How to Build a Top Performance Culture



How do you, as an executive, build a  performance culture that attracts top talent, retains top talent, and allows your bank to thrive? 

Top performance culture is easier said than done—but it can be done

You just have to know the magic performance culture formula that works for other banks and apply it within your bank for the same results. But finding that magic formula is the key. 

I’ve had the great honor of working with some of the most revered banks with the best cultures in this country.

Continue Reading

Mastering Team Selling at Your Bank



When I started as a lender, I got a briefcase, got in my car, and went up and down the street calling on folks hoping that they would bring their commercial and agricultural relationships to me.

Well, sometimes they did, and sometimes they didn’t. I thought I was doing the best thing possible because I watched what everybody else was doing. I did the same thing and got the same middle-of-the-road results.

I didn’t know then what we know now.

Harvard Business Review has a great article about how team selling outperforms individual selling by a truckload.

Continue Reading

Does Your Bank Have The Right Fundamental Sales Skills?



I wonder what the sales fundamentals are of banks that command premium pricing and achieve their loan growth goals. Are they different from other banks? 

You see, what we put into a system creates the outputs we pull out of that system. And sadly, many banks aren’t achieving their loan growth goals with the loan caliber, quality, and premium pricing they need because they don’t have the right sales strategies. 

The Right Fundamental Sales Strategies 

For me, “sales” is a negative word. And yet “sales” is simply helping people buy what they need in a way that never feels like they’re being sold to.

Continue Reading

The Wrong—And Right—Way To Go About Loan Growth



What if you’re going about loan growth in all the wrong ways?

Now, you’re probably not doing it all wrong. But there might be some ways that you could be doing it a whole lot better. That’s because all loan growth is not the same. The quality of the deals that you’re bringing in and the desirability of those deals—because of their creditworthiness and their willingness to pay premium pricing—matters a lot. And yes, strategically speaking, most banks are not addressing that correctly.

Everyone thinks all loans are the same in terms of quality

They think that if they walk into your office and say,

Continue Reading

Stop Rate Matching, Increase Your Net Interest Margin



I bet your strategic plan does not have anything in it that says, “We want to match rates. We want to shrink our net interest margin. Oh, what can we do to match the rates of our desperate competitors?”

Of course, those words aren’t in your strategic plan. And yet have you noticed that the way your plan is being executed demonstrates a reliably predictable pattern? One which basically means your people are still matching rates? Your strategic plan may as well have “We want to match rates” in it for all the good it’s doing.

Continue Reading

The Secret to Increasing Your Net Interest Margin



Do you ever think you’re worth more? Yeah, you probably do. We all do. So doesn’t it feel like a violation whenever somebody says, “Hey, we can do business with you, but you’re going to have to match the rate.”

That never feels okay. As soon as we match the rate, our net interest margin squashes. We don’t want that to happen. Why would we when we don’t even have the profit built-in? Instead, what we want to happen is that every time we do another loan, it’s a profitable loan. 

Continue Reading

Debunking the Five Myths of Loan Growth



“If you want to reach people no one else is reaching, we’ve got to do things no one else is doing.” 

Andy Stanley said that, and it starts my chapter on debunking the five biggest myths of loan growth in my Breakthrough Banking Blueprint book. 

Those five biggest myths, sadly, are crushing net interest margin and loan growth for too many banks. 

Myth Number One: You can match the rate to get the deal. 

Yeah, that’s true, but you’re not going to have any profit in the deal. 

Continue Reading

Dear Banker: A Message from COVID to You

A large red, spiky, circular Corona virus-cell on a graph showing bank loan growth slowdown.

Dear Banker: A Message from COVID to You

I go by many names: Co-Ron A. Virus, Coronavirus, COVID, COVID-19, ‘Vid, “The Big One.”

Some of my names are downright hurtful. The 2020 Plague. The Dirty ‘Rona. Those are actually some of the milder ones.

And yes, for some, I was devastating in every way. I don’t feel bad about that because I have no feelings, remember? I’m microscopic. But I did help you with loan growth with those PPP loans, so there’s that. 

I also messed with your relationships.

Continue Reading

How Can Your Bank Create Brand Insistence?



Way too many banks have spent a lot of money on brand awareness. And yet, can you even point to one customer who said I came to this bank because I just love their brand?

In fact, most money spent on branding has a negative return on investment. Sadly, we’ve all been sold a bill of goods that is not producing. However, there’s something to be said for branding. And that is in the conversation of brand insistence.

In other words, “You’re the only bank I’ll ever need or want,” is what they need to be saying as a result of the experience that you create.

Continue Reading

Higher Net Interest Margin With Less Risk—Fact or Fiction?



Net interest margin. Three of my favorite words. Why? Because it is such an important component of what takes a bank to the top of its peers. And if you’re tired of being average and competing on rate, I’m going to tell you that there is a way out of that mess. 

And, in fact, I would suggest that the banks that don’t figure out how to avoid matching rates soon are probably not going to maintain their independence going forward. 

That’s because there is more competition than ever,

Continue Reading