Four Letters. Infinite Potential.

"Self-Improvement" Projects: The Key to Enhancing Long-Term Growth


By Ron Jennings, Executive Vice President

Needless to say, today’s business environment for financial institutions provides its share of opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, new technologies provide innovative service options that can improve or increase your touch points with account holders. However, on-going concerns regarding shrinking margins, potential interest rate risk, restrictions on non-interest income generation and compliance issues surrounding mortgage lending, cybersecurity, consumer fraud, BSA/AML, UDAAP and third-party relationships can leave an institution on unstable ground … especially if organizational and strategic foundations are weak or outdated.

In a recent Deloitte report on trends for global human capital, 92 percent of companies believe that redesigning their organization is important to their on-going success. For financial institutions, this is especially critical as consumer interest in mobile banking continues to increase and competition from alternative financial services providers is on the rise. 

Is it time for an organizational makeover?

You may think your institution is running efficiently and providing account holders with the services they need. But when was the last time you took a thorough assessment of your existing services, processes, workflow, personnel, and income and expenditures to determine if:

     • your product offerings are profitable and match account holder needs;
     • your staffing plan provides the skillset necessary to meet your service goals;
     • your existing processes allow employees to work efficiently and effectively;
     • your products meet compliance expectations; and
     • your vendor contracts are providing the best value and service possible?   

To be effective, an organizational review should include a line-by-line examination of every department – from the executive suite to the back office and every branch location – to identify the myriad ways to utilize your resources more efficiently. And while that may seem overwhelming, the results can help to uncover any structural weaknesses, identify ways to substantially improve your efficiency ratio, and update and streamline processes that will lead to increased employee performance that can give you a competitive boost.

Begin with a thorough review and analysis

An assessment of your existing product mix, transaction volume and patterns can identify where your account holders are spending their time – online or in your branches – and help to clarify where you should be spending your resources to best meet their needs. This review will look at such issues as product and account profitability, and relationship pricing. Plus, a compliance review can help to insure that your current overdraft program is in line with all regulatory expectations and providing your account holders with a reliable tool for maintaining their financial stability.

A competitive analysis will reveal how your products and fees compare with other institutions in the marketplace. With this information in hand, you can determine if there is a need to provide value-added services or make adjustments to your fees in order to optimize non-interest income and remain competitive.

Revisit your organizational structure
Do your operational practices support your employees’ ability to do their jobs well? If your institution is still operating under a management structure that requires individuals or small groups to report up through specific managers in silos throughout the organization, you are missing out on the value of collective knowledge and expertise. When employees work in more flattened, cross-functional action teams, they can address problems by seeing the whole organizational picture, instead of just from one department’s perspective. This allows employees to share information and combine their skills to propel the institution toward mutually-shared goals.

A staffing study can help you determine how to utilize your staff resources most effectively to provide excellent service and maintain an efficient, enjoyable work environment. 

Take another look at your expenses
While you may have been focused on trimming all of the extras out of the budget during the economic downturn, you could still be paying too much for your monthly service contracts. For example, as the industry’s reliance on technology expands, spending on systems and software to enhance mobile services and data security is expected to increase. However, there are economies of scale – as well as savings and incentives – that you might be missing if you allow vendor contracts to automatically renew without renegotiating the terms. Remember, your vendors are not required or likely to offer you a better deal if you don’t ask for it.

A review of your existing contracts – and renegotiation with your vendors – can result in better pricing and/or contract terms on services you use every day. In many cases, results include immediate savings – thanks to retroactive cost reductions from your providers – plus improved service and better vendor relationships.

Develop a blueprint to support long-term growth
In today’s uncertain environment, growth is essential for long-term success.  An on-going commitment to process improvement can provide your institution with maximum productivity and business efficiencies while increasing revenue and lowering operating costs. If you don’t have the time to lead the process, or possess the internal expertise or objectivity to identify and implement the changes necessary, an expert in process re-engineering can identify areas where change is necessary and help position the institution in the right direction to grow.


Also featured on CU Insight 



100% 12 months 2020 2020 vision 40 years abusive abusiveness Academy account holder account holder retention account holder strategies account holder strategies; growth strategies; account holders accountability Achieve achievements Advancements Advice Agreement analysis Analytics announcement Assistance ATMs Attendees attorneys attracting talent Automation B2B Balance Bank Bank of Pacific Banking banking services banks banks and credit unions batching Benefit best practices board governance board member board of directors Bob Layendecker bottom line branch equipment branch profitability branding Bryan Hanks budget bundling business business culture business environment business practices business processes business strategies career advice Career Goal case studies Case Study CEO CEO onboarding certainty CFPB Challenges change charitable Cher Cheryl Lawson Choose Chris Karstens claim clarity class action class-action lawsuit Classroom clients Cloud Cohron CommFirst Federal Credit Union commitment Communication communications communities community Community Outreach Referral Program Competition Competitive Complaint Compliance compliance examinations compliance risks compliant condition conduct Conferences Consistency Consistent consultant Consultation consulting Consumer Consumer FInancial Protection Bureau consumer protection Consumer-focused Consumers Contingency Contingency Pricing contingency-based fees Contract Contract Analysis Contract Negotiation contract negotiations Contract Optimizer Contract Renegotiations contract review contract staffing Contracts Convenience core processor contracts Cornerstone Credit Union League coronavirus corporate culture corporate governance costs Courtesy Pay COVID-19 CPE credits Credit Card credit card contracts credit cards credit report Credit Union credit unions Crissandra Fry CSS culture customer service cyber security Damian Data Data Analytics database Deal debit card contracts Debt deceptive Decisions Demand Letters Deposit Development Dick Miller digital directors Disclosed disclosures discounts Discussion Dodd-Frank Act donation Donna Sumrall Dynamic economy Education efficiency studies election Email Emergencies Emergency employee employee retention employees EMV migration enforce enforcement Engagement Errors evaluation Evolve executive search Expectations Expense expense management expense reduction expenses Experience Expert expert negotiations Experts Facilitators FastTrack FDIC Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Board fee Feedback fees Financial Financial Institution financial institutions financial services financial stability Financial Worry FinTech Fixed limits Floyd's Forum Free Analysis full disclosure Fully fully disclosed overdraft program funds Gen Z Generating Income generating leads generation Generation Z Gift Goals governance government Grow Gym Halloween Hammond Happiness health hiring HKW Holiday Holidays HR HR policies Hubur human capital human resources Implementation important Improved improved efficiencies improved results Inc. income income enhancement Industry Innovate Innovative Institution integrity interests interview strategies interview tips IT contracts Jackson Jai Jai Darden James Jamone Moore Jan Southern Jennifer Peoples Jennifer Simmons Jim Griffis Jimmy Nguyen JMFA JMFA Academy JMFA clients JMFA News JMFA Next Generation Overdraft Privilege Joe Marsh John Cohron John M. Floyd John M. Floyd & Associates judicial justification Kelly Flynn Kennedy law lawsuits Lawyer leaders leadership Learn Learning Legal legislative lending program Lesson Limit Limits Literacy litigation litigators loans local Long Term Long-Term lost revenue Maggie Thompson Maintenance manage management Mark Roe marketing marketplace Matrix Matrix-based measurable measurable results Member Members Midwest Region Millennial Millennials Mississippi Missouri Mobile Banking monetary Money Most Valuable Provider NAFCU NCUA Negative Settlement Negotiate negotiating contracts negotiator Net Operating Analysis New Decade New Year New Year's Next Generation JMFA Overdraft Privilege NOA Non-Compliant Non-Interest Income NSF fees OCC Officer Oliver Ireland onboarding Online Opportunities Opportunity Opt-In Organizational Health Outcomes outsourcing Overdraft overdraft compliance overdraft coverage overdraft fees overdraft practices Overdraft Privilege overdraft privilege program overdraft program Overdraft programs overdraft protection programs Overdraft Protection Service overdraft service overdraft services overdraft strategy overdrafts Overspending Partner Paul McFarland paycheck emergency payday loans Payments Pennsylvania performance personnel plan planning Plus4 Credit Union Policy POS Positive Swipe practice practices Press Release Privilege Manager CRM proactive procedure process process improvement Processing product profitability Productivity Products Professional Profitability Improvement Program Program Management programs prohibited project staffing Promotions Proposals Provider providers Quality Reactive reality Recruitment Services recruitment strategies refer referral Reg E regional director regulation Regulation E regulations regulators regulatory relationship Relationships Renegotiate Renewal Reporting Reputation resolutions Resources Results Retail Retaining Employees Retention Retirement revenue revenue enhancement review Richard Miller Right risk risks ROI Ron Jennings Roy Roy Seifert Rules Ryan Armstrong Sales Satisfaction savings Scrutiny secrets Security senate service service agreements service contracts service delivery Services Sessions settlement shareholders Sheila Bridges Shopping social distancing Social Events social media Software Solution Spending staff staff development staff spotlight staff training staffing staffing gaps staffing studies staffing study stakeholders standard Statistics Strategic Planning Strategies Strategy Stressful succeed Success success factors Succession plan succession planning Support survey Susan Prell talent team team members technology technology costs technology upgrades technology utilization temporary staff term Text Thing Third-Party Expert third-party providers threat three Tim Strandquist Time Tools Tracking Trainer training transaction Transparency Transparent Travel Treats trends Trey Martin Trust UDAAP unfair updates Upgrades Value Variable Vendor vendor agreements vendor contracts vendor performance vendors violation Walker Washington Webinars weeks Westmoreland Community FCU Whitney & Company Wish list women work Workshops