By Ron Daly

Newton’s Third Law says that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. But while he’s talking physics, I’m thinking customer retention. All good things seem to have a bad side, and for banks, stickiness is near the top of the list.

What’s sticky?

So, ask yourself if your stickiness is the good kind or bad kind: Do your customers perceive your bank as a sticky bun, offering a satisfying experience that leaves them with a good taste? Or maybe it’s more like flypaper, where customers put up with sub-par service or outdated delivery systems because they feel trapped?

Financial institutions with a flypaper attitude see no need to move into new technologies; they’ve had the same customers for years. Sure, the industry had a lock on financial services for decades; but with online banks, new challenger entrants, mobile wallets, Wal-Mart and Millennials questioning traditional banks’ relevancy, that’s changing. Retaining customers now means offering what they want most: anywhere banking, time savings and products that fit their lifestyles.

It’s no wonder. With the unprecedented pace of convenience technology, people are placing greater demands on all their personal service providers. From travel to insurance and from real estate to banking, consumers want information and access right at their fingertips. Delivery channels like smart phones and other mobile devices rule now, along with innovative services and one-click apps that break apart legacy technology silos.

What do people want?

Consumers may have started with their PFI because it offers typical bank services, but they stay because of what else it offers. It’s that “what else” that counts, and that means getting sticky. At Virtual StrongBox, we recommend three ways to do it: go mobile, get personal and be secure but also convenient.


All of us in our business think about banking all day … but let’s face it, consumers don’t. They’re time-pressed and want their banking to be portable, fast and simple. If you haven’t made all your online services mobile friendly, you might be too late!

“A study from TransUnion’s Innovation unit finds that just over three out of five (61%) of consumers’ banking transactions in 2019 were conducted on mobile phones. Strikingly that figure is up from 52% in 2018 and 28% in 2014.” (Source: The Financial Brand)

It isn’t news that Gen Y/Millennials heavily rely on their cell phones and entire generations have grown up with mobile devices in their hands. The “customer journey” is now front and center in all digital transformation initiatives. Offering account access when, where and how your customers want, and new digital products is critical  to your bank’s stickiness.


Banking today is still about relationships, but it isn’t enough to call customers by name, a generic email or send them a prefab birthday card. Tech-savvy people may not visit your branch as often anymore, but they still want to feel that you know who they are and what they have or need with your bank. That’s why an investment in a CRM solution is critical to stickiness. Being able to personalize your marketing promotions and digital interactions by using your customer database and data-mining capabilities to pinpoint their interests and needs enhances stickiness. A CRM can also ensure that the right offers are delivered to the right customers, via whatever channel they prefer – text, email, app, online or voice.


Safekeeping consumers’ money and personal data is as old as banking itself, which is how safe deposit boxes became popular. But that’s yesterday’s In-bank storage isn’t convenient, especially if documents are needed in a hurry. So, why not give your customers a reason to stay by providing a highly secure way to store their valuable papers and digital files online? Personal digital vaults, provided by a consumer’s trusted financial institution, is a great add-on, sticky product.More financial institutions are realizing the stickiness value in offering safe-deposit security through a digital vault AKA an online document storage service. But don’t opt for routine cloud-based services like Dropbox or Google Drive; while these are fine for short-term files with no sensitive data, they weren’t intended to store personally identifiable information. Instead, choose a service designed by financial industry insiders specifically for document security and workflow – a vital feature, given the growing risk of data breaches and other cyber crime these days.At Virtual StrongBox, our online storage solution combines easy access, functionality and best-of-breed security. Customers place their important papers in an encrypted online document library for retrieval whenever they want and can easily share them with the financial institution or other individuals they chose to share with. And with our patented encryption-at-rest process, users’ documents are never vulnerable.

Products like  Virtual StrongBox are sticky because they offer consumers a familiar concept – bank security for important papers and digital files – but with a high-value twist of workflow integration. Consumers want mobile banking that allows them to move seamlessly between channels, communication personalized to their  interests, and products and services with out-of-the-ordinary benefits. And that’s good sticky!


Ron Daly is the president and CEO of  Virtual StrongBox, a secure document solution with built-in image exchange capabilities that modernize banking workflow and technology. For more information, visit