Do Your Planning Efforts Lack Focus? Ask These Ten Questions to Stay on Track.

Does Your Planning Process Cover all the Bases?

Banking is a commoditized business, which makes it even more important that, when it comes to planning, you don’t simply follow a commoditized process. In the past 20 years, 38% of U.S. banks have disappeared from the horizon (Source: FDIC), and this decline isn’t expected to end any time soon. You know the issues all too well: The cost of increased regulation, the need to compete against large banks and fintech companies, and the need to increase revenue so that you are able to reinvest in technology and customer experience.

So why rely on an old rinse and repeat process for strategic planning this year?

As you work to fend off challenges and secure a future for your institution, a proper planning effort can truly make the difference—giving your team a clear direction and your institution a much higher likelihood of success.

Here are 10 must-ask questions from the Galapagos team, to help you get ready for 2019 and beyond:

10 Must-Ask Questions

  1. Do you have adequate data to understand and prioritize the relative opportunity in the markets you serve? Data analysis reveals insight. Insight guides strategy. Don’t rely on anecdotal evidence or “gut feel.” Make sure you have the information that lets you identify the specific opportunities and prepare to fulfill the need.

  2.  How committed are your customers to your bank? How deep are their relationships? How well are you retaining them? How do they feel about the experience they receive and the value you as a bank deliver?

  3. Do you have the data to understand penetration levels for your digital channels? These channels are key to earning consideration from new customers and keeping customers longer.

  4. Do you have a clear road map for your branch and channel distribution and optimization? Many banks are spending the time “feeding the beast” of their existing branch network when the most important step they should take is to align it to growth opportunity and reconfigure channel resources to meet the needs of key customer segments.

  5. How engaged are your employees? Do they understand and believe in your mission? Are they empowered to execute on it? And are they compensated adequately for delivering on it? Don’t underestimate the power of an inspired and engaged team. (And don’t underestimate the true cost of having a team that feels unappreciated.)

  6. What is the level of your brand awareness and how does it compare to market share? If it’s not higher than market share, you have a real problem.

  7. What type of customers do you want and are you applying the proper emphasis to get them? Do you even know which ones are most valuable?

  8. Do you have an HR plan in place to ensure that you are hiring the right people for the future? The community banking model relies on strong relationships. Are you now looking for consultative branch managers, for example, rather than “transactors”?

  9. Are you being realistic about what your team can achieve in the next year? Do you have the right people and the proper preparation in place to ensure a successful process? Or, do you need to look for outside resources or new ways to tackle the more substantial items to give the team the time to run the day-to-day?

  10. How will success be measured next year? And, even more importantly, are those the right measurements and can you easily track and report them?

What’s keeping you up at night? If you are looking to address a difficult issue, bounce ideas off of an objective resource, or discuss our approach to planning, call Jeremy Kane at 616.608.7359 or email him: