MarTech Interview with JR George, Administrative Vice President at Trustco Bank

While global banking leaders enhance their digital customer experience with new tech innovations and features, how are other local and regional banking providers creating improved customer experiences with innovative solutions? JR George, Administrative Vice President at Trustco Bank talks about their latest digital banking platform (powered by Fiserv):

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Hi JR, we’d love to hear more about you and TrustCo Bank…

TrustCo Bank Corp NY is a $6.0 billion savings and loan holding company. Through its subsidiary, Trustco Bank, Trustco operates 148 offices in New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Florida. Trustco has a more than 100-year tradition of providing high-quality services, including a wide variety of deposit and loan products. In addition, Trustco Bank’s Financial Services Department offers a full range of investment services, retirement planning, and trust and estate administration services. Trustco Bank is rated as one of the best performing savings banks in the country.

I have had the absolute pleasure of working at Trustco for the past 20 years in several different capacities.  I began my career at the Bank as an Assistant Branch Manager and am currently a Senior Vice President responsible for oversight of the Planning and Systems Department and Marketing Department.  

On the personal side, I am a devoted husband and father of two who loves spending time with family.  If I am not found at one of the kid’s baseball or soccer games, I am out fishing beside my Labrador Retriever.  

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Today’s digital banking solutions are key to delivering better customer services, we’d love to hear about your new digital platform?

In the third quarter of 2020, Trustco implemented an enhanced online banking platform, Architect from Fiserv, which included new versions of the Trustco app available for both Apple and Android mobile devices.  This implementation was a complete overhaul of the digital experience as it included significant enhancements to bill pay, mobile deposits, real-time account alerts, new security features, and several other features. 

The overall success of the implementation was realized immediately.  The mobile application reviews and customer feedback through our Branch network were overwhelmingly positive.  Our mobile application ratings jumped almost 2 points and the traffic to each system increased well beyond our expectations.  

A few considerations that you feel banks need to consider when implementing new tools and systems to drive their digital banking processes?

System uptime:  

Uptime of 99.99% is table stakes.  If the system suffers from downtime, inconsistent performance, unstable connections, or latency, address the matter immediately with unrelenting expectations.  While system maintenance, patches, and releases are a part of life, potential negative impact to the customer must be restricted to the absolute minimum.    

Listen to your customers:

Banks are in the business of providing needed goods and services to existing and potential customers.  When those needs are not met, they will go to the competition.  Listening to your customers via reviews, surveys, or even consulting with your customer service department are all valuable tools in gaining the needed feedback to ensure that you have the best offering possible.       

Pay attention to detail:

If you want to be the best, even the small things need to be done right.  Attention to the small things is going to make the system pop out from its competitors and make a considerable difference.     

In today’s time, heightened digital services also mean more vulnerabilities, in what ways do you feel digital banking platforms need to be safeguarded more to ensure better protection for end users?

In today’s environment, providing a secure platform is absolutely crucial.  The risk posed to an institution’s reputation due to a cyber event is incalculable.  The cost of the event itself including consultation, notifications, and future preventative measures is no comparison to the risk of losing existing and future business.  Financial Institutions must do everything in their power to protect their data and stay on the cutting edge of security.  As the threats evolve, so must the security posture of each institution.    

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How according to you will digital banking solutions of the future evolve?

Digital banking solutions of the future will evolve by continued integration with other service providers to enhance the customer’s digital experience. Providing a banking application that is truly a one-stop-shop is going to be crucial as we navigate through the months and years ahead.  Mobile transactions will dominate the future, banks with the most convenient and secure applications will lead the way in market share.   

Can you talk about a few top digital banking platforms you’ve seen from the global fintech marketplace?

The mortgage space continues to amaze me.  To have the ability to fully automate a mortgage application or to apply for a loan over your phone is astounding.  Opening a deposit account online in a matter of minutes from the comfort of your own home is something that we wouldn’t even have had considered just a few years ago.   

Before we wrap up, a few biggest learnings and tips you’d like to share with fintech innovators and leaders?

It’s paramount that new products and services have the ability to integrate with other systems and applications.  Products that don’t fully integrate tend to create data silos and over time lose value as data mining becomes less effective.  Products and services that speak to each other and share data truly are superior to those that don’t as they are much more effective and efficient.  

Strive for 100% automation when designing a new service or product.  Expense management is often a key consideration for any successful organization.  Implementing a new tool that requires significant manual input or manipulation increases costs, the likelihood of errors occurring, and possible inconsistency. 

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Trustco Bank has been the low cost provider of high quality products and services since opening for business in 1902 in the upstate town of Schenectady, New York.

JR George is the Administrative Vice President at Trustco Bank

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