What Will Top 5% Banks Do in 2016?

Is having a good year in 2015 going to impede your chance of having a spectacular 2016?

What if this next year HAD to be twice as good as last year?

And what if instead, you changed your framework from “have to” to “get to” to make this the best year ever?

Jim Collins, the author of the perennial business bestseller, Good to Great, taught us that attachment to “good” impedes the possibility of greatness.

But what if you’re already great? Well then, the attachment to great impedes the possibility for extreme mastery.

Let’s face it. Bank stocks have had an abysmal return compared to the market for the last decade. Board members are pulling plugs on banks all across this country.

To compare yourself to “peers” and say, “Yippity, skippity, we’re in the top 25 percent of peers,” means you’ve missed an important lesson in business 101. Your stockholders have options—outside of banking—and you will be assessed, in their minds, compared to those options.

Sorry for the tough love but it is time to level up…because boards are cranky and they’re looking for exec teams to “get it or get out.”

So, here’s The 5 Imperatives of 2016…

1) Great banks will master cross sales on new customers—unless you are averaging 6-7, you are fooling yourself that your customers are truly your customers—they are drive-by shoppers, and that’s all they are. You have NOT earned their trust. And you are NOT their bank. All breakthroughs happen with acceptance of reality. It is delusional to think they refer to you as “their bank” when you have two of their products and services when they truly need 16.

Suck it up, buttercup. Allow me to be brutally harsh. Until you deal with that reality, you have no chance of achieving mastery and you certainly won’t hold the status of “great” in anyone’s mind but your own.

2) They will differentiate enough to grow net interest margin by another 20-30 basis points in a year while improving credit quality—and they will master premium pricing from premium clients.

As long as any member of your team utters those crazy words, “we can do the deal IF we match the rate,” you are in a downward spiral. Your people haven’t figure out yet that machines can match rates. THEY are there to redefine the conversation that makes rate irrelevant.

3) They will master core deposits—attracting the lowest-cost deposits while mastering the stickiness of those deposits. And they will have personal bankers who have the skills to pick up million-dollar checking accounts over and over and over again.

4) They will master the “outbound” on the retail side. If you’ve paid any attention to the fact that lobby traffic has been cut in half in the last few years and is about to be halved again over the next few years, it should be easy to figure out that those nice people who sit behind those lovely desks really won’t have a job behind those desks ever again. But, to get them out from behind the desks and calling on your best customers and prospects, they must accumulate the confidence and sophistication to add extreme value. You will need to be the BEST and ONLY solution for the customer that’s in front of you at that time. That will take some work…but it is work you can’t afford to miss.

5) They will master marketing to and selling to the affluent. Since roughly 13 percent of your customers are profitable, they are the ones that make it so you can afford the other 87 percent…which is really philanthropy. The best way to help the poor is to not become one of them.

The extraordinary bankers will switch their entire strategy, marketing approach, sales approach to attract and get the affluent in your market—all at premium pricing. It does no good to attract affluent at a discount.

The real question is, how good do you want to be?

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