There’s no shortage of “best of” lists in America so we shouldn’t be shocked to discover that there is a Best Banks in America list.
The Best Banks list is compiled by Money Magazine which is owned by CNN Money. It recently announced its third annual list of the Best Banks in America.
In the case of Money Magazine, the banks making the list were the “best” at one particular thing – be it the best savings account, the best customer service, the best CD, or the best checking account. Fortunately for some banks, they made the list in more than one category.
This may shock you but as a long-time bank marketing person I’m not a fan of customer satisfaction surveys.
In fact, I feel the majority of them are downright worthless.
Yet company after company cranks them out year after year.
Most of them are way too long, ask too many confusing questions, and ultimately provide little, or no, actionable data.
Sometimes people say things that make you wonder which planet they’re from.
The other day I was rereading my favorite book about the recent housing bubble crash caused by toxic mortgages and the folks behind them.
It’s Michael Lewis’ 2010 classic, The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine. If you haven’t read it, you should consider doing so if you are at all curious about the truth behind the crisis that nearly brought down the U.S. economy and many other countries as well.
The Federal Reserve’s “war on savers” continues unabated with no end in sight. It’s painful to see the laughingly small amount of interest earned on checking and savings balances each time it’s posted to our accounts.
The unsaid message being delivered is “only fools save their money today when it should be spent to help grow the economy.”
Two recent articles that came my way last week suggests the nation’s biggest banks are busy trying to weaken, if not eliminate, competition from community banks and credit unions.
Here’s the first article which appeared in the Saturday, September 21 edition of The Sacramento Bee. It was written by E. Scott Reckard of the Los Angeles Times. Read more…
Smart marketers TEST…the others simply GUESS.
Testing, reading results, and making necessary changes cost time and money but is a mandatory marketing strategy if you wish to be successful over the long run.
Testing is the path you travel if you want to improve response, open more new accounts, lower costs, reduce complaints, and enhance your brand.
It would be interesting to poll a random sample of today’s young marketers working for banks and credit unions to see how many of them are familiar with FSIs.
I suspect that many of them are unfamiliar with this marketing channel as it’s been relegated to the bottom of the marketing toolbox if it hasn’t already been discarded.
Even during my four-plus decades of bank marketing experience I seldom used FSIs – yet they remain in use today.
Fewer and fewer banks and credit unions are using direct mail. They’ve abandoned it for social media channels, some newspaper, radio, and TV.
Management at these banks and credit unions see direct mail as old school marketing. Personally, I feel most of these folks never really understood the power and flexibility of direct mail and therefore avoided using it.
Of course, as with everything in life, there are always exceptions.
In their ongoing desire to target more affluent customers the nation’s thousands of community banks and credit unions appear to be fighting over a diminishing piece of the consumer pie.
In fact, it’s the tiny sliver of pie left them by the nation’s four mega-banks.
Today’s blog is a continuation of Joe’s topic on Monday and mine from Tuesday.
During the course of reviewing a large number of bank marketing pieces every month, I encounter countless errors that should not have occurred.
But one stands out above all others.
Is direct mail still relevant for banks and credit unions?
What proof do I have that it remains relevant?
Chase continues mailing its self-mailer promoting checking and savings accounts to millions of consumers across the country.
If direct mail wasn’t working for Chase, it would cease producing and sending these mailers.
With all the banks and credit unions located in our communities, why would anyone turn to Costco for help with a mortgage loan or refinancing?
In fact, until a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t aware that Costco offered mortgage services.
I’m not sure if it arrives monthly or quarterly but as Costco members, the Topper household periodically receives a fat self-mailer from Costco filled with discount coupons.
By now it’s obvious that the amount of outstanding student loan debt presents a major problem for the American economy.
Which means it’s a major problem for banks and credit unions.
And the amount owed continues to grow.
In fact, they matter a lot – a whole lot.
They matter because it is their job to grab the consumers’ attention and pull them into the rest of your marketing copy.
Your marketing piece must include an exceptional, differentiated offer but if it’s not part of your headline it may never be seen or read by members of your target audience.
Yes, unfortunately, there are plenty of amateurs working in the marketing departments of the nation’s banks and credit unions – particularly the smaller banks. And the larger banks aren’t immune to this predicament.
I should know…having spent the majority of my working career in bank marketing departments.
Every so often I encounter a news article voicing concern about the nation’s unbanked population.
According to recent data from the FDIC, about 8.2% of U.S. households, or 10 million, lack a bank account.
Of course, while 10 million seems like a large number, it got me to wondering whether this is really bad news. Is it something we, as a nation, should fret and worry about?
I was motivated to write this blog after reading a very interesting article, “Big Banks Surrender Mass Market Consumers To Other Institutions,” written by Rob Rubin, a managing partner with Novarica. It was posted to TheFinancialBrand website June 18, 2012.
According to Mr. Rubin, dropping free checking is the primary reason big banks are surrendering mass market consumers to other financial institutions. I’m sure he means community banks and credit unions.
Imagine you’re driving down a busy street in your town and your eyes suddenly shift away from the road to a huge billboard bearing the massive words “Virtual Wallet.” A split second before losing sight of the billboard you notice the name and logo of one of your town’s local banks or credit unions.
As you continue driving you can’t help but wonder what this bank means by Virtual Wallet? What is it? Do I even care?
As the last of the top 20 banks in America to drop free checking, PNC’s gift to community banks and credit unions shouldn’t be ignored or go unused.
You might call it the gift that keeps on giving.
In last Thursday’s blog I provided the salient details about PNC’s recent announcement that it was throwing free checking customers under the bus – just not immediately.
It was a front page, top-of-the fold story in the local newspaper.
Eyeing the two side-by-side graphs was shocking.
Yet, it was inevitable – the only question was when and how much.
I’m talking about mortgage loan rates.