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.
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 reputation damage from what was previously viewed as the opportunity of a lifetime.
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.
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,