Nearly 80% of Bankers Report Increased Demand from SME Segment

Fundtech, a global transaction banking solutions company, has
released the results of a live poll conducted at its annual North
American Insights client conference held in June. Surveying 137 banking
executives from over 100 financial institutions, the poll addressed the
challenges and opportunities that banks face in targeting the small and
medium-sized enterprise (SME) segment.

Top Challenges and Opportunities in the SME Market

The
survey revealed that bankers see very strong potential for the SME
segment, with strong demand for new services, particularly mobile
banking:

  • Ninety-five percent of bankers describe the untapped potential of
    the SME market as equal to/or greater than any other present
    opportunity; 57% describe it as huge or large.
  • Six out of 10 said that the demand for new services from their SME
    clients is more than usual, while almost 20% said that the increased
    demand is “unprecedented.”
  • Thirty-eight percent said that developing or expanding their
    mobile banking channel is their bank’s top priority for the SME market.
    Reducing the cost of servicing this segment is also a top priority (34%
    said it was their number one priority).
  • Over two-thirds (67%) think that social networking has a potential role in their SME plan, though they are not yet sure how.
  • Almost 60% said they see some evidence of non-bank competitors taking away business from them in the SME segment.

Regulation

Regulation and compliance stood out as
leading concerns among the bankers surveyed. Results show a continuing
lack of clarity around what must be done to comply with new regulations
(such as Dodd-Frank), and the expectation that there will be additional
regulations to follow. The main findings of the survey include:

  • Over 30% said that they either were not sure what their department
    must do in order to comply or they had many questions. Almost 50% said
    that they “mostly” understand what they need to do.
  • A majority (56%) believe that Dodd-Frank will undergo major
    revisions in the coming years, while 33% think that “this is just the
    beginning” and that there will be many more new regulations.

George Ravich, Fundtech chief marketing officer, said: “The SME
market offers an enormous growth opportunity to banks that understand
their unique needs. For the millions of SMEs that consider their pick-up
trucks as their offices, the mobile channel provides a compelling level
of convenience and control. The key to success is offering this market
segment well-designed options that are developed for the three major
platforms-smartphone, tablet and computer.”

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