Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Recipe for the Bank of Next Month

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Recipe for the Bank of Next Month

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The portrait of community banks is often painted with warm and comforting colors. The image is not wrong, but what it sometimes misses is that 1. Community banking is highly competitive, and 2. These banks are just as subject to social and technological changes as any organization. The banker-led committee that planned ABA's 2012 National Conference for Community Bankers may have had those points in mind in lining up the meeting's two keynote speakers. Amid sessions dealing with regulatory burden, these two presentations focused on competitive factors that could have as much impact--if not more--as the Dodd-Frank Act.

"The Holy Grail [in business] today is to make a cultural connection," said Jeremy Gutsche, consultant, author, former banker (Capitol One), and head of TrendHunter.com, in his presentation.

He used the example of Smith-Corona to make the point that too much focus on what you do can lead to your downfall. The once flourishing typewriter company kept telling itself, "There's still a market for our products." Consequently, it kept improving the typewriters it made, striving to be the best typewriter company in the world--seemingly a worthy pursuit. Yet, said Gutsche, the company was not thinking of its customers' experience and of how technological trends intersected with that. Legions of secretaries pounding away on typewriters--even high-quality electric typewriters--were being replaced by the word processing software of personal computers.

"What are you trying to do?" Gutsche urged bankers to ask themselves. Are you trying to be a better bank or to make money by helping your customers? …

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