Last week, I shared that Cullen/Frost acquired another institution in Texas. A stalwart of community banks, many analysts and investors cite their strength as proof that M&A isn’t a necessity to grow one’s business. Still, organic growth has yet to return to the degree to which was hoped for by many other bankers at this point. So with apologies to Deloitte, the following three points from members of the accounting world’s “Big Four” focus on the strategies some might consider to build their franchise value without requiring an acquisition.
(1) KPMG’s John Depman writes about the “unprecedented change afoot in the banking industry.” In his view, technology is rapidly evolving and it’s changing consumer expectations about how banks should be serving them. He carries this message throughout his “Community Banks That Fail to Leverage Technology May Become Obsolete” piece that is up on BankDirector.com. According to John, community banks have been slower to embrace technology as a means to interact with and serve customers. In doing so, they risk becoming obsolete. To this end, he shares a number of key issues that directors and boards need to consider and subsequently work with senior management to address. These range from “customer loss vs. investment return” to evaluating bank branch strategies. Ultimately, “the model that defined our industry for generations has now been turned on its head. The road to transforming your community bank won’t be short. But, it’s a road that must be taken.”
(2) Keeping to this transformation theme, PwC’s Financial Services Managing Director, Nate Fisher, highlights how banks can align their pricing structure by using data from customer preferences, purchasing patterns and price sensitivity.
(3) Finally, banks continue to report increases in mobile banking usage, at least, according to a July 30th piece that ran in American Banker’s “Bank Technology News.” There, they recognize the latest “Mobile Banking Intensity Index” which shows how features like mobile check deposit continue to be adopted quickly. This lines up with a number of tweets I’ve recently seen from Ernst & Young (“EY”). Some relate to the banking industry coping with the challenges of the mobile money ecosystem. Others refer to the strategies that are emerging, and potential pitfalls to be avoided “in a landscape where competitors include businesses (telecoms and tech firms, for instance) that until recently had nothing to do with financial services.” According to EY, in 2001, there was only one mobile payment system in the market. Today, there are 150 in everyday use and 90 more in development. Wow…