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Banking Relationships in today's world

The recent report by the ICB on banking in the UK underlined a major factor missing in today's world - the need to increase competition across the various services that our banks offer.  It reminded me of the countless situations I have encountered where the customers' search for value has resulted in a new choice of bank, despite having a relationship spanning over a number of years. Of course, a company choosing to change banks is not an easy one and something they would not actively pursue without very good reason.

Insufficient customer service for banking services is not the most unheard thing in the financial industry.  In some situations in the private sector one minor issue can initiate the loss of a major client in a heartbeat.  

I recall one client who changed banks due to the fact that they they approached their bank to discuss the concept of Direct Debits. They saw Direct Debits as a option to spread the cost of their product over the year, giving them a great way of selling their product. The reaction from the bank rep was to send them the Service User Guide and AUDDIS application forms by email. Safe to say, this cooled their enthusiasm and the idea was shelved after they read the indemnity clause (they assumed that a lot of customer must claim this).  There was no consultative approach to discuss how Direct Debits could benefit their business. I spoke to them two years later and did exactly that, meaning they could start to use this facility appropriately.

I'm certain that banks with have to adopt the appropriate stance to align themsleves with their clients, instead of the client needing to make the effort. Centralisation of treasury management across Europe should be massive attraction for our banks to engage their customers in this way.


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