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An Elite Banking Performance Threshold

October 6, 2010

America's Best Banks

A Closer Look at a Nationally Recognized Bank’s Performance Practices

Being part of a holding company that was recently named #8 on Forbes Magazine’s largest 100 top performing banks in the United States, is evidence that Empire Bank (EB) has a strong focus towards achieving an elite performance threshold.  One of the crucial components of a top performing bank is employing staffing best practices at the branch level – which EB has excelled in.  They specifically carry out monthly evaluations of teller transaction trends at their institution, branch and front-line staff levels.  A solution that assists EB to monitor, forecast and schedule to these trends is the Financial Management Solution, Inc. (FMSI) Teller Management SystemTM (TMS).  Through companywide employee involvement and peer coaches, EB has realized consistent and sizeable decreases in their overall labor costs.

Long-Term Performance Success through a Group Effort

EB’s ultimate goal was to utilize TMS business intelligence to help identify teller line inefficiencies.  One of the most important initial aspects of the initiative was to not let the scope be short-term.  For example, analyzing a few reports and then adjusting the schedules as a “one-off” project was not going to get the full potential out of the program.  The reality is that to be the most successful, they required a dedicated ongoing process that required the commitment from the entire EB staff – from senior management to the tellers.

A critical step was to somehow motivate the entire team to get engaged with the program.  To help achieve this, EB executives decided to disseminate the TMS monthly metrics across the company to senior management, mid level managers and tellers.  This group approach established accountability and created synergies amongst the employees.  Shelly Titus, Executive Vice President of Retail Banking at Empire Bank, described these results by stating, “The group approach with FMSI’s Teller Management SystemTM solution has been very effective for us.  Having each member in our organization take an active role in monitoring and improving the teller line efficiencies has led to a more productive branch environment.”

Peer Coaches Cultivate Productivity Improvements

EB achieved quick companywide adoption of the program through early TMS adopters promoting the program to their peers, such as enthusiastic branch managers and teller supervisors.  These individuals who excelled in utilizing and understanding the TMS reports were extremely helpful in spreading their passion to the other 17 branch locations in the Empire Bank network.  Having the message coming from peers was extremely powerful.

Early on in the implementation of TMS, EB recognized how effective peer coaches were towards integrating the TMS program into their culture, so they encouraged the early adopters to share their experiences with their peers as much and as often as possible.  Shelly explained this scenario by saying, “The peer coaches were the key to achieving total adoption of the program across the company.  It created accountability and people were very responsive to their peer’s excitement.  The more people were on-board with the program, the more the group could collectively share “best practices” on how to best manage teller line productivity.”

Best Practices by Executive Vice President of Retail Banking at Empire Bank

  • Spend the appropriate amount of time and resources getting the “buy-in” for the TMS program from all levels of the organization.
  • Have all levels of retail management regularly visiting with branch staff in their branches to view how the process works, solicit feedback, and allocate some time to discuss the location’s TMS metrics.
  • Understand each position’s role in the TMS process – from senior management to the tellers.

It is not without reason that banks, such as Empire Bank’s holding company are selected in the top 10 of the Forbes Magazine – Top Performing Banks listEmpire Bank has exhibited best-in-class practices by utilizing actionable business intelligence programs such as the FMSI Teller Management SystemTM.  With a dedicated group approach that monitors and improves their teller line efficiencies across the institution, Empire Bank has consistently achieved an elite banking performance threshold.

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