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?” “Will you go beyond bank “product” to create Unique Selling Propositions that rock their world and cause hundreds of thousands of dollars of impact for them? And will your people have fun doing it so that your system is sustainable?
Culture is a system—and if you don’t think this way, you will never have a good culture.
In fact, “system” is everything—from the selection of your employees…to the rewarding of your people…to the celebration of critical drivers…the one-page strategic plan creating focus, the tying of the critical drivers into the key strategies…and even how you deal with dissidence (including teaching your team how to have healthy dissidence and inviting them off the bus when they don’t).
Culture means everybody’s pulling in the same direction and having fun doing it—knowing that their good efforts are not going to be negated by someone else who’s doing it halfway.
Culture is not about putting on your clown nose and jumping onto the happy bus. It’s all about fun, yes—but fun tied to critical drivers that are the precursors to the numbers that banks need to grow the capital Basel III will require while lowering risk. When a bank CEO goes to a front-line person and says, “Hey, let’s go get a Return on Assets of 2.0 this year,” the front-line person is confused. If she says, “One of your five critical drivers is to get at least five cross sales on every account that comes in here,”—now we’re communicating in a way that makes sense AND allows for that ROA to happen. That’s a start to a culture that can move mountains.
In most banks (perhaps yours), people on the team rarely make that connection.
So the key is to drive home those critical drivers—but we don’t start measuring a thing until we’ve already won their hearts over.
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It will literally transform the working culture of your bank—and get your entire team on board a new bus, driving in a new direction—with systems, strategies, accountability and workable sales dialogs that re-focus EVERYONE on bringing in better margins, better quality accounts and better performance in every area of your bank.
We recently closed a $5.4 million loan with a great company one hour away from our nearest branch. There had to be a hundred banks closer than Blackhawk. Proximity wasn’t important nor was price. At no time in all of the discussions, did the issue of price come up. When the principals closed the loans in my office, they remarked that our way doing business was nothing like they had ever experienced before. It showed skeptics of the Profit-Rich Sales™ process that you can get premium pricing even in a cutthroat competitive environment.
—R. Bastian | President
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