Hosted by top 5 banking and fintech influencer, Jim Marous, Banking Transformed highlights the challenges facing the banking industry. Featuring some of the top minds in business, this podcast explores how financial institutions can prepare for the future of banking.
In today's digital world, understanding customers and delivering personalized experiences have become critical capabilities for banks to drive growth. However, many institutions still struggle to gain a complete view of each customer and orchestrate relevant engagements across channels.
Our discussion with James White explores how banks and credit unions can leverage customer intelligence, personalize journeys, and leverage human + digital touchpoints to transform relationships and performance.
This episode of Banking Transformed Solutions is sponsored by Total Expert
Total Expert is the leading fintech software company that delivers a purpose-built customer engagement platform for modern financial institutions. Total Expert unifies data, marketing, sales, and compliance solutions to provide a cohesive experience across the customer lifecycle. Total Expert turns customer insights into actions to increase loyalty and drive growth for banks, lenders, credit unions, and other financial services firms.
Hello and welcome to Banking Transformed, the top podcast in retail banking. I'm your host, Jim Marous, owner and CEO of the Digital Banking Report and co-publisher of The Financial brand. Today, we welcome James White, General Manager of Banking at Total Expert, to the Banking Transformed Podcast.
Jim Marous (00:26):
In today's digital world, understanding customers and delivering personalized experiences have become critical capabilities for banks to drive growth. However, many financial institutions still struggle to gain a complete view of each customer and orchestrate relevant engagements across all channels.
Jim Marous (00:44):
Our discussion with James White explores how banks and credit unions can leverage customer intelligence, personalized journeys, and leverage human plus digital touchpoints to transform relationships and build performance.
Jim Marous (01:00):
More than ever, financial institutions must transform all levels of engagement in banking by using customer intelligence and personalized messaging. By aggregating data to build 360-degree views of the customer, banks and credit unions can increase relevance, drive more revenue, build market share, and create lifelong loyalty.
Jim Marous (01:23):
These are the keys to banking, but sometimes they're not as easy as they seem. So, James, welcome to the show. Could you introduce yourself and give our listeners a quick look at your extensive background and describe Total Expert for those who may be unfamiliar with your firm?
James White (01:39):
Absolutely. So, hello, thanks for having me, my name is James White. I've spent my whole adult life helping banks and credit unions grow, whether that was through technology and implementing technology, both on the ancillary or core side to RAD and financial, which we helped through benchmarking, research, analytics, consumer behavior, and consulting help, community banks and credit unions grow. So, everything from check imaging to research and analytics for the C-Suite.
Jim Marous (02:12):
So, tell us a little bit about what Total Expert does.
James White (02:17):
So, Total Expert, we are a fintech and one of the things that we really are proud of is what I would call, we are action forward. So, in the industry, a lot of platforms have leveraged investment in order to normalize data. And what we do is obviously normalize data because that is required, but really focus on the action side.
James White (02:40):
And so, our platform is a marketing automation as well as a customer engagement or member engagement platform where we're able to drive relevance and intent for personalization, for engagement of either customers or members.
Jim Marous (02:55):
That's interesting you say that because a lot of our solutions out there, they're really ... and we talked a little bit about before we got on air, but there are so many great solutions out there, so many composable solutions that financial institutions can put to work. But the challenge is a lot of times many organizations don't really think about that final mile.
Jim Marous (03:14):
I use Salesforce as an example, an extraordinarily powerful platform, a very good platform, but I can show you that a lot of organizations have Salesforce in place but they're not really using it. They're not using it for its most powerful ability to go forward.
Jim Marous (03:30):
So, let's dig right in. Can you share your perspective on why relationship banking is gaining importance in today's financial landscape and the shift of importance from building just better experiences to building stronger engagement?
James White (03:47):
Absolutely. So, one of the things that benefits you and I both personally is the way the world works is what's old is new again, so you and I are new again. And we've gotten away from relationship banking that was something of the 80s and 90s, maybe the early 2000s, and have really gotten so focused on transactions that it has really fractioned all of our customer base and caused us problems, even though there were benefits to it as well.
James White (04:16):
But now, because of deposit runoff and because of the lack of loyalty, lack of interactions with our customers or members, we've got to focus on that relationship side. And so many other industries have done a great job of manufacturing that loyalty of those consumers, and banking, we've got to do the same.
James White (04:36):
And the way we do that is through engaging our customers or members and building that relationship the way that we have done in the past, even though it's a little bit different. In the past, we did it person to person, now it has to be a balance of high tech and high touch.
Jim Marous (04:51):
It's so interesting because we talk about this, as you mentioned, relationship banking and trying to use data to drive some type of increase in relationships. But unfortunately, as I've written about it, there's so many organizations that are losing touch with the fact that they have silent attrition going on.
Jim Marous (05:10):
I'm at events quite often, and I'll have people raise their hand if they've closed any major financial relationship in the last five years, unfortunately, nobody raised their hand, most people don't close relationships. And then I asked them, "How many of you have opened some type of relationship that's a financial relationship outside your traditional bank that may help you with a specific problem, a specific solution that's being delivered, or something like that." And fortunately, everybody raised their hand.
Jim Marous (05:36):
I said, look around the room, this is a silent attrition that's going on because you haven't given the consumer a reason to stay connected with you, and therefore your primary finance institution loses more and more of that relationship value because you haven't built engagement.
Jim Marous (05:53):
So, what are some examples that you can give around the difference between a transactional conversation and what's going on in the sphere of building better engagement?
James White (06:09):
Absolutely. So, first off, just to build on your point, Accenture released a global banking report earlier this year. And 82% of the younger demographics, 24 and below, had opened a new financial account outside of their primary banking relationship in the last 18 to 24 months. On the flip side, only 34% greater than the age of 65 have done the same.
James White (06:36):
So, we've got to engage, especially those younger consumers. And so, what we've seen is this whole shift, and you can actually see it by how a bank or credit union measures success on focusing on the transaction where I'm coming into a branch. Typically, it's now these days more for a complex transaction than it is for a deposit and cash back like it has been historically, but that still occurs.
James White (07:05):
And it's so focused on that interaction and the success of that transaction because the bank and credit union is so focused on making sure that the service is of a high quality that they aren't necessarily interacting with that customer or member in a meaningful way, making sure that they're talking to them about financial wellness as an example, which has been a hot topic for a couple years.
James White (07:30):
Or talking to them about things that are going on in their life so that you can help identify in a future intent, things of that sort. So, one of the cultural items, I believe, for banks and credit unions is they don't feel like they should sell to their customers or members because they don't want to come across as selling, even though they should be selling through service.
James White (07:52):
Because I would argue if you're a community bank or a credit union, it is your responsibility to keep your customer or member financially healthy. If you believe in your products and services and you believe that they're better than everybody else's, then you should be offering them to keep your customer member financially healthy.
James White (08:11):
And so, the solo focus on that interaction and the transaction being successful, and you see that through transaction surveys as an example. And instead of relationship surveys, which is the thing that everybody used to be focused on is we're going to send a survey out and focus on relationship and thoughts of the brand and all those things.
James White (08:35):
Well, now it's all about NPS scores and the transaction success. I would argue if you can't take a deposit and give cash back, you probably shouldn't be working at the bank or credit union. We don't need to send a survey out to the customer or member and see if that was okay. It's really more about the relationship.
Jim Marous (08:53):
Well, yeah, and most consumers now take good service or great service, even as being bottom line, that's why I'm there. And if you're not getting that, that's why they leave or they look for other services. A consumer now is looking for simplicity, speed, and empathy.
Jim Marous (09:15):
And the empathy part is the part that really takes the data as you look at it, and really takes it and says, I want what I call the GPS of financial services as opposed to rear view mirror. I don't want to know what I've already done because you can tell me I overdrew my account.
Jim Marous (09:31):
What I want you to do is understand my relationship enough to help me warn myself about, "Oh, by the way, you, you need to make a deposit, or you need to look at your financial relationships differently than you do today." What are some of the biggest challenges that you see banks facing today and the whole idea of understanding their customers and personalizing engagements?
James White (09:56):
So, first just to add on to what you were saying. I recently read a book, called Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara, and what he talks about is service is black and white, that's the black and white. The hospitality or the way you make them feel is the color in between. And so, the service is, that's table stakes. No one in financial services, for the most part, delivers poor service.
Jim Marous (10:25):
James White (10:25):
It's about that relationship. And then, banks and credit unions for a couple of things, I think really hinder them. One is the culture and it has to start at the top and work its way down to be focused on truly the relationship and the interaction with the customer or member versus making sure that the transaction is successful.
James White (10:51):
And then you've got the overwhelming concern around data. Data at a bank or credit union is an absolute mess these days from all the M&A activity that has occurred over the years, the legacy systems that are out there. Culturally, those vendors had not wanted to allow other platforms to connect in. And that's how you ended up with the bundled solutions from your core provider over the years.
James White (11:19):
Now through open banking and a shift in just the way technology works, that's much different now, but it can be overwhelming. It's like, "Okay, that sounds great, Jim and James, but where do I start?" And so, it's a crawl, walk, run. You can have a personalized experience with, say for example, CDs. Because everybody cares about CDs right now with four or five data elements.
James White (11:45):
You don't need to know that customer or member's social security number and what kind of car they drive and their kids' names to be able to have a personalized experience with. And so, start with small steps and then build onto it. And every journey starts with the first step, right?
Jim Marous (12:03):
Yep. Most banks and credit unions realize that their data sucks. It's in silos, it's not clean in many cases, and it almost provides them an excuse for not moving forward. How does Total Expert assist financial institutions in making their data platform ready, at least even in a small component of their business?
Jim Marous (12:28):
How do you make that work? Because I know so many institutions will not move forward because they're concerned about what their data looks like when the reality is every day you wait is a lost day, you can't get that back.
James White (12:43):
Yeah, I agree. I have an analogy about that, that I find funny. Waiting to move forward with personalization, because your data might not be clean, is like not going outside wearing shorts because your legs are white. The only way they get tan is to see the sun, and so you got to start somewhere.
James White (13:04):
And so, getting that data, what we do is first off, we break down the myth that you've got to have 50 data sources and 50 data elements in order to be personalized. Because that's what we've been doing in this industry since the 90s, when really data warehouses started to become popular is getting all this data and focus on normalize.
James White (13:27):
What we do is start on just very simple data elements that also limits our compliance risk and concerns as well. We don't have to worry about PCI or account numbers or pans or anything like that. Just focus on as a great example would be you can identify that someone has a tremendous amount of equity in their home. All you need to know is their age and income, and then you can personalize that.
James White (14:01):
If they're a younger demographic, then perhaps you want to offer them a HELOC or a home equity. Perhaps if you see that they have other debt out there, then you can offer them a cash-out refi to help them debt consolidate. But if they're over 50, maybe in your end to reverse mortgages, maybe you offer them a reverse mortgage instead.
James White (14:23):
But you don't send a 72-year-old, a home equity offer and you don't send a 29-year-old, a reverse mortgage offer but it doesn't take a tremendous amount just in one example.
Jim Marous (14:38):
Can you provide some examples of how bank and fintech companies have really successfully transitioned to a relationship driven model or engagement model, and what lessons that others can learn from these experiences?
James White (14:54):
That's a great question. There's a lot of articles out there that you can read as well. I mean, there is a concern around fintechs and what placement that they are as far as funding and things like that, and compliance and risk. And there's great ways that you can score a vendor to ensure that they're in the place you want them to be.
James White (15:17):
But then it's leveraging the ability to pivot, the ability to be innovative by the fintech and for us to have a more innovative culture to be able to solve these problems and then bolt on to these legacy platforms, in a new and interesting way where things like almost real-time is nothing for a fintech, which is something that's a big deal for legacy platforms.
James White (15:47):
So that, you can then leverage just those small data elements to start to engage, whether that be online or mobile banking, SMS, even some of the more legacy channels like print mails still not dead. There are other ways to do that but there's a lot of financial institutions that are overcoming that concern and really starting to see a big benefit.
Jim Marous (16:14):
So, it's interesting because every organization knows, number one, they have to build better experiences, which I still believe that that's a key element. Number two, more and more are talking about using data to provide prompts or relationships or build some type of engagement where you're going to work on behalf of the consumer, showing empathy, hopefully.
Jim Marous (16:38):
And you talk about some really big platform issues and using of data. From what you just said, it sounds like you're saying you start small, you can start with the low hanging fruit, the things that don't take as much risk, but they bring some great value to build that platform.
Jim Marous (16:55):
If a financial institution was to work with Total Expert and try to build, let's say, a platform around their lending platform, for instance, their lending product area, how long would that engagement take to get up and moving a little bit?
James White (17:09):
It really comes down to how much resources they can dedicate on their side. We typically, would look at about a 90-day time to value. So, it takes us about 90 days from start to finish to start to get value from the platform. And we have different ways to stagger that, so that we can start to get value in ROI as quickly as possible. But a lot of it really comes down to allowing us the ability to connect in either via API or take in flat files if that's the way that you so choose.
Jim Marous (17:45):
It's interesting, we both get back to the day where almost everything we were working on was an annual plan. Everything was built into annual cycles. And the reality is, what you just said is something I'm seeing that organizations now, especially smaller organizations, surprisingly, are really finding these solutions they can implement in a 360 or 90-day period, and then build the success to build the financing capability to move forward.
Jim Marous (18:15):
And it's great that companies like yours can really work on this composable basis to build a relationship over time that expands as opposed to saying, "I've got to do a complete core conversion." So, in a world where digital banking is on a rise and where we need to use data to build better experiences, how do you see technology playing a role in really improving financial relationships?
James White (18:45):
So, it's going to be, or it continues to be huge. I mean, you always have to have a balance of human and tech. The human interaction is not going to go away, but you have to understand the segment that you're talking to, the demographic that you're talking to, and have that balance shift according to that segment.
James White (19:04):
You or I probably want a lot more human interaction than our children do. And so, being able to leverage data to be personalized, first off, which is table stakes these days. I mean, I think Amazon and Facebook and X the former known as Twitter, they've proven personalization.
James White (19:25):
And so, the consumer just expects that now you can lose more credibility by having something unpersonalized than you probably gain by having it personalized. But then, we've been talking about this for years as transaction, our branch volume has slowed down. Every interaction is gold now with your customers or members as a financial institution.
James White (19:48):
And you've got to take that interaction seriously and make sure that you're providing something that helps build loyalty and credibility and helps with that relationship as well as making sure that that transaction is easy and successful.
Jim Marous (20:04):
So, how do you help banks and credit unions determine the right time and the right channel to engage with customers and members?
James White (20:13):
So, the way I talk about it is there's two factors. So, first is relevance and the second is intent. So, first, you want to understand that customer, member well enough that you can provide a relevant message to them and that can be very simple, like census data, age income, home ownership, presence of children, those kinds of things.
James White (20:39):
And then the other is really around intent. And intent, actually, I just had a piece drop last week, I think, at BAI around life events. And so, what we are doing is building out this whole intent alert system where we've started with credit pulls. We have home equity, we have MLS posting if they post a house on the MLS, we have credit improvement and life events that are coming, and we'll continue to add more and more.
James White (21:14):
So that as those items occur for your customers or members, now it's creating an alert that either can feed to automation, so that you're starting to nurture that brand, whether that be a newsletter or financial wellness or sending it to a lead or a pop-up on a particular online or mobile banking channel, those types of things. So, that whole encompass, relevance and intent together, I think is important.
Jim Marous (21:41):
So, you help a large number of financial institutions use their data to drive better engagement, to create better relationships, and to generate more loyalty and revenue. Give me one or two that really stand out in your memory as far as programs that really most financial institutions may not be aware of, but give a great example of how Total Expert can partner with financial institutions to drive results.
James White (22:11):
Absolutely. We've seen great results through our, what we call customer intelligence platform, which is that alert system that we were just talking about. Where we're able to drive leads for your loan officers, both on the retention play, as you're starting to see customers start to look elsewhere.
James White (22:33):
And then also on the flip side of cross-selling and growing those relationships, we have a couple of institutions that really come to mind that have had really, really strong ROIs. I personally believe that the best platforms out there, if you turn them off, the CFO will call begging to turn it back on. That's how you tell if there's a real ROI.
James White (22:57):
And so, we've seen some institutions really be able to, in tough times, especially on the loan side right now, be able to generate loan volume and also retain CDs on the flip side. We've also seen institutions (which is really kind of unheard of), be able to crack the code on indirect auto and being able to engage those indirect auto customers and cross-sell them into other products which is something that most institutions have given up on indirect auto engagement many years ago.
Jim Marous (23:37):
So, what are some strategies, a lot of financial institutions now are still looking for deposits. They've never had to price deposits the way they are for the last 15 years, they never had to visit an ALCO meeting because deposit rates were at the same level over and over and over again.
Jim Marous (23:53):
How do financial institutions use data and insights within their own portfolio and outside to build better deposit flows in as opposed to simply leaving to chase the high rates?
James White (24:08):
So, well, and that actually could be a podcast all on its own, how to attract and retain deposits, engage what I would call hot money as well, making sure that you're retaining your sleepy depositors without waking them. You don't want to pay higher rates if you don't have to.
James White (24:28):
But a lot of things that we see, first off is looking for balances in other accounts, like checking our money market average balances and recommending that they move into stickier products like a CD or stair stepping into a money market if they have average balances in checking.
James White (24:49):
I still though see a lot of institutions that focus either ... they may still have super low rates on money market, but higher rates on CDs, they're still trying to figure out what product to attract those depositors in.
James White (25:04):
And then the other is promoting laddering on CDs so that the customer can feel more liquid, so that they have different expiration dates.
James White (25:18):
Also, believe it or not, just engaging your active CD customers, and making sure that you understand the ones that are sleepy through how engaged they are with your institution and perhaps just nurturing them through financial wellness and health.
James White (25:37):
And maybe you don't offer them a renewal rate, but the ones that you can tell are more likely to leave because they may not have other products or services with you, then you nurture them, but then you offer them a renewal rate that might not be advertised so that you're trying to keep them. It's easier for them to auto-renew into a newer, a little higher rate than it is to leave and move over to the next institution offering 505 or whatever.
Jim Marous (26:06):
So, those customers are sleepy until they're not, oh, man creates a new challenge. So, how can financial institutions balance the use of internal and external data with a desire to prioritize customer privacy? So, how do you see organizations maybe explaining it to their customers, but how do you explain it to the financial institutions, the balancing of those dynamics of personalization and privacy?
James White (26:34):
So, that is a great question. Because with my background, I come from organizations where we had access to all of the data. We stayed PCI compliant, all those types of things to be able to leverage that data. But just that PCI compliance is astronomically expensive to maintain that.
James White (26:55):
And so, fintech's and Total Expert, we aren't interested in spending millions of dollars to stay PCI compliant every year. And so, we've been able to find innovative ways to still get that segmentation and get customization without having to know account numbers and tax IDs and all this very detailed information. And the way you can do it is, it's a balance of what I would call older methodology and newer methodology. Segmentation has been around probably since cavemen. And so, when they were marketing, and so segmentation is still very relevant.
James White (27:41):
Age income, profit segments, consumer segments, all that stuff is still super relevant. And then what you're able to do is put on top of that. So, we take the data, very simple information, excluding all of the tax IDs and account numbers, and then segment that information with census data, age income, as I mentioned before.
James White (28:08):
And then, as long as you do have some PII data like home address, then you can start to match up to credit data and MLS and life events and some of these other things that third-party data providers really have been offering for my whole career.
James White (28:26):
But now they're becoming even more relevant and they're starting to offer it in new ways. Like where it's API now, you're not pulling a massive data dump of all of your customers or members, which also adds compliance concerns. You're only reaching out and getting that one customer or member data at the time you need it, so that has really helped as well.
Jim Marous (28:49):
So, what are some innovative solutions or trends that financial institutions should be watching?
James White (28:55):
So, that I feel like is a tricky question. So, right now, as most people in banking and credit union, it's conference season, so I've been traveling around and speaking at different conferences. And the easy answer to that is generative AI. I mean, that's what everybody's talking about. But I would argue that if you don't have a data strategy across your organization, you should be focused on that versus generative AI. You can't boil the ocean if you don't have a pot first, so-
Jim Marous (29:28):
Well put. I like that.
James White (29:31):
Let's start with small steps. The thing is that financial institutions, a couple things have benefited. One, free money has allowed us to grow just by opening our doors. We were trying to handle the volume, we weren't having to try super hard.
James White (29:48):
And we were trying to balance, risk and liquidity and all those types of things. And that was a big thing for us. Well, now we're having to try and we've always looked at data as a liability in financial services. I don't want anybody to have access to the data that shouldn't have access. And the B2C fintechs out there, they look at it as an asset.
James White (30:13):
And so, we have to shift to look at as an asset, but that shift doesn't start overnight, it's taking small steps. And then, if you feel like you need to have generative AI because that's the trend, put it in a chatbot in support or something to that nature versus starting to try to build these machine learning models. I mean, if you're one of the top five, great, but if you're not, there's probably work to do before you get to that.
Jim Marous (30:46):
The solutions of Total Expert seem like common sense in the time where every finance institution is looking to build better experiences and increased personalization, and to start to build more engagement to really take that and make it so the customer knows you know them, knows that you want to look out for them and knows you want to reward them.
Jim Marous (31:07):
That said, not every one of your visits to finance institutions culminate in a sale, and even those that culminate in a sale, I'm sure roadblocks or barriers or hurdles that you faced along the way as you implement. What gets in the way of success at financial institutions, how do banks and credit unions actually implement what you're talking about? And what have you seen make it so it's more difficult for you to implement what you thought should have been a slam dunk?
James White (31:42):
That is a great question. So, first off is culture is usually the first. If the institution has recognized that it's time to make the shift or not, there are still a number of them out there that have not recognized that time. I'm sure they will over the next 18 to 24 months, but right now they have not.
James White (32:07):
And then there's still a lot of institutions out there that when they're looking at deposits as an example, which is a big topic, are nervous about bringing in new deposits because of hot money that may leave. And they don't feel comfortable that they have good ways to engage those customers or members to try to make it stickier. So, that's one thing.
James White (32:33):
And then the other is, I think we all, at every organization, including financial institutions, get real busy doing things and focus on the impact or forget the focus on the reason why we have chosen to do that project in the first place which is the outcome, not making sure that when I click a button it turns purple.
James White (32:57):
And so, a lot of times, they get marred down into the weeds, or we get marred down into the weeds and forget to remember to focus on the outcomes. I mean, the reason why you're selecting a new platform as a financial institution isn't because one, you're bored or two you want to make sure that when you click a button, it does something.
James White (33:24):
You've got a need, a business need that you're trying to solve. You need to engage your customers or members, you need to grow, all those types of things. And so, focus on those outcomes and then build it in, like we were talking about earlier, time to value.
Jim Marous (33:37):
Well, you bring it up, culture and leadership that a lot of organizations may check the box and say they want something, but they really, as you mentioned, haven't thought through what that means, and why they want to do that.
Jim Marous (33:52):
And we all use legacy excuses that get in the way. It may be our data's not clean, or we don't have the budget, or we're worried about, as you mentioned, hot money, when really, it's only hot if you don't do anything with the relationship once you get it.
Jim Marous (34:11):
Every transaction's hot. A transaction that I do with my grocery store, transaction that going out to dinner, it is going to be a onetime event unless you make it special. And we forget about the fact that now with digital tools and technology that is just astounding and solution providers like Total Expert, that we forget that this is what makes it so relations can be built as opposed to being a single product or a simply an add-on at high cost.
Jim Marous (34:40):
It's our responsibility to use the data that's available to make it so we keep it, to make it so we retain it and build loyalty.
Jim Marous (34:49):
So, finally, James, what suggestions would you give all finance institutions today? Where should they start their journey?
James White (34:58):
So, first off, I want to add a little bit to what you said. I can't tell you how many institutions reach out to us looking for a CRM, and I personally can't stand the term CRM because it means so many different things to so many different people.
James White (35:16):
And so, the first question is, why are you looking for a CRM? We aren't a CRM, nor do we want to be a CRM when we grow up, we want to focus on outcomes. And yes, we may have some CRM functionality, but we don't want to be a sales reporting and accountability tool. We want to be a tool that helps you engage your customers and members.
James White (35:44):
But that becomes a big blocker because when you ask, "Well, why do you want a CRM?" "Well, because everybody else has a CRM," I mean, there's no good answer and that's kind of what we were just talking about.
James White (35:58):
The institutions when they come to us or if even if they don't come to us, it doesn't matter if you don't come to us, you should be focused on, things are going to get slower before they get better. And yes, now net interest income and fee income have become a balance about a year or two ago for the first time in years.
James White (36:24):
But those transactions are going to slow down. Consumers are living off of credit cards right now. And that bubble's going to burst at some point, and you've got to get ahead of it. And you've got to start finding ways to engage your customers and members and grow, whether you choose Total Expert or not, is beside the point.
James White (36:46):
Because the cream's going to rise to the top and you'll see a lot of mergers and acquisition activity that'll occur for the ones who don't. And so, it's important to be thinking about these things. And right now it is very easy to focus on cutting expenses, super easy. I mean, that's what naturally do. But you can't cut your way to high performance.
James White (37:12):
And a good, good friend of mine that you know as well, Fabio Biasella, he taught me a long time ago that you can't cut your way to high performance. It's about how much revenue you can generate for every dollar you spend. The highest performers don't cut expenses, they generate more revenue for every dollar they spend.
James White (37:33):
And so, that's going to be more important than ever because banks and credit unions have benefited by having multiple levers to pull. But in a down economy like this that's continuing to extend in weird ways, those levers are starting to drive. You got compliance and regulation continuing to increase, all those things, it's a pressure cooker. And we've got to be making just focus on taking a step forward, lay out a plan, and take one step forward.
Jim Marous (38:07):
That's so key. And as you said, no matter who you work with, you have to move forward. You have to use data to build better engagement, to build better solutions on the customer's behalf. And you kind of under said it but not look at simply cutting costs. Because if you work on the revenue side of the relationship, what can be built, that's a better path to success because it's longer lasting. It avoids the hot money syndrome that you brought up.
Jim Marous (38:37):
So, James, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I really appreciate your insights, and I hope people look at Total Expert as a possible option for them as they try to build better experiences in relationships with their customers. Thanks again.
James White (38:53):
Jim Marous (38:54):
Thanks for listening to Banking Transformed, the winner of three international awards for podcast excellence. We appreciate the support we've received to make this endeavor a success. If you enjoy what we're doing, please take some time to show some love in the form of a review.
Jim Marous (39:08):
Finally, be sure to catch my recent articles on The Financial Brand and the research we're doing for the Digital Banking Report. This has been the production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to our senior producer, Leah Haslage, audio engineer, Chris Fafalios and video producer Will Pritts.
Jim Marous (39:24):
I'm your host, Jim Marous. Remember, the ability to truly know each customer and engage them in meaningful ways at the right times will be the key to success in the future.