Monday, March 03, 2014

Banker Quotes: As Told to Me v7

I learn a lot from bankers and industry experts as I visit their offices, speak to them on the phone or at industry events. Occasionally they will offer an insight that I think my Twitter followers would find interesting. Since I estimate my Twitter community only reads about 10% of their tweet stream, and so many of my blog readers do not follow Twitter, below are selected quotes that I tweeted since version 6.

Note that if the quotes exceeded 140 characters, I would have abbreviated or substituted some words to make them fit. So if you are a CPA and want to count, a few of the quotes may exceed the 140 here, but not on Twitter. I quote people anonymously to protect the innocent.

1. Bank CEO: There was a time when everyone got a 3% raise no matter how well they did. I call them the union years.

It's difficult to motivate our people if we reward the average to below-average the same way as top performers. I also don't see a material difference between a 3% and a 4% raise. Do you?

2. Bank Director: Sales complaining about infrastructure is crap. Sales people have the tools. They don't have the disposition.

Sometimes reasons for not meeting expectations are excuses. Wisdom is knowing the difference between an obstacle and an excuse.

3. Bank CEO: If you throw a number out to our Board they'll swarm to it like piranha!

This is one reason why strategic plan projections look less like stretch goals and more like budgets. But if the bank places a present value on their strategic plan projections, should they be afraid of the answer?

4. Bank CFO to me: I believe the 30-year mortgage is unhedgeable.

What has the Federal Government done to the residential mortgage loan? They turned it into something imminently more complex than it needs to be from the borrowers perspective. And very difficult for bankers to put on their books. Without Uncle Sam's interference, I think a five-year, 30-year amortizing loan would be the norm, and everyone would understand it, and the cost to lend and therefore the cost to the borrower would be much lower.

5. Credit Union CEO: We're starting to rethink the centralized call center approach.

One reason often cited by customers for using branches is to solve problems. But phone calls to banks/ credit unions typically go to a centralized call center while branch lobbies are empty, denying the branch person of a sales opportunity.

6. Bank Exec: Any FI has access to their customer data. The real successful ones know how to analyze it and act on it.

Just be able to identify single service customers, have alerts for customer events such as large deposits (other than for compliance reasons), run queries for all customers by product type by Zip code... you know, common sense stuff that helps go-getters go and get.

7. Bank Exec to me: We talk to a lot of other bankers and nobody seems happy with their core processor.

How much of the market does Fiserv, FIS, and Jack Henry own?

8. Bank director to me: Advertising sells the first car, service sells the rest.

Guess what industry this director hails from?

9. Bank CFO: The FDIC is on a rising rate binge.

Examiners tend to have a theme when they come for their regular exam. This time around, the theme appears to be interest rate risk.

10. Bank CEO: We can't control who comes in our branches.

Then may I suggest downsizing branches, eliminating Marketing expense, and removing business development activities from job descriptions?

11. Me to bank retail head: Why bank with you? What is your value proposition? Banker: Stability.

That's the first time I heard this as a differentiator. But I believe it can be, especially if the bank across the street changed signs several times over the last decade, or there has been a high profile local bank failure.

12. Bank CEO on his future strategy: A few locations and tons of digital.

If your bank has few locations, embarking on an aggressive branching strategy doesn't seem to make sense, given rapidly changing customer delivery channel preferences.

13. Bank Director: We have to be careful cutting staff in branches, because with the lack of customers the branch might look too empty.

I can't make this stuff up.

14. Bank CEO: Jeff, I'm hoping for a boring banking environment before I retire.

To which my daughter, @shannonmarsico tweeted back to me: I thought boring banking environment was a given.

What are bankers telling you?

~ Jeff


  1. Bank CFO on Director involvement in IRR assumptions: What do they know? They're just a bunch of dentists!