The #1 Reason Bank Acquisitions Fail

Think you’re ready for an acquisition? Think you’ve got a bullet-proof plan?

Imagine if you take a “bring-it-on-and-make-it-happen-no-matter-what” bank culture where people are passionate about what they do, and combine it with a group with a “sit-behind-our-desks-until-we-need-Preparation-H, whine-and-complain-about-the-economy-and-being-too-busy” group. How’s that going to work? Without a “come to Jesus, we see the light” intervention, the likelihood of being able to save many of those people is slim.

And what a costly loss that is.

Nothing trumps culture. Culture means you don’t have middle management breakdown, because they know how to lead. Culture means you have a tight system of execution, and you have made winning fun. Culture means you aren’t losing 37 percent of a manager’s day dealing with dysfunctional behaviors and low performance—the current sobering average.

Here’s the good news. Despite what you’ve heard, culture transformation doesn’t take two years. It can happen in a day. Keeping it moving forward…well, that takes more time.

Don’t even think of doing an acquisition without a plan to transform and transport the culture to a level where everyone says in unison, “Thank God It’s Monday!—I LOVE my bank!”

If you get the culture right—and that’s a big IF—an acquisition can be a brilliant move. Keep your focus on people, stay ironclad, and you can be among the winners in this challenging game.

Roxanne Emmerich

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