Tuesday, February 5, 2019 Stamford, CT USA — When it comes to banking, small businesses are beginning to experience the same benefits of technology as the consumer and corporate segments. That’s one of the main takeaways from the 2018 Greenwich Excellence and Best Brand Awards in Small Business Banking, which recognize banks that deliver outstanding quality to small business clients.

At the top of the list of 2018 winners are First Citizens Bank and Frost Bank, each winning 15 Greenwich Excellence and Best Brand Awards, First Tennessee and Synovus Financial, each won 14, and BB&T and Pinnacle Financial, each won 13.

Although branches and bankers remain cornerstones of the relationships for all these banks, digital technology is influencing every aspect of the industry, and it is spreading at an accelerating rate. Small business customers have seen that impact in the form of websites and mobile apps that allow immediate, anytime services like deposits, payments and balance inquiries. In addition, technology is having an equal impact behind the scenes, speeding credit processes, reducing service costs, identifying high-potential prospects, and arming relationship managers with data and ideas to bring to client meetings. 

Customer satisfaction has lagged in small business banking, in part, as a result of documentation requirements and antiquated processes. The headaches caused by these unfortunate realities are one reason that “ease of use” has become one of the biggest drivers of customer satisfaction—or dissatisfaction—in small business banking. 

“If there are exceptions to the rule of softening client satisfaction scores, they are found among the banks atop the list of Greenwich Excellence and Best Brand award winners,” says Greenwich Associates Vice President Dana Schwaeber. “All six of the leading winners took home awards in Overall Satisfaction and for Ease of Doing Business.” 

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Although it’s far too early to see the impact of these platforms on customer satisfaction scores, the new systems will minimize some of the most frustrating aspects for small businesses. This will free up banks to shift the focus of their technology investments to other areas, both customer-facing and back office. 

Small business banking will move in the direction of “self-service.” “There will be a period of adjustment as banks deploy increasingly effective digital tools and small businesses adapt to the notion that they are on the hook to execute more of the transactions and functions, as opposed to relying on branch representatives or other personnel for help,” says Greenwich Associates Managing Director Chris McDonnell.

2018 Greenwich Excellence and Brand Awards in Small Business Banking
Greenwich Associates evaluated the small business banking platforms of more than 600 banks in the U.S. in 2018. Of these, only 34 had the distinctive quality required to win a Greenwich Excellence Award and only 22 to win a Greenwich Best Brand Award.  

The Greenwich Excellence Awards are based on interviews with over 14,400 small business banking clients with sales of $1–10 million and cover a range of product and service categories, including Overall Satisfaction, Likelihood to Recommend, Branch Satisfaction, Credit Process, Cash Management: Ease of Product Implementation, Cash Management: Customer Service, and other important factors.

Click here for the complete list of the 2018 Greenwich Excellence Award winners in U.S. Small Business Banking.
Click here for the complete list of the 2018 Greenwich Best Brand Award winners in U.S. Small Business Banking.