2016 is certainly a year for the history books – with interest rates rising for the first time in a year, tumultuous elections in Europe and the U.S. – we certainly live in interesting times. Talk to any SouthCoast resident or business owner and three topics are likely to occupy their minds – technology, cybersecurity, and energy costs. Similarly, these have been on the minds of us here at BankFive.
It would be hard to say that any of our lives hasn’t been impacted by emerging technology. From daily communication to simply watching television, nearly everything we do has been altered with additional debuts each year. In 2016, the term “Internet of Things” became widely used to describe our reliance on computing activated devices used in everyday life. A new home today is likely to be equipped with a smart fridge, smart TV, wireless personal assistant, and motion activated camera. While these may ease some aspects of our day, it is ultimately transforming the way we live as the influx of devices provides potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities. As such, identity theft prevention and cybersecurity awareness are critical.
Because we were founded to serve the needs of our customers, we aligned key initiatives to customers’ priorities - convenience of technology, cybersecurity and identity theft protection, and green energy.
As use of mobile banking beats desktop online banking, we are reminded of how quickly customers’ behaviors change and the overall use of bank technology illustrates customers’ reliance on these conveniences. By year-end 2016, customers made 69% more mobile deposits, 50% more electronic transfers, 33% more person-to-person payments, and 3% more bill pay transitions than in the prior year.
To protect our customers, we increased BankFive’s repository of cybersecurity information on our website and posted blogs about fraud prevention and tips for cyber safety. To combat fraudsters, all BankFive debit cards were converted to chip-enabled debit cards, the latest and greatest in fraud prevention. According to VISA, chip enabled cards have helped reduce counterfeit fraud in the U.S. by more than 50%.
The increased use of technology and changing environmental landscape has fueled the expansion of green energy. If you don’t already have solar panels on your roof, you are sure to have a friend or neighbor who does. BankFive’s popular HEAT Loan program and newly launched Solar Loanprogram helped nearly 250 residents make their homes more energy efficient. Installation of solar panels on our Fairhaven and County Street, New Bedford branches ensures that ten of our locations ‘operating energy is supplemented through solar energy, whereby improving our own social responsibility.
In 2017 we will continue to answer your needs with a new and robust website, easier loan application process, a new business online banking system and continued focus on the personalized service you desire in every channel. Modern technology gives us convenience, expedites processes, and connects the world like never before. It also gives BankFive another aspect of customer satisfaction, consistency. Each element of the customer experience – branch, ATM, website, call center - must be in sync providing no distinction between technological and human interaction. Because we were founded to serve the needs of our customers, we aligned key initiatives to customers’ priorities. Thank you for the trust you have placed in us for 161 years. We look forward to growing with you as we continue to live our promise
“Let’s Thrive Together”.
William R. "Bill" Eccles, President and CEO