The enemy within

February 16, 2014
Bryan Clagett

We’re creatures of habit, comfortable in our ways and likely starting our morning as we started the day before. It’s easy to follow a routine and somewhat painless as we ease through another day like countless others. We go through the same motions of answering emails, attending meetings and putting out fires, day in and day out. A rut perhaps? No, not really. We’re just human and typically conform to our environment and surrounds. We’re going through the motions, but perhaps we’re not taking enough actions.

In A Sea of Change

In a world that’s more like a sea of change, routine and habit are the enemy. Technology is moving quickly and people, your members, use it to make their lives easier, reducing friction in their ever demanding lives. They can move money between financial institutions faster than ever before, without ever stepping inside a branch. They can apply for a loan, without ever calling a bank or credit union. And they can manage their daily financial lives all from a device they can hold in the palm of their hand. You know this, yet there you sit, going through the motions of your typical day. Your actions just are not keeping pace with new technology and the changing expectations of those you serve.

Under Siege

You’re under siege and your very existence as a retail banker is in jeopardy. The pace of technological advancement is advancing at unparalleled speed and “business as normal” has no place in the modern era of retail banking. Digitally enabled consumers, your members, are leading the charge, and like it or not, they’re about to go for your jugular. They want the pain associated with the chore of banking removed, obstacles obliterated and new levels of empowerment. They see life beyond your brick and mortar presence. Yes, the battle has just begun.

And You’re To Blame

You’re pointing fingers at banks and legislators. Some of you realize that a threat comes from new competitors such as Square and Simple. That’s because they’re making banking suck less, by removing friction and empowering consumers. They’re turning banking inside out, by building a digital architecture in tune with consumer needs. Utilizing data, your new competitor is offering relevant solutions in turn with needs. In the meantime, you’re still mailing a printed newsletter and hanging share draft posters in your branches. The competition is closing in, and you’re to blame.

The Enemy Is Really You

You Stop going through the motions without taking actions. You have the ability to fight back, to create a retail experience that consumers need and want. You have the staff and presence that the new competitors don’t have. Many of you are going through the motions and recognize the threat and opportunity. But motion alone will never produce the results you need. Action will. When in motion, you’re planning, talking, strategizing and perhaps learning. But this alone won’t produce results. Are you really doing something or just preparing to do it? Are you in motion? Or are you taking action? The future of retail banking and perhaps the credit union industry, relies less simple community, camaraderie and philosophy. If you and your credit union are not genuinely taking action, then you are the enemy within.

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