Scotiabank Impact Story: Education and Empowerment: the Bank of Tomorrow

Scotiabank Impact Story: Education and Empowerment: the Bank of Tomorrow

Monday, April 17, 2017 - 1:20pm

CAMPAIGN: Scotiabank 2016 CSR Report

CONTENT: Article

Whether you accessed this website via computer, tablet, or phone, you probably already have some inkling of how much technology has come to shape our day to day lives. Most of us rely on technology as an integral part of our routine, from getting directions to streaming favorite music to managing our finances.

A wealth of information

The implications of this technological shift are familiar territory for Anna Iemma-Bonanno, a project manager at Scotiabank who has been working to envision how the bank of the future will serve its customers.

She’s seen how the vast amount of information available at our fingertips has led to new types of behavior: “People go online, they read newspapers, and they come to the bank already very well informed. In comparison to ten years ago, customers tend to do quite a bit of research.”

This wealth of financial information is making customers increasingly more independent. “Now, our customers are saying, ‘In situations where transactions are simple, I can basically self serve. When and if I feel like I need an expert, I'll engage with [one] to get a recommendation.’” Anna explains.

The knowledge gap

However, when it comes to serious financial decisions, lots of information does not always equal a clear course of action. In fact, when a financial decision can have long-term implications over one’s well-being, too much data can actually be overwhelming. In these cases, says Anna, “Customers still need to engage with an expert who can validate that a decision is correct and it is the right thing for them.”

And that is precisely where Anna and her team work, acting to fill the “knowledge gap” where customers feel like they have some financial understanding, but don’t necessarily feel empowered to make large decisions based on that information alone: “We’re trying to elevate the customer’s role from passenger to copilot.”

Scotiabank Presents

Anna is part of the team that created Scotiabank Presents, a series of classes that promote financial knowledge on a variety of real life topics. “The curriculum is built around the big life events that our customers face; going to school, sending kids to school, retiring, short-term goal planning, wanting to know how to manage their budget; those sort of things,” says Anna. “One of the most popular classes is Do You Really Need a Million Dollars to Retire? The retirees love that class.”

Scotiabank Presents classes are taught in the foyer of the new Scotiabank Solutions branches in Guelph and Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Classes are posted on a monthly calendar both in-branch and online and prospective attendees can sign-up for sessions either in person or digitally. The classes are offered free of charge to any member of the community, whether a customer of Scotiabank or not.

According to Anna, “There aren’t any strings attached and there’s no product push. It’s general financial information with a community offering. We carefully designed the courses to make sure that at the end, it wasn’t ‘See your advisor for your new credit card.’ That’s not the intent of Scotiabank Presents.”

Taking the Longview

Rather, the classes are designed with the long view in mind — making customers and the community financially healthier. When people are equipped to make better financial decisions and plan for their future, everyone benefits — from customers, the community, and even Scotiabank. Or, as one class participant put it: “There’s a natural fit for banks to look at education as a service — to help people become educated so they can understand their finances. It’ll make people loyal, it won’t be just about nickels and dimes.”

Looking ahead

Scotiabank Presents is in a pilot phase, and Scotiabank is working to refine the class curriculum. But Anna is optimistic about the role that these classes will play in charting the future of the bank. “The research [leading to these classes] was done in Canada to benefit the Canadian market. But, that being said, we’re proof of concept and we’re looking at full-service locations everywhere offering these classes. That’s something we’re working towards.”

Which is good news for the future of financial knowledge — because when customers know how to make better financial decisions, everyone can become better off.

Read Scotiabank’s 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report 

CATEGORY: Education