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Affordable Marketing Data Options for Your Community Bank | Community Bank Marketing

Kyle Hershberger, President, Cross Financial

Use what you have. Pursue what you need. – Kyle Hershberger, President, Cross Financial

For marketers at many community banks, finding quality market research at an affordable price can be difficult. At ICBB, we hope to be a resource for community banks in all aspects of their operations. We’ve Kyle Hershberger, President at Cross Financial, to provide information on bank marketing subjects. In this article, the first of a two-part series, Hershberger provides practical advice for community bank marketers on accessing affordable marketing data.

Capturing and using data is an integral part of every financial institution’s daily processes. From the data that resides in a core banking software system to all of the information added to ancillary software systems and working files, the volume of information is enormous. If your institution has support systems in place to simplify data management you have a step up on many of your competitors. For most institutions, the software required to consolidate customer data from different internal systems is simply not available or cost-prohibitive. Don’t let that stop you from developing solutions to leverage your customer information.

A combination of research and data management will produce powerful insights to support decision-making, so let’s examine a few of the common ways financial institutions conduct research and analyze data. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. There are creative and affordable solutions available. Just think creatively and be realistic about what is possible.


The bad news is the fact that regulatory oversight and related reporting requirements produce significant workloads at financial institutions. The good news is that data provides a rich resource to examine industry performance and more specifically, direct competitors. The Bank Data and Statistics section of the FDIC website holds valuable insights, reports, and data points that help assess your competitors’ performance metrics. Most directional decisions or pricing philosophies adopted by financial institutions will ultimately flow to changes in their balance sheet and income statement. Tracking those performance trends will enhance your strategic planning activities.

Industry service providers are also a valuable source of data. If you want to compare your customer relationship statistics to industry standards, find studies conducted by banking service and software providers that will provide you with baseline data for direct comparisons.

The Paycheck Protection Program has provided new data about businesses that were previously unavailable to financial institutions. PPP was a major undertaking for your institution that now provides you with insightful information that is being published in searchable databases. What current customers and future prospects could you identify from the national PPP borrower database? Banks now have access to basic business information like the number of employees, normal operating expenses, and institutions used to acquire their PPP loans. Challenge your relationship managers to use the information to identify who to protect from competitor offers and who to pursue as the next best prospect.

If you are looking for market and demographic statistics, the US Census data is a great place to start. With the updated 2020 Census data, you can develop a clear view of your current or potential market. You can also utilize these statistics in comparison with your own data and see if you are strategizing properly based on your current and desired customer demographics. Since the majority of the Census data is searchable, you can identify your core trade area geography and create custom reports to support your decision-making.

Information will help move your institution from leaders that rely on statements that begin with ‘I Think’, to an institution that ‘knows’ the nature of their conditions and opportunities. Help transition your institution to an organization that knows the facts about their current operations and their opportunities. Invest in information and data management and move ideas and questions to business insights.


Kyle Hershberger

Kyle Hershberger is the President and Jack-Of-All-Trades at Cross Financial. Kyle’s experience in banking, banking software, research and marketing services help clients focus on desired results. Kyle’s industry expertise comes from decades of working with financial institutions across the nation. Kyle has been at the forefront of research and planning to support financial institution sales and marketing activities. Kyle is a frequent presenter at banking industry conferences and seminars and a member of the faculty at the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin. Kyle is a 3rd generation banker and a 2nd generation consultant!

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