Start the New Year by reinventing your financial institution

by Mark Arnold

The 2014 goals for your financial institution are probably already set. Hopefully, many of those goals involve changing your bank or credit union. Because if you are not changing, you are not growing. But your goals maybe should go beyond just changing your financial institution. Maybe you should just reinvent it.

If you want to not just change but reinvent your bank or credit union, then one book you want to read this month is The Reinventors by Jason Jennings. The subtitle says it all: How Extraordinary Companies Pursue Radical Continuous Change. Let’s be honest: there is A LOT about credit unions and community banks that must change (in order for them to survive). Reading The Reinventors will give you many ideas on how to positively implement those necessary changes.

Below are some quotes from the book and how we can apply them.

(1) “Your job as you know it and your business as it is currently run will eventually change.”

Jennings makes a compelling comparison of the top 25 companies in the Fortune 500. He notes that between the years 2000 and 2010 almost two-thirds of those top 25 companies fell off the top 25 list. In only 10 years. In other words, even the largest and most successful companies have a hard time sustaining growth.

  • Application: If you don’t change the way your bank or credit union is doing business, your institution will become irrelevant. Determine two things you WILL change this year. Dive deeply into how you can change your marketing, your procedures, your brand, your processes and your products.

(2) “Companies committed to growth make staying ahead of their customers’ wants and needs a hallmark of their culture and accomplish that goal through constant radical change”

You can no longer take baby steps to change. True growth is only accomplished with radical change. You have to know what the consumer of the future wants. Stop thinking about today and focus on tomorrow. But make sure that focus includes an eye on the consumer (and not just your institution).

  • Application: Talk to your customers and members on a regular basis. Make sure you are conducting surveys and focus groups. But beyond that, every now and then just sit down and talk with some consumers about banking. Ask them what they want. Make sure you are also doing your own research on banking trends (reading Brett KingRon Shevlin and The Financial Brand are great places to start).
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