All Hail 2012: It’s Time to Change

Original post by Staff on December 28, 2012

opportunitiesAs announcements go, it wasn’t a very big deal when the British Bankers’ Association said at the end of the year that it is urging its 200 member banks to participate in a broad, two-pronged initiative to boost the industry’s image. Part of the plan is to monitor “people’s concerns before they become massive scandals”—a worthy goal, to be sure. But this wasn’t an isolated symptom of the problem. At around the same time, a Financial Times survey of 93 Members of Parliament revealed that fully two-thirds of the legislators believe British banks should be required to create a stronger barrier between investment banking and what’s known as ‘high-street’ operations. More worryingly, this wasn’t a liberal push for more regulation—the number of Conservative MPs backing the idea is actually higher than their Labour counterparts. There’s already a proposal to create a ‘ringfence’ around retail banking, but the new research indicates that many think the changes don’t go far enough.

That’s really the recurring theme here. If 2012 was a year of major change for banking institutions and individuals around the world, then 2013 will require even more.

A tsunami of bad news throughout the year was capped off by the news late in December of massive fines levied against UBS. The Swiss banking conglomerate ponied up $1.5 billion to global regulators, including $700 million to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) alone, the largest such settlement in the agency’s history. The fines stemmed from the charges of manipulation directed primarily at the bank’s Japanese securities subsidiary, all part of the mushrooming Libor scandal. Continue reading ›

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Small Business: Respect and Dedication

Original post by Staff on December 4, 2012

In a recent blog on, we explored how small businesses don’t always get the respect they deserve from the banking world. There’s no question that this sector of the economy is always vital, and increasingly optimistic. In fact, the number of businesses that report being ‘better off’ jumped from 16 percent in 2009 to 33 percent in 2012. This is also a market rich with possibility: on average, small businesses hold deposits four times greater and loan balances 15 times greater than retail banking customers.

And yet, this market continues to rank near the bottom in banking satisfaction.  So what’s going on—and what can the industry do to make thing better? The new J.D. Power and Associates 2012 US Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study, a comprehensive research report that identifies and highlights the situation described above, digs deeper into the problems and identifies many of the pain points.

As mentioned in the previous blog, credit is still the primary issue, but it’s not the only one.  The J.D Power study lays out more fundamental problems too. In particular, while small businesses are sometimes lumped in with retail banking, there are major differences between the two. Continue reading ›

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3 Reasons Customers May Break Up With Your Bank & How to Avoid Them

Just like with couples, the relationship between retail banking customers and their financial institution is complex. As with any relationship, a healthy connection between two parties is one that develops over time and is typically based on mutual respect, trust, honesty and support.

Most of us know that it takes effort for healthy relationships to work! Whether we like it or not however, breakups do happen and in the case of bank customers, they get over them quickly and move on to another bank relationship.

The following are a few valuable insights about why retail bank customers may break up with you and how you can implement a few change initiatives to maintain a healthy connection with your customers….to avoid the bank break up.

Reason #1: Callous Communication – Problems become a customer’s biggest problem

Problem prevention needs to be a high priority for all financial institutions, given the incidence of problems (22% of customers¹ indicate experiencing a problem) and the significant impact that problem incidence has on overall customer satisfaction.

Prevention Tips

  • Ensure customers understand fee structures, deal honestly with them and explain the fees right up front – it improves awareness of fees and minimizes complaints.
  • Engage new customers during account initiation to identify their needs and sell them the products that meet those needs … lowers the incidence of future problems if they are happy from the start.
  • Empower bank representatives (branch and call center) with the necessary authority, and provide proper training that will allow them to address any customer misunderstandings at the first point of contact. It will eliminate confusion for future problems.
[1] J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Retail Banking Satisfaction Study

Reason #2 – Unmet Needs – You’re not giving them enough of what they want Continue reading ›

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