Saturday, May 14, 2011

Four Not-So-Serious Don'ts for Financial Institutions

Movies tell great stories. Most times they exaggerate real life. So I am pouncing on the opportunity to over-dramatize four things I don't think FI's should do.

1. Don't ignore your CEOs age. Prognosticators are predicting incredible shrinkage in community FIs because of regulatory burden. I think it is equally likely that boards throw in the towel because their CEO is far closer to the grave than the cradle, like Aunt Edna from National Lampoon's Vacation. Don't prop your CEO on top of your family truckster.

Note: I wanted to use the "You're my boy, Blue" clip from Old School. But in the movie Blue passed while wrestling sorority girls in a tub of KY Jelly, and I thought it may be a wee-bit inappropriate. But I really, really wanted to use that clip.

2. Don't implement a sales culture that results in no more than product pushing. There are many variants of sales culture. Many FIs went for the worst, the used car salesman variety. If your customers visit your website or branch, and the best you have to say is "yeah, she's a beauty, I can see you behind the wheel, wind blowing in your hair", you better revisit your strategy. We don't want product pushers like Kathy Bates selling squirrels in Rat Race, do we?

3. Don't let Bloomberg radio or the New York Times build your brand. We're taking it on the chin by mass media and it's time to stop the madness. Letting others define who you are may lead to tremendous misunderstandings, such as how Jon Lovitz's family was portrayed in Rat Race to a gathering of World War II vets.

4.  Don't "pants" your regulators. I, myself, have peaked into clients' conference rooms at the young-gun examiners and wanted to give them a Three Stooges slap or two. There are some distasteful things we must do in business, and treating our exam team like industry professionals during a time when they seem to be out to get us is one of them. Don't "pants" them as in this Meatballs clip.

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