Kaizen In Banking

by Joseph Walent 0

Making a commitment to continuous improvement was certainly something the U.S. Automobile industry had to latch onto to avoid losing additional market share to Japanese and European manufacturers that were realizing the benefit of ongoing incremental change. The article provides insights of how the idea has taken root with U.S. financial institutions. These early-mover FIs are improving their responsiveness to consumer needs and altering the branch facility to do so.

The branch transformation journey began for Bank Midwest in 2000, the year that the $800 million-asset Minnesota bank’s management team visited Umpqua Bank in Portland, Ore., according to Bryan Wilken, CIO, and a fellow panelist. The West Coast bank pioneered the concept of the “destination branch,”—adopting a very open, modern look and introducing coffee bars (featuring its own brand), yoga classes, and other innovations.

Impressed, Bank Midwest’s management subsequently opened a new location as a beta site for a very different look and feel incorporating some of what it had seen. This process has been repeated several times since, said Wilken, with the latest new-look branch opening this fall.

Mercator Advisory Group recognizes the tightrope FIs that deal primarily with consumers and small business must walk. They need to effectively retain the foundational trust and reliability that banks represent and provide for their customers, but also incorporate and leverage the proven technologies to simplify their clients’ lives. This balance of retaining the values of the old, while presenting the flexibility and accessibility is being taken on by FIs throughout the value stack. Transforming the branch office a place people want to go is a sound strategy, especially when it is fast becoming more of a place people less often have to go.

Overview by Joseph Walent, Associate Director, Customer Interactions Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

Read the full story here