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Many banks boast about their relationship managers as key to their business banking, but Jack Hubbard thinks the most effective bankers today have learned to become resource managers.
What exactly are resource managers?
Resource managers are bankers that move beyond the role of relationship manager in order to provide value to the bank’s business clients in the form of information, putting buyers and sellers together and whatever assistance they can in order to help the business succeed, according to Hubbard, Chief Experience Officer of St. Meyer & Hubbard. Hubbard’s firm trains, coaches and consults with banks and credit unions on developing what he calls total Performance Cultures.
For example, a resource manager might help a business owner learn about a new trend affecting the industry by sending a copy of a relevant news article. Or they might introduce the bank client to someone who can help them earn new business. In general, the resource manager finds ways to make the bank’s business clients’ lives easier – even if doing so doesn’t seem to directly generate banking revenue immediately.
Hubbard believes this new approach is critical because, unlike decades ago, customers don’t have to rely on relationships with their local bankers to meet their financial needs, because there are so many options to find information or to access financial resources.
“It’s only those bankers who proactively provide value to clients and prospective clients who will ultimately win loyalty and banking business,” says Hubbard, who will share suggestions for bankers to become resources for clients during the upcoming Sageworks 2018 Lending & Risk Summit in Chicago Sept. 24-26.
“A resource manager provides value every day, every month, continually so that when a client is called on, they say, ‘You can pitch me, but I get everything I need before I need it from my current banker,’” Hubbard says.
In the information-filled, uber-competitive environment in which bankers operate these days, bankers can no longer afford to be tied to their desks, waiting for customers to call seeking financial advice or saying they’d like to borrow money. “The customer has changed, and the customer is more demanding, and unfortunately, bankers many times aren’t meeting the demand,” he says.
This is largely because of the way most banks are structured, with relationship managers assigned a portfolio of clients that they must help if they have a problem or need an advance of their credit. “Many times bankers feel they can’t leave the bank, because if the client calls with a problem and they’re not there the client will say, ‘They’re not there, I’ll move on to the next banker.’ It’s a real conundrum,” Hubbard says.
Hubbard will outline some staffing shifts that can help banks make the most of their personnel so that bankers can become resource managers and generate more business. For example, sales assistants can help bankers with call planning and business intelligence as well as helping with the CRM system to keep track of opportunities. He will also discuss some of the tools available to help bankers be better resources for clients. For example, projection software allows bankers to show business owners what-if scenarios to help them see how changes in one area of finances might affect the ability to access capital or generate more profit.
“Because community bankers are such generalists, business intelligence tools are very, very important,” Hubbard says. “If I’m a banker, this morning I might be calling on a trucking company, and this afternoon I might be calling on an architect, and I might have dinner with a dentist. If I don’t understand some of the issues in those industries, the questions I ask and the dialogue will have to focus more on my products and not the people.” Tools that provide industry knowledge can help bankers have more meaningful conversations that get to the heart of the customer’s needs.
Bankers might assume that this approach of becoming a resource manager rather than a relationship manager will require devoting a lot of time, but that’s not the case, Hubbard says. “It doesn’t take a lot of time but it does take discipline,” he says. “A good resource manager carves out time every single day — a half hour, maybe 15 minutes — to do something on behalf of a client, whether it’s sending an article, connecting with someone else on LinkedIn or providing a lunch and learn session. A resource manager is a proactive banker. A relationship manager while good and important tends to be more reactive than proactive.”
To learn more from Hubbard about becoming a resource manager, attend the Lending & Risk Summit.
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