Mission failure: The banking industry’s approach to financial health

Banks and credit unions proclaim their mission is to help consumers achieve financial success. Few live up to that aspiration, however. A former bank executive details six roadblocks to delivering successful financial health programs and suggests measures to overcome them.

Here are two phrases commonly found in the mission or value statements of banks and credit unions: “The path to financial wellness starts here.” Or, “Helping members achieve financial success.” The sincerity is real, but few institutions actually deliver on those promises.

Too often they enhance their digital channel with a few financial calculators, write some blogs on their website and declare, “Mission accomplished.”

My insights come from first-hand experience. I launched a team of financial health coaches at one of the Big Three U.S. banks. By many measures, the effort was a success. The team coached 75,000+ consumers, had sky-high customer satisfaction scores, and was featured in the company’s annual report plus a brand advertising campaign.


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