driven and technology driven.
The banking industry is attracting workers that don’t fit the typical “banker” profile—like information technology specialists. These individuals are becoming bankers because of the products and services banks now offer. “The digital side of our workforce is growing because we are making products that reach customers faster and with more reliability,” says Christensen.
By changing with the times, the banking workforce continues to be strong in Utah. In fact, Zions Bank hired 1,082 employees in Utah last year, according to Trina Eyring, director of talent acquisition.
“We recognize top talent is in high demand. Even though Zions Bank has a great brand and we get qualified candidates, we want to get in front of upcoming talent acquisition challenges. We are in the process of identifying technology solutions that will enable us to more effectively communicate our employment value proposition and make it easier to apply for open positions.”
Zions Bank gets 50-plus applicants for most jobs it posts. The bank has a great pipeline to choose from and most applicants are college-educated professionals, according to Eyring.
At Bank of Utah, they cultivate talent from within the organization as well. “We want to grow our own as much as possible, but when there are specific needs, we’ll go out and find those people in our community,” says Christensen.
He notes that employees who come to Bank of Utah often stay with the bank. The average experience of commercial or mortgage lenders at Bank of Utah is more than 25 years. These employees continue to grow in their areas of expertise with bank-sponsored education programs and scholarships.
Zions Bank focuses its outreach efforts on college campuses across the state. “We intentionally get them up front and project a branding image that is open and inclusive. We talk about community involvement and how working at Zions can give you an opportunity to not only expand your career, but be involved in your community,” says Eyring.
Eyring references the annual Zions Bank Paint-A-Thon, where employees paint houses for deserving community members, as one way employees are able to add value to their careers and find fulfillment.
The Zions Bank leadership are aware of how important it is to attract and retain millennials. Eyring has been charged with forming a statewide work group to brainstorm ways to be more proactive in attracting younger generations into banking. “We will be focusing on how we can do a better job of attracting and retaining young talent,” she says.
“We intentionally get them up front and project a branding image that is open and inclusive. We talk about community involvement and how working at Zions can give you an opportunity to not only expand your career, but be involved in your community.” – Trina Eyring, director of talent acquisition, Zions Bank
The human connection
Not all transactions can be completed electronically. There will always be a need for qualified employees willing to take time with customers to complete more complicated transactions, Christensen notes.
“It is important for community banks to stay attuned to what’s happening in their individual communities and to grow and evolve with them, otherwise we won’t be around for long,” he says.
“The best thing a banker can do is not hand people money, because money is a commodity, but help our customers grow intellectually,” Christensen adds. He also notes banking is becoming a more refined industry, and it is becoming increasingly more important that bankers stay attuned to what customers want and evolve with the times.