BLOG: The Eagles Nest


Yes, we are exiting 2018 after the Christmas holiday break and are entering 2019 with action plans and resolutions which we hope you will be successful in reaching if not exceeding. Hopefully they are challenging and will build value for your customers, business and employees.

In our focus groups with staff we are always amazed at how many financial industry employees don't have a Will or haven't updated one in the past 5 years. Also we ask about term and health insurance coverage as well as written career or life plan. Think about your customers! We suspect that they aren't as well versed as your employees on the subjects. So, there is an education void in many areas where we can help and make employees and customers have a better life styles and security.

From our house to you have a Blessed Christmas/Holiday/etc , The WESI team

Pat Palmer | Thursday, December 13, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

We are in a stage of economic turmoil mainly caused by political ineptness so are markets a bargain for consumers and big banks? Investing has to be for the long term and consumers must have objective goals that protect their wealth and maintain liquidity for downturns. The one issue for those carrying heavy mortgage balances is the potential for rising rates which will make incremental rates difficult to accommodate. We also do see some early signs of softening in some real estate markets which erode equity for some. Individuals and their banks can proactively take steps to minimize these negative impacts, and should do so.

On the other hand the big banks are being scrutinized for not taking advantages of acquisitions to increase shareholder returns similar to American institutions. The writers trying to give advise should look at the historical track records of both industries as well as the precarious political tax incentives available in the USA from a lame duck President who decreases taxes in the short term without understanding the long term cumulative effects of increased spending. With global trade and tariff battles going on caution is the over riding guide for a steady performance course.

Pat Palmer | Monday, December 10, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The name of this post reflects reality for many authors, university professors, researchers and others but can also be a message for many businesses especially financial institutions who give the impression that they are too reserve about their good deeds. Sure profits are a strategic driver as are people and planet! What you do for your customers and employees which shows extra empathy and dedication should be shared in your market communities, advertising and advertorials. Likewise, the environment is a critical today and for the future generations and everyone can do their contributions for a better planet. In fact we know of many exciting initiatives of our FI contacts that don't get enough external press but things are shared internally on a rationed basis.

Sure there is a lot of focus on the media these days regarding fake news in the political arenas but lets not back away from real positive publications to inspire our people and give an incentive to others. Publish or we will get lost in the abundant negativity bombarding us daily.

Pat Palmer | Sunday, December 09, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Last weeks Bank of Canada report on quarterly intentions cools their direction for continued rate increases. In fact, the international, national and inter-provincial economic discords are getting louder fueled by politicians who don't understand integrated global economic benefits which if disrupted erode financial footings every where even in the perpetrators own backyards. Tariffs on tariffs, taxes on taxes and threats on threats are destroying economic underpinnings and long term value creation which will strain our financial systems and eventually injure individual consumers with job losses and credit deterioration. The financial industry can visualize the potential negative impacts and more can be done to privately or publicly educate politicians on the fallout. 

When major trading blocks are in chaos without knowledgeable leadership, the resulting consequences are long term economic pain and financial uncertainty. Progress is under attack and politicians need to come down from their power pestles and get in touch with their peoples' economic well being.

Pat Palmer | Sunday, December 09, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Canada's national newspaper today reported on the Facebook 2015 sale of personal, private information of members' "friends" information to major retailers' so they could harvest the data for target selling offers. One of the companies mentioned was RBC Royal Bank of Canada. I expect there will be some very senior comment from the bank and Facebook as to if they had the consent, or not, of those customers. If not, there has been a major ethical, privacy and leadership breach of personal information similar to what StatsCan was recently trying to expand which created a national backlash from the CBA, Government Opposition, media and average organizations and individuals, such as, us. 

Apologies, dismissals and policy changes may be non negotiable now and if there isn't a timing response, I expect that the media, politicians and the public will to generating an outcry which should be the loudest from RBC customers.

It is damage control time- with honest, integrity and corrective actions. Some of us past and current employees are dumb founded at the moment.

Pat Palmer | Wednesday, December 05, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Aviva acquired RBC's general insurance business a few months ago and ever since that time I have heard numerous complaints about their lack of customer empathy and proactive service. RBC should have taken their brand name back when the sale was completed as they are in the shadow of a company no where near the customer service standards that they maintained.

Tonight I had a call from a single mother who drove from Barrie to Milton to have supper with her 18 year old son. On Friday she had just gotten her car back after repairs at a Benz dealer which resulted when the vehicle was parked and hit by a driver who was at fault of course. In her drive the engine and coolant lights came on and she was afraid to make the return drive home. She called Aviva's service number for guidance and assistance and was on hold for an hour after which the call was dropped. A complaint has been registered with the company. After over 2 hours she was riding in a tow truck back home. This a woman who is active on social networks and is now on a mission to redirect others away from Aviva.

Obviously Aviva didn't go to the same customer service school as RBC and many of its disgruntled clients.

Pat Palmer | Sunday, December 02, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Today there is a continuous stream of non-bank competitors pushing financial service commodities every time you do online searches or you simply watch TV- mortgages, car loans, e-accounts with high interest, etc. Also there are many general insurance options but in their case there is usually a traditional parent behind the scene. As the non-bank competitors continue to siphon off product opportunities their successes don't show up in industry market share statistics and probably go unnoticed by the banks with their multiple channels. In the end it is the consumer that controls the decisions as well as the research and comparisons. I am curious as to how many channel managers do searches similar to those done by their customers and then compare the value propositions which probably boil down to rate and fee comparisons. In other words are you a regular online mystery shoppers and do you actually validate what is engaging the consumers?

Many non-bank organizations have added financial services to their product lines and they have effective online channels/apps with more on the horizon. I do detect some complacency in the marketing environments of the banks which apparently focus on profitable

 relationships and are not trying to stem the disintermediation eroding their sandy shores.

Pat Palmer | Sunday, December 02, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The North American announcements by GM of plant closures sent wicked waves of pre-Christmas shock through countries, communities and citizens whose livelihoods are negatively impacted. Business decisions of this magnitude generally are overdue plus have lasting consequences in every public and private quarter plus erode brand equity.

There are many clear messages here for all governments, corporations, dependent towns and cities, as well as individuals. Unfortunately the declining sales at GM plus technology trends for vehicles finally reached a strategic crisis which also suggests there will be other future re-engineering moves for survival.

Here are just a few highlighted take aways:

Always ensure that you have a solid public relations plan and empathetic schedule of follow-up events for negative announcements.

Publish the decision business case to all impacted parties together with any remedial actions to lessen the fallout on various stakeholders.

Focus on subsequent opportunities and growth in the company's universal strategic future.

Encourage the technology training/ retraining, adaptations and investments everyone needs to make i.e. businesses, communities, current and future employees plus educational institutions.

Technology has and will continue to drive accelerated change in every economy and all peoples' lives. Continuous education and embracing technological changes are required for survival throughout everyone's future. Investments in talent development and recruiting are the priority! Complacency and lack of adaptation agility will surely result in obsolesce fallout for dependents. Financial institutions take note of these strategic environmental issues and impacts.

Pat Palmer | Tuesday, November 27, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Years ago the Canadian Government popularized the use of value for money audits to determine the effectiveness of spending and investing for Canadians. (Personally I was and still am skeptical that governments create and real added value over the amount of taxpayers dollars they spend)

After the value audits were appreciated they spread to the private sector and WESI used a comparable process to evaluate both large and small Financial Institutions. Actually after the past years of prosperity and growth in FI's this is an ideal time to establish a priority list of areas, programs and sourcing using a value for money audit approach. Good years normally at some point lead to a time for "leaning" the organization in all areas. The simplest  place to begin is with recently added programs to see if they are making original budgets and if there are shortfalls can corrections be made or do you abandon. The most political and difficult areas to assess are head office departments which one normally classes as essential overhead. The question is how critical are they and where is the return. Most organizations allocate these budgets to revenue generating profit centres but it can't be an open ended percentage for 100% recovery. Whether we are looking at credit, marketing, human resources, etc. there are logically ways to use a value audit process. Naturally, some of the solutions come from alternative sources option i.e. out-sourcing, co-sourcing, collaboration, coopetition, etc.

The value thread should always connect back to customers directly and indirectly but you can't stretch that connection to all support departments without identifying measurable contributions. When you find some slack or productivity gaps you can re-engineer resources or add new revenue generating impacts. Innovative thinking has to go with value solutions. Where leaders can't readily isolate the value shortfalls, they then take the tact of cutting, say 10% of resources. To us this kind of shock treatment has negative cultural impacts and you will cut the good and the bad.

Pat Palmer | Sunday, November 18, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

In the rural area of this office it is evident that one of the major banks are in the process of rationalizing their branch network driven from the headquarters perspective. Undoubtedly they have done their homework but how execution is handled in the communities which will leave the lasting impressions. First there is a village of say 800 people with probably a draw from agricultural operations of another 200 souls. The village is less than 20 minutes from a small regional city. Obviously the people in or around the community do most of their shopping/dealing and work in the city and online. The facts will clearly show that the branch is not profitable on any scale especially on a fully absorbed cost basis. Shouldn't be a problem if the communications are honest and believable.

In the small city, the downtown is in a semi-decay state as the shopping is done at the east and west end malls and national brand stores. The major banks are all represented on the downtown strip in large structures with inconvenient parking and merchant struggles to attract people. The bank closing the village branch nearby has announced that it is relocating the city branch out to the east end shopping area. Unfortunately here is were planning falls apart! The regional executive making the announcement stated that headquarters has made the decision since the lack of handicap access and parking is not acceptable. Downtown is now upset as they see this as a step backwards to their rejuvenation efforts.

You never want buck passing for decisions to some invisible person in head office- everyone is on the same team-it is we!

Secondly be truthful. The five big bank branches in a 2 block area are not as active, poorly located for customer convenience plus the financial are no doubt trending poorly. From where we sit it is better to be the first to relocate but get the messages fine tuned and delivered by a team player.

Pat Palmer | Wednesday, November 14, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink


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