Blog article
See all stories »

An article relating to this blog post on Finextra:

JPMorgan take-over of WaMu sparks two-year systems integration project

JPMorgan Chase plans to complete systems integration and rebranding of Washington Mutual by year-end 2010, closing less than 10% of branches in the combined network in overlapping markets as it looks...

See article

Integration skills now key to future banking success

As we can see from this news on JP Morgan's takeover of WaMu, hardly a day has gone by over recent weeks without a new banking takeover being announced. The ability of the acquiring banks to merge, integrate and leverage their new purchases has now become strategic to their future success. Even if they have made their purchase at a heavily discounted price – Nomura reportedly paid the princely sum of $2 for Lehman’s European business - the challenges they face in making the deal an economic success are still varied and difficult. This is an area where we have experience and have recently done some research in response to market demand. So what are some of the challenges we have found?


Firstly, there is the task of bringing the two organisations together from a risk and regulatory reporting perspective from day one as required by the regulators. Since the main processes and systems will not be combined by this stage, this is often a heavily manual process. Next is typically the task of reconfirming the business model of which products, departments and locations to keep. In the case of the recent distressed takeovers, there will have been little time to do this prior to agreeing the transaction. Then there are the softer aspects of keeping the best staff and clients – often the first to want to, and be able to move – with the new organisation and putting a new management structure in place. There is also the potential for culture clashes, as several of the transactions are welding investment bankers onto a commercial banking firm, or indeed adding the staff from a US driven firm to an Asian headquartered bank. In addition to the soft aspects are then the myriad technical integrations and migrations, including systems, transaction data, clients, accounts and staff. As reported in this news item, this is likely to be at least a two year programme. It is often during the latter parts of this phase that focus and energy levels flag, and so the ultimate integration benefits are not fully realised.


Last but not least the firm must do all this and simultaneously continue to compete for business as usual in these confused times. The demands on management and project staff are high, and not all are as experienced as Jamie Dimon is reported here. Also these functions within banks are not typically geared up to take on these types of project, certainly not on this unprecedented scale. There is always the possibility of getting outside help, but with the large number of similar projects getting underway, good external help may be in short supply.


Comments: (0)

John Cant

John Cant

Managing Director

MPI Europe Ltd

Member since

06 Jul 2004



Blog posts




This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Operational Risk Management

To share information, ideas and experience relating to all aspects of op-risk management and compliance with Basel II

See all

Now hiring