If someone had told me at the beginning of 2020 that, soon, we would all be advised to wear masks to go to the grocery store, to pick up dinner, even to do business at the bank, I wouldn’t have believed it. Before, wearing a mask to a bank would have been highly discouraged, of course, because masks, throughout banking history, have been associated with robberies. Now, we encourage people to wear them in, to stay safe during the pandemic. It’s a very strange change for those who work in the bank.
Change can be hard, but it most often comes about because of necessity, and it usually results in an improvement. Take it from me – I’ve been in banking for over 30 years! I started at a small Utah bank that was later purchased by a larger regional bank that later merged two more times with even larger national banks. Then, 15 years ago, I came to Bank of Utah, which, I am happy to say, turned out to be a great change for me. I am also happy to say that the changes I’ve seen in the banking industry over the years have been great for everyone.
Let’s do a little comparison … then versus now.
Then: Remember when you got your paycheck on a Friday afternoon, and you had to rush to the bank to cash or deposit it, only to wait in a crazy long line? It seemed like every company paid every employee at the same time, and that everyone banked at the same location!
Now: Direct deposit has saved us, and our employers, so much time. It has saved our sanity, as well – no more long lines, and your money is available immediately.
Then: Remember when you had to wait, wait, wait for your monthly account statements? Thirty days is a long time, and then you had to worry about your statement getting lost in the mail. And remember how you’d get a different statement for each account you had? So when they did all arrive in the mail, you had to dedicate a good chunk of time to go through them all individually.
Now: With online banking, you can see what’s going on in your account anytime, anywhere, even from your phone with the mobile banking app. But that’s not all! (I know, I know. I sound like a game show announcer, but you really are getting a prize with all the services available online!) Through My Money Hub, for example, you can get a snapshot of all your accounts, including those from other financial institutions, and then use that information to better manage your finances.
Then: Remember how time consuming it was to pay bills? I mean, bills – we all have ’em, we all gotta pay ’em, right? So you got your checkbook, wrote out the checks and put them in the mail. Then the worry began. Did you put the right check in with the right bill stub? Did the check get lost in the mail or get stolen? You had to wait for your account statement to find out. If the check cleared, great! If it didn’t – oh no! By the time everything was straightened out and reconciled, you had to start the process all over again for the next month’s bills.
Now: Another benefit of online banking is Bill Pay, which allows you to pay your bills electronically. You can add payees and vendors, request e-bills and set up recurring payments, so you never miss one. Bill Pay is more secure, too. When you write a check, which includes your routing and account numbers, it passes through many hands on its way from your mailbox to the company you’re paying. Bill Pay cuts out the middlemen and the risk!
Then: Remember when you had to carry cash or a checkbook to pay for everything? If you lost your cash, it was often just gone, never to be found again. If your checkbook was stolen, you had to open an entirely new account, for your financial safety.
Now: We have debit cards. Not only are they more convenient than cash and checks, they’re also safer. If you lose your debit card, or it gets stolen, you can immediately lock, unlock and control it with your phone, through our CardValet monitoring and alert service. Our customer service representatives can quickly help you, too, of course. And another debit card bonus: You can customize your card with a favorite picture of your family, your pet or vacation spot!
Shopping and Subscribing
Then: Buying items online and getting subscriptions to things like digital movies and TV shows was, well, unheard of 30 years ago!
Now: We regularly make purchases online from retailers across the U.S. and the world. And just think about all the digital subscriptions we have to manage, services like Netflix and Amazon. This is where you debit card comes in handy yet again, allowing you to make purchases safely and securely. And, as a Bank of Utah customer, you get the advantage of having CardSwap, which lets you update your debit card information and manage your favorite digital services all at once and all in one place!
Taking Out Loans
Then: Remember when you needed to take out a mortgage loan, and you had to come into a branch, fill out the application, bring all your income information, and then wait for a decision? It could take six to eight weeks, sometimes longer!
Now: Today, even though we are required to review more information than we previously had to, we can still close most mortgage loans in as little as three weeks, thanks to improvements in technology. You can complete applications online, and send and receive information electronically. The great part is, our loan officers are still always there to help you when you need it.
Many other changes have taken place, of course, but these are a few that I’ve been very excited to witness.
One other thing that makes me proud is how Bank of Utah has changed with the times without changing who we are: a community bank that puts customers first. Our dedication to relationship building, combined with our desire to bring you the best and most secure technology, has allowed us to connect with people even more and to make sure your experience here is second to none.
And while we’re in the spirit of remembering, remember: We have always been here for you and always will be.
Teresa Thompson is branch manager at Bank of Utah’s Sandy Branch. Her favorite “change” to the banking industry has been online banking because it gives her more control over her own finances. In Teresa’s spare time, she enjoys reading, watching movies and gardening.