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Social media has become a marketing and distribution building block  and is critical to competitive success. Unfortunately recent revelations regarding the misuse of private data has brought an uneasiness with some networks, especially Facebook. Data from millions of private, personal accounts has been used by spurious sources, never contemplated by the individuals, to compromise privacy and to question membership with Facebook. Many of our financial institutions are using Facebook and they are going to reassess their roles with social media ,and to increase security around customers' and the institutions' data.

Proactive information has to be distributed to the public and customer base on where you stand and what you are doing relative to Facebook. What are your strategies, corrective measures and guarantees? Saying or doing nothing will send the wrong signal.

Pat Palmer | Wednesday, March 28, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Another article all over the media yesterday states that "big banks are providing insufficient protection for people" relating to previous criticisms of pushy sales staff trying to sell unwanted or unneeded products and services. My problem is the lack of public relations by banks discussing what they are doing to again legitimize their sales cultures as customer -centric. The Ottawa inquiry yielded what? Are complaints still pouring in or is there an issue carry over simply because some organizations have their heads in the sand and media like to bash banks.

Every financial institution has to engage customers and prospects to understand how the bank/credit union can improve peoples' financial well being. This process starts with customer need identification and flexible empathy scripts. In other words try to offer solutions to personal financial problems/inadequacies in a manner that generates engagement. This is quite different than a product-centric culture where sales silos compete by pushing their products at everyone.

Once a sales culture is off the tracks, it is time to do an internal audit and external research on customer preferences to set the criteria for re-designing and re-orienting the proper atmosphere and experiences. Staff and customers need to be kept informed throughout the process. Proactive, positive publicity plus sales and service education on a continuous are the priorities as well as ensuring the solicitation of feedback, both positive and negative, from all people inside and outside  the organization

Pat Palmer | Thursday, March 22, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

As a veteran financial services practitioner I watch with serious concern the debt levels of individuals and governments.

In particular I will also raise the credit card red flag especially within this period of rising rates. Sure I have a couple credit cards and they are paid off monthly so I am perhaps not the best kind of customer for credit card companies because I avoid their horrendous rates on outstanding balances. Yes those rates are perhaps necessitated due to losses and frauds. But, why aren't consumers and their financial service suppliers doing more to minimize their high borrowing costs and even excessive debt? There are options available to decrease the high cost credit card balances by using other borrowing products where debt is better managed by suppliers and users. FI's should take the opportunity to keep educating their customers  proactively at every touch point. The promotion blasts, mostly unsolicited, by credit cards companies sure give the impression that they are not concerned about customers/prospects, just numbers in their portfolios. 

What really upsets are the role models that consumers see in their political environments- governments living on debt and deficits as if there is no day of reckoning and just passing on the responsibility to future generations who have to pay higher taxes to cover endless interest increases. Governments get themselves on a treadmill to disaster by continually overspending to "buy" political favour/votes.

Budgets that spend on the back of more debt have to stop so people realize it is a bad example and they don't do the same.

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

All retailing's success factors have changed and are evolving with technology, consumer preferences, costs of doing business and leadership through customer-centric innovation. The traditional large stores with excess footprints in every type of business are finding that they don't generate the bottom-lines like they once did, even in financial services. Presently the industry leaders in assets still can hide some inefficiencies such as multi-tier management and an abundance of under performing stores/branches in terms of new revenue generation. At the same time the number of commodity niche competitors online and in store fronts are continuing to evolve eroding certain product market shares or relationships. The latter is the long term critical catalyst to manage. Consumers are more cost conscious and as a consequence will be attracted by better deals such as free chequing and e-transfers or a 1.89% mortgage with no added fees. You and I both know that larger institutions "smooth-out" revenues over many products or use a so called relationship pricing model which basically blends rates and fees. 

There are a number of commodity players in financial services expanding their product reach in every area of business from investment fees to chequing accounts. These players will expand through commodity collaborations which will have omnichannel coverage but stay away from expensive operations, management structures and non-profitable strategies. So how to you think the Amazon, Wayfair, Google, platform competitors will make out in financial services? Or better still commodity competitors' philosophies similar to Dollarama, Giant Tiger, etc in financial service store fronts. Personally I believe that you can and should have commodity collaborations under white branded umbrella's in your distribution strategy. Smaller margins are possible and profitable.

Today's shoppers permeate all segments and overtime their preferences change so a successful business model will be based on multiple businesses that will engage consumers as they prefer!

Pat Palmer | Monday, March 12, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Over the last year we have all watched the new elected leader of the USA with distrust! In a global economy when one of the players says. and means, "It is my way or the highway"  the atmosphere becomes negative. The NAFTA negotiations are NOT going well after 25 years of mutual benefits and collaboration. The whole spectrum of that agreement if it is unwound in any key ways will surely erode Canadian business and individual jobs. Now there is an executive order for extremely damaging tariffs on core Canadian exports to the USA.which will be devastating to our economy and futures. Risks on financing directly involved and dependent industries plus employees therein have become precarious. Anyone who thinks that tariff wars are easy to win is on the wrong planet.

The holistic economic consequences of the USA trade war rattling in all its actions and attitudes will set us back significantly. Sure, we have to revise our strategic and contingency plans but also we have to start strongly lobbying our political leaders not to stick their heads in the sand or dance with the devil any longer. As an industry and country we must develop and expand improved economic partners that we can depend on today and for the future. Our customer and staff depend on our leadership to be proactive to benefit all peoples and the planet.

Pat Palmer | Sunday, March 04, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink


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