Bredin Report: Bank Industry Leaders Share Tips for Financial Education

Our CEO, Stu Richards, is excited to be chairing the Small Business Banking Conference October 3-4. Banking industry leaders will gather in Nashville to discuss what works best to attract, engage and retain small business customers.

Ahead of the conference, we talked with Elizabeth Dobers, Executive Vice President, Southwest Territory Business Banking executive for PNC Bank, and Shon Aguero, Chief Banking Officer at Freedom First, about how their institutions use financial education to connect with small business customers.

Dobers and Aguero are panelists on Financial Education

Dobers and Aguero are panelists on Financial Education — What It Is, Impacts on Clients, Community Perception and Bank Financials at next week’s event.

BREDIN: How do you define financial education?

ELIZABETH DOBERS: Financial education can be written materials, digital trainings, in-person seminars, one-on-one conversations and even free online resources. It’s a matter of discovering which format is most effective for the individual seeking information.

SHON AGUERO: “Financial wellbeing for all” is one of our core values. As such, we see financial education as the responsibility of every employee in our organization, so it takes many forms.

BREDIN: How do you ensure customer interest in the topics and formats you provide?

DOBERS: We strive to align our content with customers’ current needs and goals. We also leverage timely information available from PNC’s Chief Economist, Gus Faucher, to ensure our content is relevant to today’s economy and captures its impacts on small businesses.

BREDIN: What metrics do you use to measure program success?

DOBERS: Our teams closely track the amount of engagement we see — such as webinar registrations and attendees, time spent on a piece of digital content or video completions — to ensure we’re offering useful content.

AGUERO: We track debt reduction, increases in savings and improvement in credit scores for all types of customers, including for businesses.

BREDIN: What has worked to amplify your education efforts?

DOBERS: We have developed specific in-house certification programs for our PNC bankers focused on specialized segments, such as women-owned and minority-owned businesses. These programs enable our bankers to better meet the needs of business owners and help them serve as an advocate for their clients.

AGUERO: We build alliances with other community partners, non-profits and bank members. The things they say and post do more to amplify our work than anything we could do ourselves.

BREDIN: What role does research play in your financial education program?

DOBERS: Research is critical for understanding our customers, remaining relevant and developing timely content.

BREDIN: What advice would you give anyone embarking on a financial education program targeting SMBs?

DOBERS: Tailor your offerings to the needs of the particular small businesses you work with. And, don’t focus on just one channel. Digital is usually front of mind, but it’s not the only avenue. Consider other options, such as in-person workshops, client testimonials and employee certification programs.

AGUERO: Research what your audience really needs to know, and then have a real “gut check” at the executive level of the organization to determine if you are serious about financial wellness.

BREDIN: How effective has financial education been for brand building, acquisition, retention and client profitability?

DOBERS: It has allowed us to foster strong relationships with clients and reinforce that they have an expert in their corner working with them towards a shared goal.

AGUERO: Financial education, financial empowerment and improving financial wellbeing IS our brand.

Need help understanding and/or engaging SMBs? Bredin can keep you up to date on evolving SMB needs and challenges through quick-turn, actionable market research. We can also help you develop high-value content and social posts to boost SMB awareness, brand perception, leads, conversion and revenue.

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About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.