12 Topics I'd Blog On If I Owned a Bank

Glenn Ross of the AllBusiness blog submitted a challenge to other bloggers: suggest 12 topics that you would blog on if you owned a business (insert business type).

I decided that someone should write about 12 topics that I would blog on if I owned a bank. Perhaps this will light a bit of fire under the butts of the financial industry, banks and lenders included. If not, it will give you some ideas of information that you should look for when you are reading a lender's blog.

While I'm going to use a bank as an example, I think this statement of 12 topics would be ideal for any lender, whether a mortgage company, credit union or other financial institution.

If I owned a bank, it would be about service to the community, and not just profits (although I'd make money for sure.) With that in mind, if I owned a bank, I'd blog about:

1. Interest rates. How interest rates are set and what influences them. How our interest rates are set and how market forces influence us. Mortgage interest rates and what affects them. An open discussion of our rates.

2. Fees and Commissions. I'd explain all fees and commissions and extra costs that are involved in a transaction with any lender, and how I minimize / eliminate those fees in my dealings with customers. How I save you money. How I only apply fees to those things that keep bad customers from affecting good customers.

3. Customer Appreciation. Why customers are important to me (over and above the fact that they are how I make my money.) How my company shows customer appreciation in real, tangible ways -- like interest "bonuses" if you leave your retirement savings money with us, or other customer appreciation (that isn't just a "marketing campaign").

4. Safety and Security. Why your money is safe and secure and making good interest with us. Deposit insurance. Our financial stability. Our AM Best rating and why you should care.

5. Service Charges. The logic of our service charges, and why they protect you from a lower interest rate on your savings. How we keep service charges down / away from good customers. How service charges are set. How we approach service charge rates -- covering costs only, not making money on them. I'd show my costs for bad transactions (like returned cheques) and how our service charges are set to cover those costs as closely as possible. I commit any "profit" on service charges to charitable funds.

6. New customers. Why we don't treat new customers better than our current customers. People come on board with us because they like what they see, and not because we give them a new toaster. Why new customers are good, but long-term customers are better. Why our relationship with our customers is built on being able to do the right thing in the right moment, and not on policies. How we know when to ignor a policy and when to enforce it.

7. Customer Service. Not just a couple of words tagged together. How our people are incented to go the extra mile with you. How our systems are designed with customer input at each step. How our processes are set up to work from cradle to grave -- that's from the customer at the beginning to the customer at the end.

8. Personal Integrity. If my company didn't make it right, I will speak with you personally and work towards a resolution of your problem. It won't be about lawyers (unless you decide to go that way); it will be about a person to person resolution. This is my bank; my word is gold.

9. Our employees. We treat our employees like our greatest asset because they are. A good employee will keep you, the customer, coming back. A bad employee will lose a good customer. Our employees will want to work for us, because we will be a best employer. Starbucks will have nothing on us. Every month we'll feature an employee who has made a mark on their community through excellent customer service.

10. Our best investment vehicles. How to invest with us to maximize your returns. The best approaches to investing to provide safety and security. If you are going to get into higher risk investments -- like our mutual funds -- how to balance a portfolio. Feature an in-house investment expert a week do a column on good investment advice.

11. How to negotiate a loan with us. What to do to get the best rate. The importance of credit risk scores. Why you can't get a loan with us under a certain score. Strategies to get the best rate, depending on the type of loan and what you are using the loan for. eg. if you are getting a loan to renovate, when to use a line of credit versus refinancing. When my people are instructed to say "uncle" in a negotiation.

12. How we give back to our communities. Talk about the bank charitable initiative's (where the bank pays, not the employees). Talk about initiatives of the bank employees too, where employees are collecting money among themselves and putting it to good causes. Talk about how the bank gives employees time off to participate in charitable events.

If you have any topics that you'd like a banker to blog about, let me know! If we can't find a lender to tackle these topics, I'll do it.

Michael Chantrel
Posted by Michael on June 15,2007 at 8:14 AM

Would LOVE to open my own bank... Got a few billion you can lend me? ;-)

Better yet, do you think GMAC Mortgage would be willing to try on some of these points, and show the market how it can be done?

Posted by GMAC Mortgage on June 14,2007 at 7:05 PM

Too much greed in the bank industry, but it would be interesting to see all of that information readily available. Are you up to the task? Going to open your own bank ? ;)

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