The practice of business performance consulting is important to every industry. Financial services need as much help with their everyday activities as do other types of industry. Financial inclusion, or ensuring that people from all nations and all economic backgrounds are not excluded from the banking system, also rides on the success of business performance consulting.
POWERS explains how business performance consulting can help banks and make sure that they do not leave out important parts of the community when engaged in their line of business.
Consulting Improves Business Outcomes
In every business, there are aspects of the work that run smoothly, and others that need intervention. In a banking environment, it may be the management of consumer accounts that needs help, or it may be the bank’s outreach to underserved potential customers.
Business performance consultants like POWERS are able to look at the inner workings of a bank and make sure that they are operating with professionalism and efficiency. They can improve a bank’s rate of new account origination as well as retaining existing customers.
Through business performance consulting, banks will be encouraged to become involved in outreach activities to help excluded people take advantage of their services. Bank employees need to be taught about the damages that a lack of financial inclusion could cause. It is popularly said that financial exclusion makes it ‘more expensive to be poor’ and this is true to a large extent.
People without banking relationships are not able to receive direct deposits and they are not able to cash paper checks without incurring steep fees charged by check-cashing services. They are not able to shop online without using expensive prepaid debit cards with a host of fees and exclusions.
They are not able to shop where cash is not accepted. While this represents a small number of stores now, this is a growing problem for people who are not included in the financial system.
People without savings or checking accounts must store their money at home without any security safeguards. Money could be lost, stolen, or damaged. It is much safer to keep money in the bank, but many families are left out of this equation.
Impact on Credit
People without bank accounts are also unable to establish a credit history. This can make it difficult to make large purchases like cars and furniture. While no one should overuse their credit capabilities, everyone should have a credit history and the tools necessary to manage it responsibly.
Solutions to Outreach Problems
Business performance consultants are able to provide solutions that can help with outreach to excluded customers. Going into the community to offer services is an important first step. People who do not have bank accounts are also much less likely to have reliable transportation. People who live in areas that are not within a walkable distance from financial institutions will have a difficult time accessing their services. These communities are also much less likely to have reliable internet access to use online banking or credit management tools.
Consulting firms can help banks and creditors learn to reach out to their potential customers, meeting them on their own playing field. Compassion and a lack of discrimination are necessary. Potential customers must be shown the advantages of setting up a bank account clearly.
Barriers to Success
Even when banking and credit services are offered to a previously underserved customer base, they may not wish to participate. In many communities, there is an inherent bias against the financial service industry. Sometimes these misgivings are based on hearsay and misconceptions, and sometimes they are based on established facts.
For example, banks and credit card companies ignored the needs of minority and immigrant populations in the past. In some cases, financial service companies openly discriminated against these borrowers and took advantage of their reduced opportunity to seek competitors to charge them punitive fees and interest rates.
An Atmosphere of Fairness
Consulting firms can show a financial service company how to treat all of its customers fairly and without discrimination. Taking the best practices from established financial services companies with a foothold in the geographic area is a good practice.
Company culture is another key item in the business performance consulting arena. When companies have a coherent and positive culture, employees are far more likely to conduct themselves with patience, kindness, and enthusiasm. This can help to retain customers and to attract those who may have been left out of the banking system due to no fault of their own.
Financial Inclusion and Business Performance Consulting
When financial service companies take care to serve all members of the community, they can encourage new customers to engage with their services. Financial inclusion is a serious problem around the world, and banks are in a position to help.
Properly managed banks and credit card companies take advantage of business performance consulting to make sure that they are handling all of their customers fairly. When financial service companies pay attention to their potential customers’ needs, they can grow their customer base while providing an important service to the community.
POWERS and other business performance consultants are able to help banks and credit card companies find ways to perform outreach and prevent the problem of excluded customers.