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Has the Financial Crisis Caused Financial Institutions to Put Innovation on the Back Burner?

July 30, 2010

Banking in the "Great Recession"

The “Great Recession” has seriously impacted the economy over the past couple of years.  Many businesses have taken substantial hits to their revenue streams, including banks and credit unions.  When revenue declines management is faced with many difficult decisions.  Essentially, without as much money to go around there are many shifts in priorities.  Unfortunately, more often than not, many innovative projects are the first ones to be cut and or put on the back burner.  Whether these projects are to increase revenue or decrease costs, they are generlly the easiest to cut due to there unproven nature.  It is always the most depenedable to put your money in the “safe” bet.  For example, it is much easier to try and “do more with less” and operate on a much leaner staff.  While this approach may temporarily stop the leak in a boat, it is merely a short term fix.  Financial institutions that recognize this and take action to reinstate many of these innovative projects, that were on the back burner, will benefit the greatest as we all distance ourselves from the worst points in the “Great Recession.”  Where does your instituion fall in this subject?

The perfect innovative initiative to make a priority is a retail branch workforce optimization project.  With labor costs being an enormous expense, there are significant dollar amounts that can be saved through efficient processes.  For example, comparing different branches and teller productivity performances.  Ultimately, the absolute best comparison is other industry peers.  A great source for this comparison is the FMSI Comparative Data Report.  This monthly report, which is distributed to all FMSI Teller Management System clients, ranks close to 100 nationwide financial institutions in four different productivity metrics.

The time is now for senior management to put focus back on innovative projects.  What innovative projects are you currently working on?

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