In the 2014 marketing plan for BayCoast Bank, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jim Rice included a section called, “The Invasion of the Non-Banks.”
Rice’s message with that jarring title and related information is to remind bank executives and board members that banks need to be alert to what Rice described as “a shifting competitive set in the industry.
“The invasion of the nonbanks includes Walmart, Popmoney and T-Mobile’s Mobile Money,” said Rice. “Then there are peer-to-peer services that let you, for instance, take a loan from your brother.”
While bank executives are likely aware of the bigger nonbanks, it’s also important to keep up with the increasing number and variety of peer-to-peer and other emerging financial services offered by nonbanks, he said.
“The young folks are paying attention to it and using their smartphones for all types of payments,” said Rice. “Those in the boomer generation really need to focus on our strengths in the mass market, and especially to create an awareness of our services with the unbanked and under-banked.
“We have to make them aware that small and local is better than large and national,” said Rice. “We’re taking local deposits and putting that money back into the community in car loans and small- business loans,” he said.
Nonbanks often promote their low-fee or no-fee services, but local banks can do as well or better, he said.
“Walmart is promoting check cashing for $3 and there are those consumers in the market who may not understand that you can open a checking account at BayCoast with a minimum balance and we don’t charge to cash checks,” said Rice.
BayCoast offers student checking for those under 24 and senior checking for those 65 or older with a $10 deposit, no monthly fee and the first order of checks for free, he said.
Despite the increasing competition from nonbanks, BayCoast Bank is more than holding its own.
BayCoast, based in Swansea, has 17 branches, with one in Tiverton and the remainder in southeastern Massachusetts.
While those 17 branches are growing in local market share, BayCoast and other regional banks are fully aware of the volume of consumer education needed to hold off the nonbanks when it comes to thin pocketbooks, a tight economy and the often-mentioned behemoth –Walmart – to contend with.