Adapting Your Bank or Credit Union Strategy to the New Normal | COVID-19

Adapting Your Bank or Credit Union Strategy to the New Normal | COVID-19

To say the COVID-19 or coronavirus crisis has been a disruption to the economy would be a major understatement.

All businesses have been affected by this with banks and credit unions being no different.

Although the impact on both the health system and economy can make everyone think conservatively, the best businesses will use this time to better understand customers, make short-term and long-term institutional changes, and demonstrate your organization is thought leader in the industry by...




Many of the changes in business are being forced into now due to social distancing guidelines, state guidelines, and federal guidelines that will be long-lasting.

Here are a few examples of how the Coronavirus will have lasting impacts on consumer behavior.

Grocery Stores

grocery store icon

With consumers jumping to mobile apps to place delivery and pick-up orders for groceries, it’s likely many are considering the ease and convenience of the process and deeming it is worth the extra cost.

This trend will likely continue, far beyond social distancing regulations.


healthcare icon

As many families try telehealth for the very first time to avoid traveling to the doctor’s office, they are quickly learning how convenient the service is.

Rather than taking the entire family to the pediatrician, a mother can simply sign into a secure video link and the doctor can review the child’s symptoms and conditions and the physician can call in prescriptions.

All without ever having to leave your home to get a diagnosis.

And in banking too...

Examples like these are also evident in the financial industry.

With banks and credit unions perhaps having to consolidate staff and branches, this has forced many users to download a banking app for remote check deposit, use online banking to check their balance or make a transfer, and even contact the call center rather than asking the teller during a weekly in-branch visit.

No doubt, your financial institution is facing unprecedented challenges. Each new day creates a priority more important than the one yesterday. 

Your budget has been thrown into a tailspin. 

Your marketing ideas may no longer be possible. 

Do any of these challenges pop up in your daily briefings, weekly meetings, or monthly strategy sessions at your bank or credit union?

  • How do we best realign in-branch resources and branches to adopt a digital strategy?
  • How can we best manage the influx of loans and lending requests from businesses and consumers?
  • Will our customers seek more from us in terms of anticipating needs and financial advice?
  • Will the growth of digital banking last post-crisis?
  • How will consumer channel preferences change due to the crisis?

Now is the time to take action, not avoid it. How you choose to react now will impact brand loyalty in the future.

To better understand the experience of banks and credit unions during the COVID-19 crisis, Drive Research conducted qualitative interviews with personnel at banks and credit unions. Interviewees represented local, regional, and national institutions.

The objectives of the research included understanding:

  • How institutions are navigating the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Preparedness of the institutions.
  • Potential long-term impacts of the crisis.

This State of Banks and Credit Unions report is a summary of key findings from these discussions.

Download the report, here.

How Banks and Credit Unions Can React to Customer Needs During and After COVID-19

The idea of using analytics and data to drive financial institution decisions seems a lot more complicated and time-consuming then it actually is.

A customer or member survey with our banking market research company can streamline this process and deliver results in days. 

Understand and React to Customer Needs

Now more than ever people will expect support, advice, and protection from their banking provider.

They expect their unique needs and concerns to be met. It is important to take this time of disruption to reevaluate how your team can address and support customer and member financial needs. 

COVID-19 has created a new “norm”, and ultimately a different life for each individual.

It will no longer be a benefit for your financial institution to market products in a general, broader manner. Customers are expecting individualized attention rather than a general, overarching marketing message. 

As a result, banking leaders must utilize segmented customer data to offer a unique product and pricing strategy to meet these new expectations.

Understand What Trends Are Here to Stay

It’s hard to imagine life outside of COVID-19. Will things ever go back to normal? Yes and no. The economy will open back up, people will be able to eat at their favorite restaurants, etc. 

However, there are trends that have been created in the bank and credit union industry in order to make up for the challenges of COVID-19 that will likely outlast the pandemic.

Although you were likely not prepared for the major economic impacts of the virus, as many of us were not, you can be prepared for how you respond to these new customer changes in the future. 

Rethink what drives the choice of bank

choice of bank due to COVID-19

We’ve seen in our own research studies that people often choose a bank based on the convenience and rates offered.

Is this still the case? If so, what are the new rates that people will be looking for in their banking provider?

If not, what are the new major factors of choice?

Here are some topics you need to address with your members and customers:

  • Which of our products, services, processes, and protocol are viewed as a convenience?
  • Which of our products, services, processes, and protocol are viewed as a nuisance?
  • Will this digital transformation last or will customers go back to old habits? What are the concerns?
  • What products/services will be more of a priority for customers?
  • How are our first-time digital users managing the experience? Are there issues? Problems?
  • How can we market through unique and relatable targeted messaging rather than generalizing?
  • During this crisis, what are customers most concerned about with their financial needs?
  • What would cause customers to switch to a different financial provider?
  • How can we be more proactive and anticipate the needs of our customers?
  • How can we best share tips, information, and advice with our customers during this time?
  • How can we improve our response times to customer needs and requests?
  • How do we best allocate resources to improve the customer experience short-term and long-term?
  • How can we collect feedback from customers to help senior management revise strategic plans?

All of these challenges can be answered with data from a member survey to prioritize your next steps.

Here is a simple outline of the steps involved in a customer of member survey:

  1. A pre-project phone call to review your objectives and design a custom approach.
  2. Full proposal with details on the scope of work, timeline, and fees.
  3. Kickoff meeting to discuss survey content and discuss the next steps.
  4. Survey draft with all of the member or customer survey questions.
  5. Programming of the survey using our online software.
  6. Testing of the survey internally with or team of analysts.
  7. Soft-launch of the survey to members and customers to see if any adjustments are needed.
  8. A full launch of fieldwork via email with reminders.
  9. Analysis of the data by age, region, accounts, tenure, etc.
  10. A full report with an infographic and recommendations.
  11. A debrief of all of the key findings. Our team walks you through how to take action.

Contact Us

Drive Research is a banking market research company that works with local, regional, and national banks and credit unions across the country. Our services including both qualitative and quantitative market research.

Our range of services includes but is not limited to email surveys, focus groups, mail surveys, mobile surveys, virtual focus groups, video one-on-one interviews, and much more.

Have a question? Need a proposal? Reach out to our experts. There are four ways to contact us below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040


  1. PwC: How retail banks can keep the lights on during the COVID-19 crisis
  2. The Finacial Brand: Reimagining Digital Banking Transformed

Voice of Customer