A common complaint we hear is about ‘my business bank’, so with that in mind we asked Andrew Dennis of Hermes Business Consultants to provide a little insight;
Banks have come in for much criticism in recent years. From mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), to refusing to lend to small businesses, to the paying of huge bonuses. The list goes on.
The complaint I hear more often than any other when speaking to small business customers, however, is far more basic. Quite simply, it’s the lack of quality service they receive from their bank.
Think about it. When was the last time you saw your Relationship Manager? How often do they come to visit you? When did your Manager telephone you just to see how things are? How many Managers have you had in the last 2 or 3 years? Do you even know who your Relationship Manager is?
Why is this? Why is service so often overlooked?
Business Bank Service
Quite simply, service on its own doesn’t pay. In an ever more competitive market, banks want instant sales, instant success, and instant profit.
Spending time with a customer and getting to know their business is too long winded. Gone are the days when a Relationship Manager could build up trust over a period. Instead everything has to be achieved immediately.
To use a football analogy, it’s akin to a team firing their manager the moment the team fails to achieve immediate success. The manager isn’t given that most precious of commodities: time.
The typical Commercial Relationship Manager will therefore focus on the two ends of the spectrum: those customers who cause the most problems, and those customers who make them the most money.
It isn’t necessarily how they want to work. Most Relationship Managers would rather spend far longer with all their customers. However, they are judged by instant results and if they fail to achieve their targets, they are out.
In this modern world of slimmed down banking, Commercial Bank Managers are looking after far more customers than ever before. A Manager typically in charge of 250 customers in the past is now looking after at least double that, if not more. Often they are working extremely long hours however even this is not enough.
Something has to give, and inevitably it’s that one item that customers value above all else: service.
Vince Cable Says
To support the above there was a quote from Vince Cable which was in response to a letter from Antonio Horta-Osorio;
“…they are nevertheless pulling back from small-scale lending which is worrying. If they aren’t going to do it, who is? From a commercial point of view it is easy to see his point of view but in terms of the future of lending it’s a great step back.”
The backdrop was about the reduction in Commercial Bank Manager roles at Lloyds. Sort of sums things up really…
The Bank Alternative
This is where you get lucky. You can access independent services from the likes of Hermes, and commercial finance through ourselves. So that really is the alternative sorted.
If you have any questions about this article then please contact us here, add your comments above or give us a call on 01293 541333.
By David Farmer