Saturday, July 31, 2010

Post August 15 Reg E Strategy Provides Opportunity

For the past several months, every bank I visit has been working tirelessly to educate and encourage customers to opt-in for OD coverage in response to Reg E. Multi-channel communications, including direct mail, email, outbound phone, statement inserts, online banners and in-branch literature have all been focused on helping customers understand the potential impact of the regulation while hopefully limiting the lost fee revenue associated with the regulation.

While the regulation took effect on July 1 for new customers opening accounts, banks realize that the real impact will be felt after August 15, when transactions are denied and overdraft fees can no longer be collected from current customers who have not opted-in. So what are your post August 15 strategies for customers who have not opted-in?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bank 2.0 is a Bank Marketer Must Read

There are not many books (or anything else for that matter) that I find compelling enough to pre-order. Sure, there may have been a Cleveland Indians or Cavaliers championship jersey I jumped the gun on, but I have never stood in line for an Apple product or pre-ordered a movie to be the first on my block to own it.

I made an exception a few weeks back with the book Bank 2.0 - How Customer Behavior and Technology Will Change the Future of Financial Services by Brett King not only because I was intrigued by the title, but because I have been following Brett's Banking4Tomorrow blog for a couple months and I find his take on the changes in our industry both enlightening and spot on. King is also an international speaker and is an industry advisor on Huffington Post (Business News).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Can Banks Find Ways to Make Deposits Work Harder?

As was mentioned in yesterday's American Banker article, In Cash Glut, Banks Try to Discourage New Deposits, many banks are currently in a somewhat disadvantageous position of having an abundance of deposits at a time of depressed loan demand. With loan to deposit ratios dropping from a median of more than 105% to less than 95% in less than two years for the 15 largest banks, the excess liquidity is costing banks money.

This inability to earn adequate interest on these deposits, combined with lower overdraft fees and the potential for lower interchange income has banks that I am working with scurrying for ways to make up the revenue shortfall.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Responding to the Self-Directed Bank Customer

According to a soon to be published Accenture survey of senior banking executives from major banks across the world, there has been a significant power shift between banks and their customers that has resulted a lowering of customer profitability levels. The research entitled, Customer 2012: Time for a New Contract Between Banks and Their Customers?, found that nearly half of the executives have seen their average customer profitability decline by 5-15 percent since the beginning of the financial crisis.

According to Noel Gordon, global managing director of Accenture's banking practice and co-author of the research, “Consumers have emerged more confident in making financial decisions for themselves, more skeptical of their bank brands, more price-conscious and more willing to move away from institutions that provide poor service.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Newly Acquired Bank Customers Need to be Onboarded

Regulators closed six more banks last Friday, bringing the failure total this year to more than 100. As each of these banks failed, or as others have been acquired through mergers, healthier banks are expanding their geographies and gaining new customers along the way trying to benefit from efficiencies and economies of scale. Unfortunately, too much focus on cost savings and a lack of focus on the newly acquired customers can have unintended consequences.

This was found in a study done earlier this year by the Deloitte Center for Banking Solutions entitled, Beyond Day One: Minimizing Customer Attrition During Bank Mergers and Acquisitions. According to the study, 17 percent of respondents who had gone through a merger or acquisition had switched at least one of their accounts to another institution after their bank was acquired, while an additional 31 percent said they were at least somewhat likely to switch over the next year. The study further found that that those who had switched had more financial products and more investable assets than those who had not, making the potential revenue impact of lost relationships even greater.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Are Prepaid Cards an Emerging Threat to Traditional Banks?

According to a brand new report published by Mintel, the recent increase in dissatisfaction with banks, the expanding number of unbanked and underbanked households and the increasing cost of basic banking are all contributing to a growth in the prepaid card market as an alternative to the traditional checking account.

What should be disconcerting for bankers is that close to 20% of respondents overall stated that they would be interested in using prepaid cards to pay bills rather than using a banking account, with 25% of households earning more than $100K per year showing an interest. The primary reason for this interest was to avoid overdraft and other types of fees.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What Bank Marketers Can Learn From Apple

After two and a half weeks of waiting, a lost FedEx delivery and an eventual call and visit to a local Apple store, I am finally the happy owner of a 32GB 3G iPad. While the delivery experience wasn't as smooth as I would have liked (no fault of Apple), the device more than delivers on the promises made and the positive reviews.

The purchase, however, got me thinking about why I (and obviously tens of millions of others) feel so compelled to emotionally purchase devices from Apple that may not be perfect (no flash, no USB port and no camera) and will usually be outdated due to upgrades in a few months.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Onboarding Needs to Reflect Bank Customers' Diverse Preferences and Needs

According to a new Javelin Strategy and Research report issued today, many banks are not leveraging the insight available early in a new relationship to develop customized offers and to utilize preferred channels of communication. In their study entitled, 2010 New Account Onboarding: Using a Systematic, Tactical Approach to Deepen Financial Customer Relationships, the importance of collecting key pieces of information such as age, income and the customer's previous banking experience is emphasized. With this baseline insight, Javelin proposes that communication channel determination and messaging can be improved, thereby leading to improved engagement, retention and cross-sell results.

The findings in the robust 44 page study are a refinement of a previous Javelin onboarding study from 1997 and are consistent with what I have found visiting and speaking with banks across the country. In fact, two of my clients (Zions Bank and KeyBank) are referenced in the study.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Disconnect Seen Between Small Business Needs and Availability of Credit

While there are signs of the beginning of an economic recovery, many small and mid-sized companies are still finding it difficult to meet banks' tightened credit standards. This trend is reinforced by both a recent Greenwich Market Pulse Study as well as recent findings by Barlow Research which found that even though banks have a need to generate more loan relationships, more than 50 percent of small businesses say it is harder to secure credit this year than last. This would be in line with an American Banker study earlier this year that found that close to three-quarters of the U.S. banks had 'significantly tightened' their credit standards.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What is the Future of the Branch?

When was the last time you went into a branch to do any banking outside of opening a new account, closing an account, getting a mortgage or doing a mystery shop? Better yet, did you even go into the branch to establish your last financial services relationship? For me, I most recently opened a Virtual Wallet Relationship and never saw a banker in person. What was amazing about the experience is that I was 'cross-sold' a savings account, debit card, online banking, auto save and bill pay without ever feeling like I was sold or talking to a banker. I did it myself . . . all online.

So, what is the future of the bank branch? According to a channel preference survey conducted by the American Bankers Association (ABA) last August, 25 percent of consumers preferred to bank online as opposed to any other channel.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cross-Selling is Key to Bank Revenue Growth

As the banking world is shifting from a supply-side, product-driven environment to a demand-driven one, the focal point of this new model is the customer. As a result, banks are going to need to change their operating models to adapt and align to this new reality. Only then can banks deliver a truly innovative and compelling customer experience.

Part of this transformation will be to develop key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure long-term performance such as loyalty as well as shorter-term measures such as cross-sell effectiveness, customer satisfaction and household profitability. With as much as 30% of the bank's customer base potentially being vulnerable and 'in play' according to an Accenture survey of banking customers, banks must commit the resources needed for actionable customer segmentation, new pricing models, needs-based solutions and a way to reach customers effectively and efficiently to grow relationships.