Today’s modern arsenal of bank and credit union security devices offers a dizzying array of options. From hi-tech eye scan equipment and personalized biometrics to Internet of Things (IoT) activated systems, the offerings can be overwhelming. Where do banks start when building a comprehensive security system? How do credit unions know if they’re spending security budgets on the right equipment?

Although each financial institution has its own unique requirements, industry experts agree on the basic security equipment that every bank and credit union must have in place to defend against the most common breaches.


The most comprehensive, and therefore, the most important single piece of security equipment is an integrated central alarm system. Such a system is the first step to satisfying the FDIC’s minimum security device regulation.

An advanced access system should ensure that all external entry points to the bank are equipped with tamper-proof locking mechanisms. Most banks focus their efforts primarily on securing traditional door access, but attention should also be given to any possible entry point an unauthorized entrant may attempt. All windows should be equipped with glass break sensors, and ductwork should have pressure and motion alarms. Every internal location with access to cash, like teller workstations and cash desks, should also be secured with alarm activators.


Whereas access and alarm systems protect banks and credit unions against unauthorized access, video surveillance systems continue to be the primary tool in identifying and apprehending robbers, intruders, and any unauthorized entrants. Video cameras should be positioned at all critical locations including external access points, cash access locations, teller desks, drive-throughs, and ATMs.

Advanced digital video systems can provide remote viewing and advanced analytics that go beyond intruder identification to offer customer studies that enhance efficiency and profitability metrics.


Knowing who gains access to a secure facility is critical. That’s why banks and credit unions are implementing personalized access systems. Unlike generic entry keys which can be shared by employees or fall into the wrong hands, custom access systems ensure that only those individuals authorized for entrance can gain access.

The two most popular types of such access devices are card swipe machines and entry keypads. With both approaches, employees are assigned a card or a password that is unique to themselves. Custom codes keep track of what employees are in the building at any given time, and if a card is lost, it can be immediately deactivated to eliminate unauthorized access.


The final must-have piece of security equipment guards against the most frequent form of ATM attacks. ATM card skimming now accounts for nearly 95% of all bank losses, and as customers continue to favor such automated services, ATM crime is expected to increase. ATM Skimming refers to the stealing of a customer’s ATM card information, as well as their PIN.

Would-be thieves use a combination of keypad covers and internal devices to duplicate account access codes and drain customer accounts without ever having entered a branch location. In the past, banks and credit unions had to wait until the first ATM breach was reported. Today, however, there are highly effective security devices that can detect skimming activity and provide alert monitoring.

Remaining vigilant against the ever-changing security threats is a daunting task. The attention that is given to growing cyber threats often pulls time and attention away from the equally important commitment to ensure physical safety for bank employees, customers, and their assets. Every financial institution, regardless of its size, must allot sufficient resources for the four pillars of basic bank security: alarm systems, video surveillance, employee access and ATM security.

For more resources on how to make sure your company has the necessary security systems installed, contact SPC Companies – committed to helping bank and credit union professionals sleep better at night.





Businesses that seek to increase their conversion rate and lower their bounce rate can focus on calls to action that appear on landing pages and social media posts. While you can gain results from making your site more user-friendly, if you can improve a call to action (CTA), you might entice even more customers to move through your conversion funnel.


A CTA could be text on your website, or it could be a more prominent graphic, button, or banner. The idea is to make your calls to action stand out enough that visitors will see them and click on a link that will take them to more information about your products and services. With the help of effective calls to action, visitors can be converted into leads, who can then become customers.


Here are a few things that any call to action on your website or social media pages should contain:

Specific and clear instructions that tell visitors what to expect once they click through. Use words like “get,” “find,” and “why” in order to give them a reason to click the CTA link.

A standout design that can be recognized even when a visitor is merely skimming your content.

An action verb that provides guidance to visitors, such as “discover,” “learn,” “build,” “join,” “grow,” and “start” or “stop.”

Time-sensitive terms, such as “before,” “today,” “now,” and “ends,” in order to create a sense of urgency and convince visitors to click the CTA right away.

Words that prove the CTA will offer value to a visitor, such as “try,” “save,” “free,” “need,” and “want.” You can also include numbers, such as a percentage off during a sale.

Possessive terms like “your” or “my.” Using “your” can help you connect with visitors and convince them that you’re doing something for them, while “my” adds an element of ownership, such as “Start my trial now” or “Get my free eBook today.”

Extra tip: You don’t always have to be positive in your calls to action. Instead, you can use what is referred to as a negative CTA in order to grab people’s attention and show them that you understand their situation and you have the tools necessary to provide a solution. For example, you can start your CTAs with words like “confused” or “worried.” You could ask a question, too, as in this example: “Concerned about your bank’s mobile app security? Learn how to keep your information safe.”


Your social media pages should be designed to connect you with your target audience and encourage them to click through to your website and offers. The right CTAs on your posts could make all the difference, especially in an environment like social media, where users are already prepared to be exposed to a lot of CTAs on their newsfeed.

Write your CTAs on social media as you would on your website, with the same sense of urgency and the same clear language that proves you have value to provide to your customers. But go a step further and implement these CTAs into eye-catching images that you can add to your posts.

Take advantage of the design elements already included on your social media pages, such as the cover image on Facebook, where you can even add CTA buttons like “Learn More.”

Include calls to action in posts that are designed to get a conversation going amongst your followers. Ask your audience a question that they can answer in the comments, but include your related CTA after the question.

Use attention-getting designs to showcase your calls to action. For example, on Instagram, you can post a colorful graphic in an ad so that you visually catch a consumer’s attention while having a CTA that grabs people’s interest as they’re scrolling.


Even just changing a single word in an existing call to action might make a significant difference in your conversion rate and the effectiveness of your inbound marketing strategy. Research your target audience, as well as relevant keywords, and try out different words and phrases. Then test them and tweak them to make every CTA work for your business.

Confused about how to make your CTAs the best that they can be? Contact us today for a free consultation with our marketing experts so you can start getting the results you want.





You’d never think of waving a red flag before a charging bull. But that is exactly what your company may be doing with your employees’ email addresses. It’s easy for cybercriminals to harvest publicly available email addresses through a deep web search. The more they can collect, the more they can attack your company, which raises your risk of being gouged by one of the many spear-phishing emails they’re likely to launch.

Employees can be fooled into replying to an innocuous-appearing email, clicking on a link or opening an attachment containing malware. One uninformed action can lead to a breach with devastating effects for your company – both legally, and to its reputation.

Take some or all of these steps to ensure your business stays out of harm’s way:

  1. Educate your employees on responsible ways to use email, and the growing risks of sophisticated phishing and social engineering attacks. Be sure they understand that THEY are the targets, just as much as the C-suite executives, as well as what is really at stake with one slip-up.
  2. Have a comprehensive e-mail usage policy in place that clearly and officially explains the organization’s rules and restrictions. Establish consequences for any infraction to these rules, and make every employee aware of them. An e-mail usage policy offers businesses some protection from liability arising from a breach of confidential information; it proves that the company had in fact taken steps to discourage and prevent the inappropriate use of its email system.1
  3. If your company’s email is residing in the Cloud, consider a hybrid approach; keep high-value email user accounts on-premises, maintaining strict management and encryption of their message flow. Allow rank-and-file user emails onto the cloud, since most providers don’t have the robust policy engines or message encryption required to ensure the strictest level of data security.2
  4. Commit to encryption. “If a company has a policy that says any data set that contains personally identifying information is considered to be ‘sensitive’ and has to be encrypted both in transit across a network and at rest, and the company has implemented technical controls to enforce that policy, it is very likely that the data set is safe.” And if your company is using the Cloud for data storage, encrypt anything classified or sensitive before uploading. 3
  5. Take safety precautions on your company’s computers. Commit to strong authentication procedures and firewall protection. It’s also important for employees to understand that installing third-party software, both on work computers and BYOD devices, can lead to viruses and malware. 4
  6. Don’t assume employees will take the steps to protect the company’s data. Make strong passwords mandatory, especially for any remote access tools, and consider implementing company-wide email content filtering. Content filtering involves using technology to scan ingoing and outgoing mails for malicious code and questionable material that doesn’t meet a company’s acceptable use policy. E-mail content management systems have evolved significantly in recent years, and while there are those that only serve for dedicated content filtering, others now possess a range of capabilities including spam filtering, anti-virus and anti-phishing. “Implementing an email policy is particularly advised for businesses that use, or intend to use, content filtering software to check the content of their employees’ e-mails. Employees would have to be made aware that their e-mails are being monitored,” advises IT security expert Richard Broeke.5
  7. Provide your employees with a company laptop and VPN number for the times when they are working off-premises. This will circumvent any temptation to forward proprietary company information to personal e-mail accounts, or download it onto their own computer. As with social networking sites, their personal email providers are under no obligation to protect confidential information at the level that a corporation may protect, nor are the employees of the service provider the company’s employees. Inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information—even information that is not obviously confidential, but which may reveal information about company plans and intentions—erodes competitive advantage and puts intellectual property and trade secrets at risk.6

Don’t let the cyber bulls push their way in – drop that red flag. Establishing secure methods and best practices for your company’s emails is a strong step in preventing cyber breaches.





Since the advent of video cameras in the 1970’s, banks and credit unions have relied upon surveillance cameras as a central part of their security system. From identifying perpetrators to deterring malicious activity, no one would argue the efficacy of security cameras.

However, every year, banks and credit unions spend valuable security budget on surveillance devices, only to come up short when reviewing captured video. The experience is repeated across the nation and at banks of all sizes. The frustration results, not from the quality of the video camera, but from the positioning of the camera itself.

When it comes to security cameras, it’s helpful to think like a realtor – it’s all about location. With that in mind, evaluate your financial institution against the following key locations for surveillance cameras.


Security cameras should be positioned to record the flow of foot traffic at all entry points. Entry and exit doors are prime locations to record facial features. For that reason it’s recommended that such cameras be set to a three-foot capture frame, the width of an average door. It’s also important to consider the light source when aiming a camera at an external door. It’s not unusual for a camera to record a silhouetted image when the door opens against a sunny exterior.

Special attention, therefore, should be given to assessing the camera position to limit the over-exposed video resulting from harsh backlight. The inherent lighting challenges associated with cameras facing an entrance door make it all the more important to have properly positioned cameras monitoring all door exits.


A transaction point is any place where money is deposited or distributed. This includes teller counters, drive-up windows and ATMs. Second only to access points, these areas provide the best opportunity to capture visuals useful for investigative purposes.

Positioning cameras in these transaction areas can be particularly tricky, however. Industry experts recommend a mounting height of about seven feet and aimed directly at the secure location. However, if the camera is too high, it will only record tops of heads. Since many would-be assailants wear caps or hats of some kind, the goal should always be to mount the cameras as low as possible to capture facial images, but as high as to record the desired space.


Think of “hot spots” as any area which could pose an opportunity for theft. Cash drawers, jewelry cabinets, filing cabinets and safes all fall under this category. The goal of cameras in these areas is not so much to identify detailed facial recognition, but rather to record if a crime has taken place.

Security cameras in these areas, therefore, should be set to the widest capture field possible and mounted to provide for a large viewing area. In specific hot spot locations, cameras can be mounted directly above cabinets and file drawers to capture unwarranted access.


Ensuring adequate camera positioning outside of the bank facility can be as important an internal security coverage. Many reports indicate that the mere presence of external cameras can be a powerful crime deterrent. Position cameras in these locations to record potential vandalism or violence in parking lots and alleyways. Many financial institutions are using hi-resolution cameras for effective identification of license plates in external locations.

While the value of surveillance cameras cannot be overstated, it’s not just the positioning of the cameras that can enhance overall security. Placing a TV monitor in the lobby, for instance, draws the eyes of entrants allowing for full facial identification and serves as a reminder of the bank’s active video security. Whereas, training tellers to conduct exchanges in the middle of their counter helps ensure video capture of all monetary transactions.

For more ways to make sure your cameras and your bank are well-positioned for a secure future, connect with SPC Companies – providing the resources to help bank and credit union professionals sleep better at night.





Segmentation should be a part of any financial company’s marketing plan. This strategy allows you to divide your broad target audience into smaller sections of consumers that have showcased common needs. After all, you can’t expect that everyone in a large group will have the same expectations, so you shouldn’t be selling to everyone in the same way.

Once you’ve properly segmented your target market, you’ll have a much clearer idea of how to promote your offerings to those populations, as you’ll know which products and services would be most relevant to them.

Enhance Your Marketing Efforts with Segmentation

Whenever you segment a target audience, you’ll be breaking that market down into smaller, manageable sections so you can boost sales, improve customer service, and make your promotional efforts more efficient.

Generally, businesses can segment their market based on things like demographics, geographical location, psychographics, and behavioral data. But banks can also segment their market into non-customers, low to high value customers, and former customers, as a few examples.

  • Non-customers are individuals who are currently using other banks, but they could also include young consumers who have yet to open their first bank account. You can connect with this market segment by providing special introductory offers and finding ways to differentiate yourself from your competition. If you can prove that you’re able to provide more value than other financial companies, you might convince customers to make the switch, as well as establish long-term relationships with new banking customers.


  • Low value customers might include those with a lower income and a reduced need for financial products and services. However, this segment could also include individuals who are spreading their savings across multiple banks. These customers would need to be convinced that they should invest all of their funds with your company, as well as grow their small savings into larger investments.


  • Individuals who are considered medium to high value consumers could include those who have significant investments with your competitors. You could try attracting these consumers with special deals, but you’ll need to work harder to differentiate yourself and prove your value.
  • Former customers could include those who have switched to another bank and closed their account with you, those who are no longer using banks to invest their money, or those who have become inactive with an existing account. It’s a challenge to re-engage this audience, but if they switched because they were dissatisfied, you might be able to get them back by offering a change in the way you do business.

Once you have a clearer picture of the various market segments that you’re dealing with, you can promote your standard banking services, high-end savings options, investment opportunities, loan options, and commercial products and services to the appropriate populations. Doing so will allow you to use your resources cost-effectively, as you’ll be targeting the customers that would actually be interested in what you have to offer.

Don’t Neglect the Benefits of Email Segmentation

Email marketing is an effective way to engage with your pre-determined segments and really let the personality of your organization shine. When done correctly, the ROI for this type of marketing could be greater than that of other direct response marketing options.

By combining an effective email marketing strategy with market segmentation, you can connect with customers in a way that will generate more sales. A MailChimp analysis showed that email campaigns that were segmented had a 14% higher open rate than email campaigns that were non-segmented. This is because email segmentation allows you to send relevant messages to the many different types of customers within your broad target audience.

You can segment your emails by gender, age, location, language, and past banking behavior, as a few examples. Make subject lines interesting to entice people to open your emails. But to help ensure click-throughs, include short paragraphs and bullet points to make the content easy to digest. You can even use images to illustrate your message in an engaging way.

Make Things Easier with Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is the use of software to streamline your marketing processes, including customer segmentation. It can also help you send the right message to the right customer at the right time. Just think, your emails can be segmented then automated to help move potential customer through the funnel in a more efficient and streamlined way.

In addition to improving your online and offline marketing efforts, automation can help you save time, avoid errors, reduce costs, analyze and tweak campaigns, and schedule social media posts so they’re shared at the most opportune moments.

More importantly, market automation software could give you the tools necessary to connect with your customers at the best point in the customer journey or sales funnel. Your lead list could also become more targeted, and you could have an easier time achieving more sales while decreasing your lead conversion time.

Putting Segmentation into Practice

In the end, segmentation is all about learning more about your customers and then offering them exactly what they need to enhance their banking experience. After all, a brand new customer would have different requirements than someone who has been banking with you for several years or someone who’s only interested in a loan or mortgage.

If you have any trouble with applying segmentation strategies to your financial business, contact us today for a free consultation.





Social media is an ever-evolving space that has created a host of opportunities for banks and credit unions to promote themselves. Below are a few of the newest social media channels, along with the latest features that are found on your old favorites, so you can utilize these outlets to reach your target audience.


Video has taken over the world of online marketing, as well as social media. Facebook Live, along with Instagram Live and Snapchat Stories, gives followers a new glimpse into the inner workings of the brands that they’re loyal to or interested in most.

Whenever you use social media to post a live video, you’re able to create organic content without all of the production requirements that go into traditional recorded videos. Users enjoy the authenticity behind a live video on social media, as they feel that they’re connecting to a brand in an honest way. And the best part is that your live video will remain on your profile, so you can also link to it from other accounts, such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

Financial brands that want to create more of an impact online should make it a point to spend more time on Facebook, as it’s still a behemoth in the world of social media. On average, the site has an incredible 1.71 billion active users monthly, along with 1.13 billion active users daily. And it’s massive on mobile, too, with an average of 1.57 billion active users monthly, and 1.03 million active users daily.

In terms of demographics, you can reach users of all ages on Facebook. In the United States alone, 82% of online users from the ages of 18 to 29 are on Facebook, along with 79% of 30 to 49 year olds, and 56% of those 65 and up.


YouTube is more than a social media site for sharing and promoting video content; it’s also the second most used search engine. And because YouTube boasts more than a billion users, you can tell your brand’s story as you find and engage with your target audience.

Beyond standard live streams, you can also create high quality 4K live streams in 360-degree format, as well as HDR videos, on YouTube. It’s best to post videos that solve problems that you know your target audience faces, but present the material in a unique way. Attract millennials, in particular, by sharing helpful how-to content that’s relevant to your products and services.

Buyers also use YouTube to search for information, so post videos that showcase your brand’s personality, while delivering valuable content that will entice shoppers to choose you over your competition. Plus, you can launch ads that will be able to grab the attention of your target audience as they browse other videos.

The largest demographic on YouTube is 25 to 34 year olds, but the site also reaches more 18 to 49 year olds than any cable network in the United States. Also, 54% of users on YouTube are men, while 46% are women


When you think of Instagram, you can now think of Instant Purchases, in addition to the videos and photos posted by users. Instant Purchases is a newer feature within the app, as it allows users to click on an item within an image to purchase it online.

More than half of all consumers will be more likely to make a purchase from brands that they follow on social media apps like Instagram. On top of that, 75% of consumers have stated that they bought something because they found it on social media. This means that you can use Instagram to make a solid impression on your target audience, as well as create posts that appeal to consumers’ emotions. Plus, you can expand your reach with the help of sponsored posts.

Instagram Business is another new feature that makes it easy to track analytics on your posts, including how well they performed throughout the week and the demographics of your followers. You can even add information like your contact info and address to your business profile, and you can add the convenient “Learn More” or “Shop Now” button to your sponsored posts so users can click through to your website.

Every post—especially sponsored posts—should have a clear call to action, as 75% of users on Instagram will end up taking action after they view an ad on the site. Also include at least one hashtag, as a single hashtag can help increase engagement by an average of 12.6%.

If you’re targeting young women, Instagram is the place to be. While 31% of women are on Instagram, 24% of men use the site regularly. And while 55% of 18 to 29 year olds in the United States use Instagram, only 28% of 30 to 49 year olds enjoy the app. A mere 11% of 50 to 64 year olds, along with 4% of those over 65, use Instagram.


Creative facial filters, which are known as artificial intelligence lenses, make Snapchat a unique, fun, and interactive social media app, so it’s no surprise that other networks, like Facebook and Instagram, want to implement AI lenses soon as well.

Businesses, including financial brands, can start using Snapchat to reach millennials. You can create short videos that take customers behind the scenes and to special events. Another option is to let your followers get sneak peeks to new products or services that your company is about to launch.

You can also work with an influencer who can use their Snapchat account to endorse your company, or you could use the app to offer promotions and host contests. But if you want to get in front of as many users as possible, have a custom filter created to advertise your brand.

Snapchat has become one of the most popular social media channels, particularly for younger demographics. In 2016, more than 150 million users were on the app daily, and 41% of people aged 18 to 34 use it daily.


With so many new social media channels and tools to use, the process of properly marketing your financial brand can become daunting. The effort, though, will be worth it, as the benefits far outweigh the challenges. If you need help establishing a social media marketing plan that will work for you, contact us today for a free consultation with our marketing experts.





Video surveillance is one of the most important components of a financial institution’s security infrastructure. So much so, that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) identifies the use of CCTV and video monitoring as a primary means to deter theft and ensure employee safety.

The concern is real and so are the threats:

  • #1 The American Bankers Association reports banks and credit unions lost almost $2 billion to fraud and related crime last year. (2015 ABA Deposit Account Fraud Survey).
  • #2 According to the FBI, every year approximately 5000 U.S. banks are the victim of onsite robberies.
  • A recent FICO report indicates that ATM skimming has jumped a whopping 546%.
  • Industry estimates suggest an additional $2 billion a year is lost to ATM fraud alone.

That’s just the financial loss. Every time an unauthorized person enters a secured area of a bank, it puts bank employees at unnecessary risk.

The good news? All of these security breaches can be reduced or eliminated with the addition of high-quality video surveillance as part of an integrated alarm system.


No asset is more valuable than the employees that maintain the day-to-day relationships with bank and credit union customers. Strategically placed external video cameras allow bank employees to view and control entrance into the building. Internal cameras provide law enforcement with visual identification of intruders.


Incorporating video into a banking alarm system allows for visual inspection of the bank facility whenever an alarm is triggered. This ability eliminates the need for a security guard to respond to false alarms after hours, saving banks time, money and preserving security confidence.


Around the world, the use of closed-circuit cameras are being credited with reducing crime and apprehending perpetrators. It’s commonplace to see security video aired on news stations in an effort to apprehend the guilty. Video surveillance, as part of a banking alarm system, is seen as the number one way to ensure accurate identification of suspects.


Despite the growing emphasis on cyber scams, physical check fraud is still prevalent in the U.S. According to the most recent AFP Payment Fraud and Control Survey, although fewer people are using paper checks, physical checks are still the most susceptible to fraudulent attacks. Many banks and credit unions are using video surveillance systems with advanced facial recognition that record transaction data and capture images of offenders. This information is used to identify criminals and help protect customer accounts.


ATMs are not just popular among banking customers, but they’re increasingly becoming a favorite of criminals, as well. According to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) the sheer number of ATMs in the U.S. make them extremely vulnerable to skimming and cash harvesting schemes. Many industry leaders identify video surveillance as a primary tool to deter such activity. Security systems equipped with video technology not only provide visual recognition of the criminal after the theft, but also allows for real-time monitoring of suspicious ATM activity for proactive theft prevention.


By integrating video into their alarm system, banks are not only reducing loss, but also increasing productivity. Many banks are studying daily video captures to monitor customer traffic, staffing levels and merchandising. Designing operational processes around such daily activity is shown to enhance marketing efforts and customer service.

For many banks and credit unions the integration or upgrading of video technology is a daunting undertaking. How many cameras are really necessary? Where is the best placement of surveillance equipment?

These are just some of the issues making banking security an ever-evolving challenge. For help navigating these issues and to find out the best security options for your needs, visit SPC (

SPC – helping bank and credit union professionals sleep better at night.