I’m thinking today about the first chatter I ever heard around the idea of an online bank. I was working for a traditional bank and I remember being skeptical, like everybody else, and thinking: There’s no way anyone’s going to pull that off. People won’t be comfortable not having branches they can walk into. How could an institution like that ever attract enough customers to matter?
That was the mid-’80s. Hairstyles were big. The Internet was small. People actually waited to get that monthly bank statement in the mail so they could balance their checkbooks. And over the next decade or so, a few online banks did start up. Most didn’t make it. The timing wasn’t right.
It’s hard to pin down when the tipping point came. Doesn’t it seem like one day we all woke up and Web connections were everywhere? Bit by bit, people got comfortable with — and even dependent upon – doing all sorts of things online. Traditional banks saw opportunity there and started offering the option of handling some transactions remotely, investing more in technology and security to make it safe.
For me personally, the hook was paying bills online. I hated that initial process of setting up all of my payees, but I haven’t sat down and written a check since. The old way suddenly seemed so inconvenient. I started to realize that my bank’s online services were more valuable to me than its branches.
Turns out, a lot of banking customers were having the same realization. So here at Ally, we decided to focus on what people need most — and to never stop improving upon how we serve those needs.
So far, that means striving to provide better customer service — 24/7. Better products. Better interest rates. Things I look forward to talking about on this blog. But here at Ally, we know that earning your business means listening, too. So if you have an idea or notice something we’ve missed, please let me know. My name is Diane Morais, and I lead the Deposits and Innovation team here at Ally. With your help, we intend to stay very busy.