Three Interviews with Banking Industry Expert on Challenges, Trends and Technology

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In recent weeks, we've spent time picking the brain of banking industry expert Tom Grottke, a highly regarded performance improvement consultant on the Crowe team. It was good to hear his take on the present and future state of the banking industry and the role of CRM software. Tom explained what he sees as the top challenges for lending institutions. Then he discussed specific success stories and the role of technology in a modern bank.

This post presents some of the takeaways from those interviews.

Banking Industry Challenges - Interview with Banking Industry Expert Tom Grottke Part 1

“Some banks are highly inefficient in their retail banking model. That could be related to how they onboard customers, how they cross-sell to them, how they serve, and support them between branches, call center, and operations. It could be the roles, responsibilities, and technology in the branches. For example, how well is real-time live information shared to the call center and from service and support to operation?

Analyzing banks, we look at how many systems they use, how they work together, how efficient they are across departments. The goal is to enhance customer service and customer response time. We are concerned with the dynamics, the efficiency, and the customer responsiveness between the front office and back office, retail, commercial, and mortgage.

We interface with 50 to 80 banks a year and do 20 or 30 projects, but we interact with many more. We meet with them; we interview them, we give proposals, we have networking clients, we do surveys. So, we bring a vast array of knowledge of what other people at other banks are doing.

Also, some organizations are not good at projects; we are project experts. Our focus is the project governance, the scope, the plan, the cadence. And we work to project completion and project success. If we get off base, we're not going to get paid, so we're all about execution. Banks hire us because we have a broad array of experience, are solid with projects, and we have the resources to get things done.

From a technology standpoint, we can do amazing things to help banks work smarter in terms of digital transformation.

Creating a customer-centric experience where you put the customer at the heart of the business is the way modern banks will stand out.   Our partnership with Microsoft has allowed us to create banking applications that not only streamline bank operations but also bring customer information together for a complete customer view.  Crowe CRM for Banking  provides the insights needed to personalize the customer experience, and we have other workflow automation tools that streamline internal collaboration across departments, and other more focused apps that address lenders' problem loan management processes.”

Banking Industry Success Stories - Interview with Banking Industry Expert Tom Grottke Part 2

“We worked with a 33 branch bank and did a complete market study identifying which customers used each branch. We looked at the economics of the market, the market potential, and if the customers used multiple locations.  We were able to identify six branches that it potentially made sense to close. A few were closed relatively quickly. At the others, we looked at ways to improve the people, processes, and promotions in the market to determine if they could be saved.

Over time, some offices were improved, others were closed, and the bank saved a substantial amount of money. They refined their operations, created a new market strategy, and they began to take that model, and revamp other markets to improve performance.

Overdraft protection has been a heightened area that includes regulatory concerns and appropriate financial counseling to bank customers. At one bank, they had set up a new process, mainly to protect themselves from regulatory risk; that created a full-time back-office position. We looked at the entire process from the branches, operations, and back office. It became apparent that the process was redundant, didn't really reduce risk, and it didn't change the end result of the transaction. Based on our findings, the bank was able to shorten a business process map from three pages to one, eliminate a job, streamline the process, and still manage the risk. It was a change management win-win.”

Dealing with change

“Everybody is affected by change. And we have to consider the consequences of our recommendations. We identify longtime positions in areas that are inefficient workflows. Then we coordinate with HR, management, and the department leads, to review the people and positions that are going to be impacted. Together we can make the tough decisions. Many of our clients are community banks that don't like to lay people off, so they may choose to make job changes. You have to communicate carefully, manage through the changes, and then retrain people in their new jobs.

Of course, today, technology systems play a significant role in the plan we roll out.”

Technology in the Banking Industry - Interview with Banking Industry Expert Tom Grottke Part 3

It doesn't matter if it is retail, commercial, or mortgage; we see so many banks that need to deploy better technologies to eliminate paper-based processes and have real-time information readily available across their entire enterprise.

When we look at business models, we look at the policies and ask, "How can we minimize errors? How can we eliminate paper? How can we fix the issues immediately as they are found?

Most banks are currently operating in silos between their branches, their lenders, their operations, and their call center. When they select a modern core technology platform, it should be an online real-time integrated system. Everything that is happening in the call center is visible to the people in operations and retail. Whatever is happening in loans, in retail, and the call center, it's all visible.

They can share customer notes, customer information, and see if there are customers in the process of expanding their relationship. The different service units will be up to speed on the status, condition of the account, and any customer issues and opportunities.”

Why Microsoft Dynamics 365?

“What Microsoft Dynamics 365 has in its favor is the integration with all the other Microsoft business applications that bankers use daily, such as Outlook. This one fact drastically minimizes the burden put on the employees that use the system.

But Microsoft has caught up quickly with the more prominent players in the CRM market, and we're now seeing banks choose Dynamics 365 for a variety of reasons. The deployment of Dynamics 365 is now much faster, and easier than it once was. The familiarity, comfort, and confidence from a user perspective are much better because everyone is familiar with Outlook and other Microsoft applications.

Other systems only interface by email. Microsoft Dynamics is fully integrated with Microsoft Office, which allows for campaigns, contact management, and follow-up ticklers to be fully integrated with your Outlook.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 also has a competitive price point, can do everything needed, and can be made available to more employees.”

Why Crowe CRM for Banking?

The new tools that the Crowe CRM team created for the banking industry take banking technology to the next level. The core Microsoft Dynamics 365 is good. But now, with the customization for the banking industry already done, it's even more powerful.”

With Crowe CRM for Banking, you can integrate sales, marketing, and service functions across Retail, Commercial and Wealth Management, allowing relationship managers and service staff to access and share complete customer information across departments, product lines, and channels.  Provide your client services team with access to information, including complete customer profiles with interaction history, relationships, and service records. Empower your team to serve your customers more efficiently and improve your bank's productivity.

The banking industry is going through a transformation.  Operational re-engineering efficiency projects are more valuable than ever.  If you'd like to know more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Crowe CRM for Banking, contact our experts at Crowe.

By Ryan Plourde, Crowe, a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Gold Partner

Follow us on Twitter: @CroweCRM 

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