Banking in the Digital Age

Alden J. McDonald brings his institution into the 21st century

Alden J. McDonald Jr., President & CEO of Liberty Bank and Trust Co.

“It’s not a matter of whether or not you’re going to get new business [using technology], you have to do this just to stay in business,” says Alden J. McDonald Jr. “It’s not a choice anymore.”

McDonald, president and CEO of New Orleans-based Liberty Bank and Trust Co. (No. 5 on the BE banks list with $463.8 million in assets), points out that change is going to happen whether you’re providing loans or hawking ice cream. With delivery channels for selling products having undergone dramatic changes in just the last decade, he says it’s very important for any business owner to look at how they’re offering services today—and tomorrow. The impact on its operations and profitability should be among their top questions.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Liberty is now embracing social media as a pathway to transform itself into a bank that can aggressively compete in the digital era. This makes solid business sense, when one considers that 65% of adult Internet users say they use social networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn as of 2011. In a report by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center, this is an increase from 61% the prior year. According to the study, most of last year’s growth came from Americans 30 and older. Thirty-three percent of adults ages 65 and older say they now use social networking sites, versus 26% who said that in 2010. Still, those between ages 18 and 29 years old remain the overall biggest group clicking on social networks today, making up 83% of the total.

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