It is true, human beings aren’t always everything we aspire to be. Many of us are poor drivers. Some of us have been rude (or even worse) online. Some of us will go through life never finding a haircut that works with our head shape.
Note: Here at Saint Louis Bank, there are some poor drivers and a few bad haircuts—works in progress.
That said, we do have our bright spots. Humans figured out how to build the Gateway Arch from two separate points and still get the final piece to fit just right.
The bright spot that used to shine for human interaction in banking, however, has dimmed.
Over the last several years, the use of financial-service technologies and mobile applications has exploded. Opening a checking or savings account or getting a personal loan has become as easy as spending a few minutes tapping away at a handheld screen. People and businesses are increasingly comfortable conducting banking transactions digitally.
And let’s be frank, apps and financial-service startups may offer certain advantages, including ease and the anonymity many digital-first consumers prefer. That’s not a bad thing.
However, an app can’t look you in the eye.
And if it does, it’s not to gauge your character. If an app is looking you in the eye, it’s doing some of that Black Mirror-level creepy stuff that we should all be concerned about. #blackmirror is awesome.
An app can’t hear the passion in your voice when you talk about your business and what it means to your customers, your employees, your community, and your family.
An app does an exceptionally poor job of measuring the qualities that separate those who succeed as entrepreneurs from those who don’t: determination, resilience, confidence, and work ethic are all lost to an app. There may be an algorithm to match you to your soulmate (or at least someone who also likes Sauce Magazine’s Food Truck Fridays in Tower Grove #foodtrucksoulmate, but it cannot measure grit. Those things require the human element. An emotional capability. The capacity to relate.
At Saint Louis Bank, we understand that it is the person, the relationship, that makes the difference. We specialize in looking entrepreneurs in the eye and seeing what they are made of. Because success isn’t determined solely by numbers you type into a box.
Steve Jobs set up shop in his parent’s garage with Steve Wozniak when the seed to start a company, later to be named Apple, was planted [pun intended].
Richard Branson was twenty-two years old when he set up the business that would later become the Virgin Group.
Sara Blakely cut the feet out of her pantyhose because the undergarment she was wearing wasn’t good enough, and later turned her prototype into the empire Spanx is today, changing the way women get dressed.
Had financial services apps existed at the time, not Jobs nor Branson nor Blakley would have received the confirmation email they hoped for if they applied for a business loan online. It was a human, looking across a table at another human, who made the decision to set these giants on their respective paths.
Aspiring entrepreneurs often become successful entrepreneurs when a human being looks them in the eye and sees their determination, resilience, confidence, work ethic, and grit. Human beings have the capacity to recognize the ineffable. That special something in each other that doesn’t translate well digitally.
At Saint Louis Bank, technology is a complement, not a supplement. We strive to provide our clients with technological innovation that makes the routine aspects of banking easier—but we know human beings who live, work, and believe in your community still make the best bankers.
Innovative banking technology and human touch are not mutually exclusive. At our Bank, we prioritize and deliver both. Why? Because at some point during a banking relationship, your business will experience new challenges and new opportunities for which an app cannot provide guidance. When that happens, you will want a banking relationship with someone who can look you in the eye, understand your challenge, and tell you how they can help…perhaps using technology to deliver the help you need.
Either way, we will be thankful that we are lucky enough to be in business with an entrepreneur who has exactly what it takes to succeed.