Holy Vible

“Church Discipline: Its Effect Upon Fellowship of Saints”

As we “edify in love” (Eph. 4:16), or “teach and admonish” in singing, or study, pray, and sacrifice together; we are assisting one another to be faithful to the Lord. We have need of one another (1 Cor. 12:14-f), and the more we recognize and supply that need, the closer will be our fellowship, the more effective our day by day “discipline by example.” Our spiritual brothers must become our peers, whose approval or disapproval mean the most to us. This is the sort of communion that gives meaning to the various scriptures on corrective discipline, and without which they lose their effectiveness. Disfellowship HAS meaning only to the extent that fellowship HAD meaning to us. Would you rather your social companions go to hell

4 Principles for Successfully Selling Insurance in the Branch

Will new regulation lead to the demise of “totally free checking?”  Most executives think so. As banks focus on re-pricing their portfolio of checking products, many will miss the opportunity to generate non-traditional fee income.  In particular, bancassurance provides a unique opportunity to capitalize on customer risk adversity while increasing fee-based product sales in the branch. Retail banks have struggled for years to sell insurance, failing to gain customer share of mind and equip staff to recognize opportunities.  In partnership with the Insurance Advisory Board, the Council has identified four common principles for successfully selling insurance in the branch: Get the timing right:  The window of time in which customers are open to purchasing insurance is brief, so link insurance cross-sales to a primary asset

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PEER VIEWS
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4 Principles for Successfully Selling Insurance in the Branch

Will new regulation lead to the demise of “totally free checking?”  Most executives think so. As banks focus on re-pricing their portfolio of checking products, many will miss the opportunity to generate non-traditional fee income.  In particular, bancassurance provides a unique opportunity to capitalize on customer risk adversity while increasing fee-based product sales in the branch. Retail banks have struggled for years to sell insurance, failing to gain customer share of mind and equip staff to recognize opportunities.  In partnership with the Insurance Advisory Board, the Council has identified four common principles for successfully selling insurance in the branch: Get the timing right:  The window of time in which customers are open to purchasing insurance is brief, so link insurance cross-sales to a primary asset purchase or life event. Ensure it’s easy:  Insurance products are complex and the sales process often places a significant burden on unsure customers, so narrow product sets and limit coverage ranges to ensure the underwriting process, benefits, and terms are straightforward. Use Information:  Cross-business silos prevent banks and insurers from sharing information to uncover cross-sales opportunities. Banks have a unique asset:  checking, savings and loan accounts help them uncover customer life events or major asset purchases.  Mine this data (e.g. customer demographics, change in transactions, or complementary purchases) and share it with the insurance side of the business. Make only relevant

Finance Updates
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5 Key Takeaways from Retail Bankers

Across the first half of 2010, retail bankers in North America made the following five observations regarding trends in the industry: Observation #1:  Customers significantly undervalue the transactional services that banks provide.  A decade of “totally free checking” has taught customers that transactional services are worth $0.  As free checking disappears, executives must train customers to see access to the payments system as a privilege rather than a right.  Most banks are starting to make the transition by ensuring fee waivers for high balances, direct deposit, or bill pay is transparent so customers know why and how they earned their “free” checking account. Observation #2:  Innovation has been significantly under resourced in most firms.  Retail bank executives believe that innovation will be the key to generating fee income.  However, most executives are facing severe capital constraints that hinder their ability to invest in product, channel, and service innovation.  For new ideas, visit the Council’s library of checking products and resources on innovation. Observation #3:  To restore growth, the industry must address trust and credibility shortcomings.  Media and political criticism have lowered bank credibility.  Many executives are rebuilding trust with customers by focusing their brand and marketing efforts on transparency, financial responsibility, and financial goal achievement.  Examples include branch savings and spending seminars, home ownership workshops, one-on-one financial reviews, and online financial help resources. Observation #4:  Low levels of financial

FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS
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Embedding Advice into Sales

The Council recently surveyed over 20,000 frontline bankers from across 7,000 branches.  Initial analysis shows that banks that have a sales process that is easy to remember and follow best equip staff to sell and are therefore have the most productive bankers (measured by deposit and loan balance growth and “widgets” sold).  As executives seek to provide advice at the frontline, there is a seeming paradox between the inherent complexities of advisory interactions and the frontline’s need for simplicity. A comparison of banks where branch bankers feel well-equipped vs. banks where they do not. Few institutions have managed to solve this paradox.  Most simply focus their staff on needs-based sales or employ expensive advisors who have licenses to sell investments. Benson Bank (pseudonym) proves that mass market advice is possible by creating a process that helps customer compare their financials to peers and recommends solutions that help customers feel encouraged when they leave the branch.  Customers that go through this process are much more likely to consolidate their banking relationship with Benson and typically have three times the level of savings and investment balances than customers that do not. CFC members can download the full case study, “Mass Customized

FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS
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How to Teach Customers A Better Way to Bank

For years, banks have tried to migrate customers to low cost, electronic channels to reduce costs.  Strategies range from “save the environment, go electronic” to cash incentives for paying bills online.  Because most banks focus on migrating entire customer relationships online, they miss the opportunity to increase the profitability of specific transactional behaviors.  For example, teaching customers to withdraw money at the point of sale rather than at an ATM to eliminate the fees customers’ pay, but reduce bank costs as well. Wen Bank (pseudonym) is one of the few institutions we have seen that consistently teaches customers how and why they should use specific channels for their transactions.  The bank identifies transactions where customers benefit from lower fees and the bank benefits from lower costs.  Branch bankers at Wen then teach customers about these opportunities to reduce their fees at the start of the sales process – staff use these teaching moments to “earn the right to sell,” especially when transitioning from a service to a sale.  However, in order to do this, banks must:   Focus innovation on customer needs (e.g. leverage feedback from frontline staff to understand what customers like). Simplify what customers are taught (e.g. develop a list of pre-determined banking tips that bankers can have at hand). Ensure the value for customers’ is transparent and reinforced in every interaction (e.g. communicate banking tips through

EMERGING ISSUES
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A Whole World In Their Hands

In these days of post-recession malaise, there are two things at the center of every consumer’s life: Money and cell phones. It’s only a matter of time before these two merge, and we’ll all be paying for our groceries with a wave of our cell phone. Or will we? We know that consumers are eager to have some way to make person-to-person payments that doesn’t involve paper checks (still the single largest form of non-cash P2P payment), but the banking industry in its collective foot-dragging hasn’t yet built a global standard for mobile payments — though there are plenty of PayPal wannabes trying to get a piece of the mobile action. Now it looks as if the financial services industry is finally coming on board with technological innovations like mobile banking and payments that promise to take consumers’ love affair with the mobile phone — especially smart phones like the iPhone and Droid — to new heights. Marketers need to understand that consumer rage toward “too big to fail” banks and Wall Street may make them skeptical to marketing messages, but in no way mitigates consumer interest in technology that makes spending, saving, investing, and budgeting safer and more convenient than cash or plastic. Transitional technologies are already here. Some banks and credit unions are already accepting virtual deposits of paper checks — allowing customers

Republicans
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Post-Election 2010: How is Financial Regulatory Reform Affected?

Earlier this month, Republicans successfully leveraged their “Pledge to America” campaign strategy to take back a majority in the House of Representatives and secure a stronger minority in the Senate. Taking control of the House and strengthening their position in the Senate will increase Republicans’ influence over the direction of future financial regulatory reform and more specifically, the direction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Republicans say that they will use the House Financial Services Committee to ensure that regulators such as the CFPB and FDIC do not introduce overly restrictive rules to the banking industry. Representative Jeb Hensarling, (R-Texas) who serves on the committee, commented, “We don’t want them to regulate capriciously, arbitrarily, without engaging in a cost-benefit analysis.” Many Republicans view their victory as a mandate to overturn much of the Dodd-Frank Act which they see as “overreaching.” Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) claimed, “One of our bigger fears is that when the regulations and implementations are started, that they’ll be even more far-reaching than the legislation. And if that’s the case, then I think you are going to see us try to take some action to make some corrections there.”

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