Magazine article Global Finance

Investment Is the Key

Magazine article Global Finance

Investment Is the Key

Article excerpt

What makes for a successful bank? Well, there's an army of consultants wrestling with that question, not to mention the countless managers for whom the problem is part of their daily working life.

But if it's any help, a couple of clear conclusions emerged from the extensive research conducted for the "Best Banks in Emerging Markets"-the ninth year in which Global Finance has carried out this exercise. If there is one common factor that emerges across the categories, it is investment. Winner after winner turned out to be a consistent spender on systems and staff.

Where systems were concerned, it wasn't necessarily cutting-edge technology that was involved. In some cases, reliability and robustness of operation were all-- important. For staff, it wasn't always state-of-the-art management theory that was required. Rather, the institutions that won awards had typically managed better than their rivals in conveying to their staff a consistent and comprehensible view of what the bank was about.The lesson: If your workers can't buy your mission statement, then you don't stand a chance convincing would-be customers.

One other clear message emerged. For maybe two decades, leading banks have typically emphasized corporations, the bigger the better, as their ideal clients. Banks could sell more sophisticated, higher-margin products to these customers. Or so the theory went.

The senior managers at international companies that form Global Finance's core readership certainly aren't about to find banks stop knocking at their doors. …

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