A banker sends a message on his personal smartphone while meeting with clients
By Pete Daugherty | August 31, 2023

Protecting Bank Branches from Regulatory Pitfalls: The Communication Compliance Challenge

Investment arms of major banks are facing reputational and financial headwinds due to non-compliant communication breaches. Investing in your branch communication technology today can help avoid similar crises.

It’s been a turbulent time in the financial world. Major investment arms of big banks have found themselves under scrutiny, shouldering hefty fines for using non-compliant communication tools. While headlines might focus on these departments, the ripple effect of such regulatory pitfalls can permeate into other banking areas - notably bank branches.

Now, I’ve been in banking for a long time, and I can’t stress enough how critical it is for us to learn from these events. When it comes to bank branches, the challenges they face might be different, but they're no less significant.

In Zebra’s Fourth Annual International Branch Banking Employee Survey, we found that a staggering 88% of respondents admitted to using non-bank communication tools to complete their work. Even more concerning? More than half (55%) had shared or seen shared Personally Identifiable Information (PII) - either about colleagues or customers - on platforms like WhatsApp or iMessage. These figures aren’t just numbers; they represent a brewing storm of potential non-compliance.

Such unauthorized channels can leave your bank exposed to the possibility of leaked confidential business information or even customer data. And it's not just about the direct implications, such as fines or legal actions. There's a more profound impact: reputational damage. It's hard to put a price tag on trust, but once lost, it's even harder to regain.

The modern customer is both informed and concerned. According to “The Deloitte Center on Financial Services’ Privacy Survey 2020”, a significant 64% of participants asserted that privacy is a top consideration every time they interact with their financial institutions. Beyond that, over six in 10 respondents expressed their concern about sharing personal identifiers like their names or Social Security numbers. Given this backdrop, your bank can’t afford any mistakes upholding the sanctity of their data.

So, how do you move ahead? How do you navigate these challenges to ensure that your bank branches are not just compliant but are also efficient and responsive to both employee and customer needs?

  1. Centralize All Workplace Communications: In my time in banking, I've seen plenty of technological shifts. But centralizing communication stands out as an imperative. By ensuring that all workplace communication happens on one unified system, we can maintain control, enforce compliance, and improve efficiency. Moreover, this unified approach, accessible from a mobile device, ensures timely delivery and receipt of vital information, enhancing accountability.

  2. Enable Peer-to-Peer Group Chats: As banking becomes more collaborative, the role of peer-to-peer communication cannot be understated. But it needs to be managed effectively. By introducing compliant group chats, you can foster better communication without compromising on regulatory requirements.

  3. Harness the Power of Advanced Analytics: The digital age is all about data. With the right analytical tools, banks can not only track message read and response rates but also identify real-time trends, ensuring continuous adherence to compliance. Such proactive oversight can help in identifying and addressing potential pitfalls before they balloon into major issues.

The banking world, as I've experienced it, has always thrived on proactivity. As consumer demands and regulatory landscapes evolve, it's no longer enough to be reactive. Instead, we need to work together to stay ahead of the curve, anticipate challenges, and develop strategies that not only mitigate risks but also enhance our service offerings.

To this end, integrating real-time communication solutions is more than just a technological upgrade; it's about reshaping how we operate, communicate, and serve as bankers – as trusted financial managers and advisors.

Banking is, and always will be, about relationships. It's time we use modern tools to fortify these relationships, ensuring trust, compliance, and efficiency in every interaction.

If you’re keen on delving deeper into how you can leverage these solutions to elevate your bank branches, I'd encourage you to connect with me and my team directly. As the adage goes, "Forewarned is forearmed." Let's arm ourselves for the future, together.

Best Practices, Banking,

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