I’ve seen the financial crisis make it tempting for banks to focus internally in order to reduce costs, deal with post-merger integration and other matters related to the financial crisis. To be fair, an internal focus is not really that new, though – for example, the term “banker’s hours” has long been used to jokingly (or not so jokingly) describe the mentality of banks. In addition, we’ve had a number of client interactions with C-level banking executives and others that have shown that many banks are so focused on operations and products that they do not understand who their customers are or what their customers really want. While many other industries have become more buyer-centric (for example, travel, e-commerce), banking has not.
An internal focus is one of “six killers” identified by Gartner (that is, six things that can kill a bank). A more externally-focused, buyer-centric approach is needed in banking in order to survive and thrive. This will be especially important in lending as the market recovers, where the complexity of products and processes is high and neither transparent nor customer friendly.