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Moments Matter: Wealth Transfer

 Whether assisting a customer in real time, or collaborating with partners or customers across continents in the blink of an eye, banks must exceed expectations to achieve a competitive edge. And it is not just about speed, it is about the experience. Every interaction is a moment of truth, and moments matter.

Wealth transfer, or the passing of assets from one generation to another, is certainly a moment that matters. Looking back to when I was a personal banker (at a major West Coast bank), I recall one such a moment that took the form of an elderly lady walking into the branch with a check book in hand, and in an emotional state telling me that her husband passed away, and that he had attended to all their financial matters, including how to balance her checkbook. By providing an ear to listen, and some basic teaching, empathy and caring, I was also able to ascertain that my new customer had accounts and assets all over town. This led to a nice win-win for my bank and my customer as we worked together to bring her assets to the bank where I could help her manage them. This was making a moment matter for wealth transfer the old fashion way. The problem is that it is not very scalable, and was completely in the hands of the customer to take the initiative.

One of the ways we tried to make it less in the hands of the customer was to go and speak at various community organizations (community outreach, which also satisfied CRA compliance requirements). But today there is technology to help banks create scalable solutions to engage customers during a time of wealth transfer.

First, to find the customers, banks can apply analytics to the internal data in their systems matched with data available through many external sources. After potential clients are found, they can be further analyzed to better “know them” and segment them. Then, campaigns can be created that deliver relevant offers to create a personal relationship with them for the bank. Finally, as customers respond to the campaign, the bank can create systems of continuous engagement to stay connected with the customer, so that when a moment that matters arises, the bank will be able to respond in the right way.

Certainly nothing completely replaces the human touch, but technology will help banks to be proactive ahead of such emotional events as wealth transfer, and to cultivate relationships for the moments that matter.


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