Competing with the Gigantosauruses and Digitalbatrosses

I know you’re thinking that this isn’t a great analogy because dinosaurs are extinct, and an “albatross” is a psychological burden that feels like a curse. But gigantosauruses are (OK, were) huge, powerful animals (like the Big Tech companies) and albatrosses are one of the fastest species of animals, flying at nearly 80 miles per hour (and the challenger banks do move fast).

So how can (and should) community-based financial institutions respond to these competitive threats? 

If you’re Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan Chase or the EVP of strategy at Visa, you could just acquire one of the fintech upstarts and shut them down. Not much of an option for a community-based FI, though.

Even Chase and Visa are in no position to buy out Google or Amazon, but community banks and credit unions could partner with them. Few plan to do so, however. Roughly three-quarters said they won’t partner with Google on its new Plex account or say that they’re unlikely to do so.

The recently shelved Google Plex account was intended to become the hub for accountholders’ payments and financial management activities. Although community-based FIs were in no position to replicate what Google is planning to do, they can rethink and reinvent the current checking account to become more of a hub for a set of services that consumers want and need—and will pay for—and get from their bank or credit union.


Becoming a hub for value-added services doesn’t mean creating a section or tab on the mobile app or online banking platform and offering coupons for discounts on services—it means bundling various sets of services directly into the checking (or payment) account product structure.

What kinds of services are we talking about? Over the past two years, we’ve asked consumers about 14 different types of services including insurance products like accidental death insurance and travel insurance, protection services like cell phone damage and identity theft protection, and payments-related services like subscription canceling, bill negotiation, and purchase protection.

Many consumers are interested in obtaining many of these services bundled with a checking account from a bank or credit union. Roughly one-third of consumers between 21 and 55 years old, for example, are very interested in getting identity theft protection, data breach protection,  and health-related discounts from a financial institution.


While there’s likely to be little disagreement that we have a financial health crisis in the United States, the overlooked aspect of this crisis is the misperception industry providers have about their contributions to dealing with the problem. Or maybe we should say “lack of contributions.”

Among consumers who consider a megabank, large regional bank, credit union, or digital bank their primary provider, only four in 10 said those institutions had any positive impact on the performance and health of their financial lives. Among customers of community banks, that percentage drops to 33%.

The problem isn’t that consumers say their primary banks detract from their financial performance and health — it’s that they say their primary providers have no impact on their financial health and performance.

Fututre of Overdrafts Survey 2024 Download

Community-based financial institutions have an opportunity to carve out an overlooked—and largely misunderstood—strategic position in the market by competing on financial health. Megabanks are competing on “convenience,” leaving the financial health position open.

Unleash the power of great checking today

StrategyCorps can help your FI survive and thrive in the face of digital and megabank competition. When you’re ready to take a deeper look at our CheckingScore analytics or demo our BaZing mobile app to be a retail checking top-performer, let us know.