Insights from 27 Years in Banking

Insights from 27 Years in Banking

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Savvy Insights Blog, a blog by PIM Savvy, Inc. As a former banker of 27 years, and recently turned entrepreneur, you can expect to find an interesting combination of relevant business (biz) topics here.

For those of you not in the banking industry, and to those making a career of it, here are three insights from my 27 Years in the Banking Industry:

1. Managing Transactions to Managing Data
A lot has changed in the banking industry since I first became a Sales Associate (Teller/Banker) at TCF Bank in May of 1990. It was not uncommon to run 300+ transactions and open five or more new accounts during a busy part-time shift back then. Information we received was in the form of memos interofficed to the branches each day, or a once-a-month Managers meeting. Even as a part-timer, it was not difficult to keep up with promotions, procedure changes and company announcements. Even on the busiest of days, between customers, you could read and signoff on memos or talk to your coworkers to learn what’s new. It is quite different now with the digital age. Even with far fewer customers visiting branches each day, it is insurmountable for branch employees to keep up. Procedure manual changes, new promotions, product changes, new products, new rates, online training, demos, online training, and the list goes on. There are many competing priorities and messages sent out to the branches.

Tip: Determine the most important messages and prioritize them across the organization. Figure out better ways to consolidate the information flowing to employees, and make it easy to find and refer to.

2. Teamwork is Still Key
People’s lives seem busier than I remember back in the 90’s when branch employees seemed like family. I recall many fun outings with my fellow branch employees to attend comedy clubs, pasta dinners, walk-a-thons, or bowling. Are lives busier now? Perhaps people are distracted because of phones and other technology not available back then? During the last fifteen years while in corporate office positions, my fellow bankers seemed to be running here and there with little time to connect with coworkers. A quick chat between meetings in the hallway may be all we could manage most days. It’s unfortunate because it makes it challenging to connect and build camaraderie that makes teams prosper. I witnessed time and again, the branches with the strong teamwork excelled at achieving or exceeding team goals, and moreover had more fun!

Tip: Teambuilding training is something that should not be underestimated. The more people like working with each other, the more successful they will be. In today’s world, people are more connected virtually than they are in real life. Team leaders and managers should be accountable to strengthen team building. If possible, ask a coworker to lunch a 1-2x a month. Invest in teambuilding workshops. Teams will flourish!

3. Training is a Place to Invest
When I was hired in 1990, most of my training was taught on the job by my peers and managers. The annual required trainings were usually held after hours at an all-employee branch meeting. We manually signed the training roster and vouched we understood the topics covered. We have an advantage today because E-learning, if done right, is a great tool for some training topics, especially for new employees. Online training works well for teaching routine compliance training, safety training, product training, or even a welcome message to new employees. New employees need to have tools at their fingertips to be successful in answering questions and accurately presenting products and services.

Tip: Training employees properly is vital to the success of both employees and organizations. This area should not be skimped on. The nature of today’s fast-paced business environment requires time and investment in creating and assigning E-courses to keep employees informed and engaged. If done right, this will lead to happier customers for businesses and higher job satisfaction for employees!

After 27 years in the banking industry, my burning desire to become an entrepreneur came true with the launch of PIM Savvy, Inc. I look back at my banking years fondly and take with me the lessons I learned, like the ones shared here. The teamwork, the relationships, the training, the lessons and the opportunities will be treasured. Valuable skills learned will shape me on this new journey.

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