ABA Banking Journal - August 2010 - (Page 18)
ABA Community BAnking
ed books and loaded iPads, covering financial services and strategies appropriate to all stages of life. • Educational workshops—Each campus features a regular round of free basic educational workshops. • Conversation Stations—These private meeting areas allow customers to meet with the bank’s resident experts for answers. “Many of our employees like to talk things out before they sell someone something,” Cuddy explains. To help set apart the campuses from the usual bank branch, there are also sitting areas with coffee and WiFi, called Knowledge Bars, and the Little Learners’ Corner. Cuddy adds that he’s not naïve. He knows that sometimes people just want to get their banking taken care of: “If you’re in a hurry, we’ll get your transactions done,” he says. People factors play a role Beneficial intended these campuses to be a notable shift from the past. The hiring process was changed. “We interviewed and hired on the basis of personality,” he explains. The bank tended to look for people who had worked in retail stores. “Then we taught them banking,” Cuddy explains. That education took five months. To support the laid back, consultative aspect of the educational offices, the bank has been working on different metrics than usual for the evaluation of performance. C u d d y s e e s t h e e d u c at i o n approach as one way community banks can set themselves apart, and doesn’t believe an “educational branch” would have gotten off the ground at a megabank. “This would never have survived the first focus group or consultant meeting,” says Cuddy, “but I think this is a great time to be talking financial responsibility and savings.” n
18 | ABA BANKING JOURNAL | august 2010
Rethinking community banking—for survival
Launching a print-and-online series on the future of your bank, and your job
hat is the community bank of the future going to look like?” This question came as a group of bankers gathered around a conference table in early May. They had spent the morning sharing angst. Then they decided to look forward. An Ohio banker said: I intend my bank to have a future on the other side of this “Valley of the Shadow of Death” we’re all facing. So do you all. So, what are we going to look like? How will we appeal to today’s young people, who never go into banks, who think “good service” means a reliable WiFi connection; the latest iPhone; an online banking site, or, better yet, a killer mobile banking app; and debit and prepaid cards? How do we stay relevant? Shortly after that conversation (ABA BJ was sitting in), we presented it online as the lead-in to a speculative “op-ed”-style article about what banks could learn from Apple Stores. Thousands of bankers have visited www. ababj.com to read the article (speedlink: www.bitly.com/cbankfuture), and we’ve had insightful comments posted by community bankers, some younger bank customers, a noted consultant, and others. What we’re doing In the wake of the Dodd-Frank Act and as banks come out of the recession, we ask: • Does the look, function, and reason for being of the community bank office have to evolve? To what? (This month’s column looks at one example.) • Does the customer base evolve? • Does the business mix evolve or migrate? • How does the community bank push personal service into cyberspace and the mobile world? • Must compliance and other support costs be the boat anchor that drags banks down and out? Or are the imaginative ways to share such costs? Nothing is assumed. Everything is up for grabs and for rethinking. It’s your future. Where we’re doing it You’ll see “Community Bank of the Future” articles in this magazine, but stories won’t only be there. Like the Apple Store article, some will be online. We’ll be looking at structures, strategies, tools, new models, and people. Keep up with this by reading ABA BJ and reading alerts to new postings in ABA Banking Journal Report, our free weekly e-letter. (Subscribe at www.ababj. com/e-newsletters.html) What you can do with us No one size fits all. We want to hear from bankers. When articles appear online, post a comment. When they appear in print, send your thoughts in a letter to Editor-in-Chief Bill Streeter or myself, or send an e-mail. (Count on us publishing them.) But don’t wait just to react. Tell us now what your bank is trying and thinking. —Steve Cocheo, exec. editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
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