|Rising above today's troubles to get things moving for the future (October 2010)|
The online version of Pass the Aspirin has been hosting a discussion regarding how banks are handling strategic planning and getting back into forward gear. Specifically, we asked: What is your bank doing to rise above the fray and plan, practically, for the future? You can add your own views at www.ababj.com/blog/1240.html
H. McCall Wilson, Jr., president and CEO, Bank of Fayette County, $297.9 million-assets, Moscow, Tenn.
Strategic planning usually involves setting goals like ROA, ROE, asset growth, etc. In the past, it has been more about today’s problems than tomorrow’s opportunities.
In order to be successful and remain independent, we realized that our mindset needed to change.
Most of our employees did not know our mission statement, much less our current strategic plan. Even if they knew them, they were just words on a page, no meaning.
This is why our bank is in the process of determining our future strategy. This strategy has to be steadfast about the objective, but flexible as to the means.
After many meetings we determined that our future strategy was quite simple: “Great Customer Service, Every Time, Without Exception.”
After all, ROA and ROE are a by-product of customer service. As we proceed with the planning process, our focus is on the customer’s experience. For example, customers do not care about fancy underwriting software unless it reduces the “decision” time. Before we spend on technology, we are asking ourselves: Will it improve the customer’s experience? As the world goes digital, we are going handshake.
Donna Bennett, senior vice-president, Corporate Banking, Old Point National Bank, $907.8 million-assets, Hampton, Va.
We formed a Corporate Banking Division two years ago to capitalize on bringing value-added services to our clients and prospects.
We have a solutions approach and we are evolving out of a “lender” focus to a “relationship” focus. We have significantly expanded our Treasury Services offerings, and as a result we can now compete with any bank for commercial clientele based on our organic offerings as well as services offered in concert with partners. We have also embarked on the implementation of a new customer relationship management system to assist in this endeavor.
Mike Murphy, executive vice-president and CFO, First American Bank, Norman, Okla.
We are going to be operating much more leanly than we have in the past—with less staff, fewer account options, and smaller-sized banking centers.
We will use technology investments to help us continue to meet our customer needs. We are literally looking at every function and service in the organization to determine if it can be done more effectively and how, or if, it should be done at all. Additionally, we are looking at adding new services related to our electronic age—including iPhone apps, micro business capture, and online financial management.
Some of our advertising has and will continue to shift to web media, as well.
Strategic planning has certainly become an ongoing process, instead of an annual event. [This all reflects my opinion and not necessarily my bank’s views.]
William Grant, chairman and CEO, First United Bank & Trust Co., $1.8 billion-assets, Oakland, Md.
Strategic planning has been a bit of a challenge in this environment. It is the old adage that “It’s hard to remember that you came to drain the swamp once you are knee deep in alligators.”
I think there will be opportunities in developing strategies which draw customers—both businesses and consumers—into deeper relationships, through both value-added services and financial education.
• Service What works for you? Tell us about a good example of customer service that you’ve experienced yourself at another company (from the local diner to a major airline, no limits), including: the company name; why you were impressed; and if you think a bank could adapt the idea.
• Banking’s Green Scene This month’s ABA Community Banking department highlights a new bank that makes “green” its niche. Has your bank explored being “green”? How and why?
The electronic version of this article available at: http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/sb/ababj1010/index.php?startid=24
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