BLOG: The Eagles Nest


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

Finally after a public and political uproar StatsCan's intent to harvest the data of 500,000 Canadians private financial information without their consent, has been put on hold. We wrote letters, blogs and many texts as a small part of what turned out to be a tidal wave of negative noise. The Canadian Bankers Association deserves credit for standing up for the principle of customer privacy in the face of federal government appointed and elected officials who were spear heading the initiative. When citizens' freedom and privacy are compromised by the government at any level hiding behind ill thought out powers and regulations our democracy is at risk.

Keep up the fight against these non-consensual intrusions within our industry and beyond. These actions are unwelcome and further encourage hacking into government data bases which are not 100% protected but opens another potential window of criminal opportunity.

Pat Palmer | Tuesday, November 13, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

We are coming to the end of another calendar year and in starting 2019 our success will continue to be built on people centricity- customers and talent.

Regardless of the time or situation, the customer is first and foremost for our financial services industry. Customer engagements/experiences take place millions of times everyday and therefore service and sales perceptions are the reality where the "rubber meets the road". How well do you know present and target customers? Do you undertake preference research regularly and how are you massaging the data you have on customers? Organize around your customers and don't waste money on product or channel competitions internally and for sure demonstrate a cohesive front to customers as an organization within your various business divisions. Customers have all the access and more of the technology tools that allow them to control relationships and they can integrate and aggregate what they want virtually.

Internally, continuous investments in people/talent is more crucial than ever and complacency must not be allowed to creep in and let people coast on past successes. Employees all need a meaningful role which recognizes the customer priority and the strategic pressures of external trends. To do this our cultures must cultivate autonomy, innovation, challenge and motivated commitment. The best people are needed to compete and win for the customer and the shareholders as well as themselves. No one can ignore the technological threats internally as well as in cyberspace. Our weakest links with cyber security can be our own people resources if they you don't have the talents and enterprise risk management culture everywhere. Challenge people to improve their knowledge and vigilance of the dynamic threats in the mirror and on the outside.

If people are the foundation of your business and that focus consumes your organization you will have sustainable profitability, strategic agility and a visible social conscience inside and outside.

Pat Palmer | Tuesday, November 13, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

If you regularly follow our publications and writing you know that we are followers and contributors to The Global Futures Forum lead by David Smith out of the UK. His most recent effort has focused on 3D Printing under his Global Futures and Foresight library and you can expect to see reports coming on banking, financial capital markets, talent, etc in the next few weeks <>

With our recent subjects on technology/data and fraud I went back into David's library and quickly reviewed The Future of Data Security in Financial Services. The core of this section was written by Advanced 365 <> and is well worth the read at this time especially with the StatsCan situation. Also it is timely for your Enterprise Risk Team to also re-quaint themselves with the content therein. 

We have a trust responsibility with the data we hold or that which passes through, and in, plus out of our organizations. Infringements on privacy lead to significant liabilities which can be destructive to the foundation of the financial services business.  

Pat Palmer | Tuesday, November 06, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Another significant negative story concerning some insurance company claims came out last week with regards to HST costs related to claims. A half dozen companies, some with close bank ties, were highlighted for not compensating claimants for HST on relate costs. One was Aviva which took over RBC's general insurance operations. As a highly satisfied RBC customer and retiree, I am equally dissatisfied with the acquirer. I have only one policy left there until renewal time. The culture, people, processes and programs are drastically different even though they try to hide behind the RBC valuable name.

When you have an insurance partner/collaboration there must be some brand management responsibility between the two and when news stories and customer complaints are leveled there should be a joint, on-going review process. Bottom-line results are impacted by dissatisfied customers and negative publicity.

Pat Palmer | Monday, November 05, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

To-night's national news cast on Globle TV just presented a story which embarrassed BNS for its handling of fraud in a customer's account. I am sure that the bank's fraud management process is not as bad as depicted but perhaps the human factor dropped the ball in the case broadcast.

First rule of everything we do in financial services is focus on the customer and respect their dignity and privacy.That means that the customer is always in the loop from the first step. Hiding or neglecting that principle opens the door to material profile and risk problems. In fact a story like that can create people paranoia which will generate negative questions and inquiries.

Second, even if there is human error in handling this or any other case, you must do a post mortem on the particular incident plus review your fraud and risk management operations.

How quickly and customer-centric this follow-up experience is resolved is important to the bank and their customers' perceptions.

Pat Palmer | Monday, November 05, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink


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