A lot of bad things happen around acquisitions. If you’re being acquired, it’s rarely pretty. And if you’re the one acquiring, the Wharton School of Business says your chance of failure is greater than 83 percent. And even if you don’t go down in flames in the opening round, the real heartaches continue for two years after the acquisition as two dark forces are inevitably unleashed:
The “us vs. them” conversations, including the need to make somebody else wrong, and
The bickering about whose system to follow, because no one has really sorted out the best practices.
The coming bank consolidation isn’t a surprise. It’s been predicted for years. In fact, the next 18 months are destined to be a major “shake out” period when weak banks will be acquired or closed—and banks that are in a position to capture the best customers in town will become stronger and more profitable.
If an opportunity like this landed unexpectedly in your lap, would you be ready? Most banks wouldn’t be. Unfortunately, they’ll suffer years of pain, lost productivity, and even reputational damage from what was previously viewed as the opportunity of a lifetime.
Here’s what I know from decades of guiding banks through acquisitions: You have no business doing one if you’re not ready.
Most bankers think that internal culture means friendly tellers, free coffee in the lobby,, and someone to greet customers as they come in the door. No, no, no! Have you ever found one bank that was able to get 100 to 150 basis points more in net interest margin with that insipid belief system?
Of course not. Because that’s not what culture is.
Culture asks, “Will your people leap over tall buildings in a single bound to make sure your client is successful in their business or personal financial goals?”
So you’ve decided to acquire another bank. For nearly 25 years, I’ve been giving the same advice about acquisitions: DON’T DO IT.
I’ve had good reason to give that advice. Many banks try to solve their inadequacy of systems, education, and strategies by acquiring. And many banks are poised to do exactly that this year. So now you’re going to get a finger-wagging lecture from me, right?
Not necessarily. If you have your house in order, this could be the year for a few great acquisitions. The blue light specials are going to be plentiful in 2013,
Most banks focus on what they should do. That’s a good thing. But too few seriously evaluate what they are currently doing that has to stop. Awareness of the common characteristics of low-performing banks can keep you from falling victim to any of these practices before you join the group.
Let’s start with the first four:
1. Keeping Employees Who Have Quit—But Still Come to Work
A massive study by the Corporate Executive Board of 50,000 employees proves that employees who are “true believers”—who value, enjoy, and believe in what they do—displayed 57 percent more discretionary effort and were 87 percent less likely to pull up stakes.
Let’s face facts. You know it is true. Banks stink at sales culture.
Most say they’re working on it…but most have been “working on it” for three decades now, and they still stink at it. Why? Because you are repeating the mistakes of the past. Here are the 5 biggest mistakes that are common to every failed bank sales culture. (That would be around 99 percent of them.) (more…)
Improving the commercial loan portfolio means bringing in high-quality business customers who are in growth mode or who have some other financing needs—while minding the good loans that you already have. It’s just that simple. But, unfortunately, many banks (perhaps yours) are dead wrong with their strategy for bringing in commercial loans.
Have you ever had a day where you left exhausted, but felt like you didn’t do any of the things “on your list”? Unfortunately, some people have entire careers like that.
The problem is they don’t understand “behavioral economics.”
The point is if you are wasting time working with 50 different prospects…
Why is it that a $450 million bank with nine years of flat organic growth suddenly had an annualized growth rate of 35 percent within 30 days of one culture intervention?
Why is it that a $920 million bank consistently ranked in the fourth quartile—a fact which they blamed on their low-income, shrinking market—eventually moved into the first quartile after experiencing over 20 percent growth, seeing significant quality improvement, and tripling ROE… all within three years with no improvement to their market?
Previously, both of these banks had done sales training for years with virtually NO impact on growth or profits.
The key to repeat customers is relationships. Relationships are established and maintained through communication and follow through. In a “one to many” job such as yours, having a good system for customer follow-up is crucial to keeping your relationships healthy. Pursuing these four steps to create and maintain a follow-up system that will contribute to good customer relationships and increased sales: