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Seven Ways to Be a Great Banker in the Future

Mar 01, 2017

The pace of change in the financial services industry is accelerating faster than many bankers can imagine.  The millennial generation will soon dominate our customer demographics and our workforce.  The upcoming and eminent evolution of financial products, services, and payment methods will likely create a new prototype of a “great banker.”  

As the industry anticipates the changes on the horizon, today is a good time to reexamine your approach and your business acumen.  Here are seven ways to be a great banker in the new era of financial services.

1. Set Goals That Stretch Your Team.  Teams travel at the speed and direction of their leaders, and the best leaders have a knack of creating an “inner rustling” that keeps their teams continually engaged and alert.  If you can reach your goals with a "business as usual" approach, then your goals are probably too small.  In a rapidly changing business environment, settling for what conditions are forced upon you is a dangerous approach.  On the other hand, great bankers of the future will set goals that force changes and bold action.  They will know that this type of thinking is contagious to the team and that this mindset will create its own conditions for success by blazing new trails.

2. Be Time Wise.  Speed and nimbleness are characteristics that the next generation values and demands.  It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks (getting buried in minor details, emails, etc.).  Tomorrow’s great bankers will find ways to rise above these time-absorbing tasks to stay focused on the highest impact activities that will help them achieve their goals.  To be sure, you must invest your time wisely.  Once a day is gone, you cannot get it back.
3. Visualize the Future.  Seeing the future needs of customers and employees (before the future arrives) will allow the best bankers to be better prepared.  Using your vision to encourage creative solutions to customer needs and business challenges will allow for the type of innovative thinking that can lead to a profitable, customer-centric business model.  Cutting-edge bankers will build their front room (the sales force) as the primary focus of the organization, while their back room will provide the operational efficiencies, credit discipline, and compliance expertise for their organizations to run smoothly.  In addition, the best bankers will have a tech-savvy mindset, and those who find ways to be “entrepreneurs of data” will find competitive advantages that will leave the old school bankers behind.  

4. Be Out and About.  Most people consider the best and most well-respected financial institutions to be those that are “out and about” in their communities and that have a reputation of being hungry to put deals together.  To that end, the best bankers of the future will know that playing offense through aggressive sales activity is merely an effort to provide proactive customer service.  Since most customers and prospects no longer need to come into branches, the best bankers will focus their activity on making in-person calls to identify how best to provide appropriate products and services.  

5. Hire Happy People and Coach Them to Success.  Surrounding yourself with energetic and happy people almost always provides an immediate boost to your growth efforts and your team’s overall morale and spirit.  The best athletes, the best producers, and the best bankers will all thrive on being coached to success.  

6. Have a Results-Oriented Mindset.  The best bankers of tomorrow will be those who have a results-oriented mindset.  They will be the ones who make a lasting impression, earn the respect of others, and are rewarded for their accomplishments.  This type of person is exhibited in Walt Mason’s famous poem “The Man Who Delivers the Goods.” 

There’s a man in the world who is never turned down, wherever he chances to stray. 

He gets the glad hand in the populous town, or out where the farmers make hay.

He’s greeted with pleasure on deserts of sand, and deep in the aisle of the woods.

Wherever he goes, there’s the welcoming hand – He’s the Man Who Delivers the Goods.

7. Have Fun.  Our careers and our lives go by quickly.  Make the most of the journey, live with passion and a purpose…and have fun along the way.


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Wipfli Editorial Team