We work on thousands of lending transactions every year with hundreds of community banks across the country. We participate and help structure financing on commercial real estate, C&I and Ag properties ranging in size from a few hundred thousand to over $100mm, and we collaborate with community bank lenders and underwriters that span the whole gamut of experience. We witness the good, the bad, the ugly, and occasionally the very bizarre in bank marketing, under
Banker To Banker
When you are a banker, sometimes your workload doesn’t come in neat memos or emails. A lot of stuff just gets dropped off on your desk with notes to “Fix This” (like below) or solve that. Fortunately, a lot of these problems are easy to solve. In fact, one of the most popular strategic initiatives among community banks right now is the nebulous “Need to increase profitability,” which for more than half the estimated banks is an easy one to solve.
With a flat and low yield curve, borrowers’ demand for long-term fixed-rate loans is high. Furthermore, based on the forward market and most analysts’ predictions, the yield curve is expected to stay low and flat in 2020. The difference between five and ten-year loan rates is currently only nine basis points, and the difference between five and 20-year loan rates is 21 basis points.
Unfortunately, in 2020, most bank websites are nothing more than brochure-ware. That is a problem as not only can a bank’s website be its most efficient source leads, but it should also be the best source of conversions (leads that turn into new accounts and loans). While there are several hundred banks that do handle online lead gen well, it is even rarer to have a bank generate leads from its mobile app. This is also a problem as some banks are now generating the bulk of their digital leads from mobile, not to mention the bulk of their conversions.
Last month, the Federal Reserve released its 7th, tri-annual U.S. payments study, and, as usual, it had some eye-opening trends that all banks need to consider for their long-term strategic planning. For example, while consumers have always said they preferred debit cards over cash, last year was the first year in US history where consumers used their debit cards (28% of all transactions) more than they used cash (26% of all transactions).
If you are like most banks you have your credit approval and risk process based around loan size. The assumption is that the larger the loan the more risk the bank is taking on so a greater level of risk review is needed. But, suppose the data didn’t bear that assumption out? If that assumption is wrong, then that means that your bank is probably underpricing the smaller loans, overpricing the larger loans, applying the wrong cost structure to the larger loans and misaligning risk against your capital.
We were recently working to close a commercial loan when the lender officer paused the closing. He did not want his bank to spend legal fees to clarify some tax-transfer issues (costs which the borrower also refused to cover). The legal bill would be between $2 and $3k. We asked the lending officer to calculate the legal costs versus the loan’s net present value (NPV) of income – the lender gave us a puzzled look. We quickly calculated the lifetime income of the loan versus the legal fees for the lender, and the lender proceeded to close the loan within two days.
In your strategic planning, one decision that needs to come up as you grow towards $1B in total assets is if your bank will have one mobile banking app or multiple apps. If your bank has not proactively decided, then chances are you are either not looking far enough in the future or not being active enough in guiding your bank’s technology architecture.
Assume for a second that your bank screws up and causes a problem. The customer comes in or calls to complain - Do you apologize? Of course, you do – but then what? For the most part, community banks are fantastic and solving problems and making customers happy. What comes after an apology for a bank is mostly natural. However, given the rise of data analytics, now there is starting to be a science. In this article, we explore what it quantitatively takes to not only restore customer satisfaction but to make it better than before.
Since your bank's primary value proposition is service and you are likely striving for a superior customer experience, then it would make sense that the first stop you should make is to improve your ability to communicate with the customer. In this day and age, customers have more channels than ever to communicate with your bank. The issue is preference varies widely. In this article, we explore retail bank customer preferences and talk about some ramifications for the future.