Banking Industry Positioned to Help Businesses Evolve to ‘New Normal’

by Don Garner

“The [banking] industry’s goal is to help clients emerge stronger as they evolve their businesses from technology and workforces to product and service development.”

In the year 2020, the banking industry has had to be more nimble, forward-looking and customer-service-oriented than ever before. 

At Alliance Bank of Arizona, the cornerstone of our business has always been rooted in developing solid relationships with our customers. We make every effort to be in tune with their business needs and goals. When the uncertainty of COVID and its impact on our economy began to unfold this spring, we were fortunate in that we were standing ready to support our clients as they mobilized their responses from workforce safety through to ensuring accessibility to goods and services. In turn, we pivoted to video meetings and a host of 24/7 online tools that provided clients with increased access to banking services. In fact, a recent survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that many business leaders are encouraged by the support they have received from their banks; 82% favorably viewed their bank’s actions to alleviate the impact of coronavirus.

We see the financial industry being critically important moving forward as businesses begin to navigate the months ahead. While there may be light at the end of the tunnel, the face of business has changed globally. The industry’s goal is to help clients emerge stronger as they evolve their businesses from technology and workforces to product and service development. The ability to be flexible, responsive and creatively find solutions that fit within customers’ evolving “normal” will be increasingly important as they stabilize their businesses and chart a path for the future. 

Alliance Bank’s strength rests in our people and their ability to make lasting and meaningful connections with our clients. This has single-handedly created the best opportunities to serve our clients while they have had to pivot and strategically evaluate their next steps. 

COVID-19 has created numerous complex and multi-layered challenges for every single sector of our economy. Being in the banking industry, the bright spot of the past year has been Alliance Bank’s ability to continue working closely with our valued clients, creating collaborative plans that go beyond mere corporate survival and focus on ways we can help our clients thrive. Perhaps the most telling insight has been the feedback we have received from our clients over the past several months who have expressed their appreciation for the strategic insights our bankers have provided and added-value opportunities. Having their banker checking in and letting them know they have a solid team at Alliance Bank behind them — one that’s backed by the national strength of Western Alliance Bank — has gone a long way to further cement our relationships. 

Whether we are helping them identify new opportunities, providing strategic counsel or opening gateways to new financial options, COVID-19 has shown us that together, we are capable of overcoming any challenge against which we come up. 

We believe 2021 will be a transitional year. While there are promising expectations around COVID vaccine approvals, in the short term we expect there will be similar demand for the same services and tools we offered to our clients throughout 2020. 

Overall, customers across the banking spectrum will continue to demand online and mobile banking solutions. Being a business bank, we see similar trends and are anticipating that the demand for 24/7 tools and more flexible points of access will continue into the future, well after the pandemic is officially over.

That said, the same PricewaterhouseCoopers survey indicated that business leaders want more than just a lender relationship from their bank. This is where we believe Alliance Bank thrives. Being a business bank that offers a human touch and deep desire to understand our clients’ businesses, goals and pain points, we are able to respond more effectively and efficiently when unforeseen challenges arise. This, combined with advances in financial technology that are building increasingly efficient financial platforms and more tailored banking solutions, will create the next-generation banking experience for many business clients. 

Don Garner is CEO of Phoenix-based Alliance Bank of Arizona, a division of Western Alliance Bank, member FDIC. A founding member of Alliance Bank’s original management team, he steers the strategic direction and administration of programs and products offered by Alliance Bank, while also managing its performance and operations.

Read the other “13 Top Valley Leaders on 2021” responses. »

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