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The Secret to Small Business and Business Banking Success

The Secret to Small Business and Business Banking Success

It has taken me a decade or two longer than it should have to figure it out. During that time FIC’s projects in the small business and business banking spaces have focused on segmentation, organization, product management, pricing, cost reduction, and myriad other critical areas. These are all valid and important areas for banks to consider. But, while I noticed and occasionally commented about it, I failed to emphasize the most important success factor.

I even remember being asked by a newly appointed business banking head (now long gone from that position) if I had any secret sauce to offer. In fact the secret sauce was literally staring me in the face, but I missed it. The sauce differs somewhat for small business versus business banking.

Consistency in leadership, to be sure that means quality leadership, is the secret sauce. Without that, all the “gee whiz” CRM, data analytics, and digital initiatives do not mean squat. The secret sauce consists of a dedicated, committed leader (and his team) with clear lines of authority. This leader shows (I hate the overused upcoming word) passion about what he or she does. To this business leader his or her role is not the way station to another position in the bank that features larger loan dollars. As fundamental as a long-term role is, its existence is the rare exception rather than the rule. As a colleague commented, “Small business and business banking are seldom destination jobs,” although they need to be.

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