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The retail banking industry is undergoing another major shift, and the future looks high-tech, sophisticated, and, for big banks, very urban. So what has changed?  This video from the Wall Street Journal tells all!


Thanks to the WSJ for quoting Jon Voorhees of Peak Performance Consulting Group in their article about the changes in branch banking, highlighting the experience of Bank of America.



Most financial institutions invest significant energy conducting business unit and corporate strategy reviews in preparation for their annual budget, but many senior executives believe this process does not deliver sufficient pay-off for the time invested. The most frequent complaint: lots of business updates on past progress, but too few implementable new initiatives that will really drive the business forward.


How do the best performing organizations do it?


  • Avoid incrementalism, the “last year plus 10%” syndrome. Start with the goal you aspire to achieve, and work backwards to determine the strategies required to accomplish it. The most effective organizations don’t just identify and fix known problems — they identify the future results they desire and create solutions to achieve them.


  • Once you have made the commitment to change, be realistic. You can’t make the changes necessary, or assign the resources required, without an objective assessment of the market opportunity, financial potential, internal capabilities and resources required.


  • Remember that focus is the essence of strategy. It’s not just what you decide to do, but also what you decide not to do. In most organizations the greater problem is usually deciding which good ideas are of lesser value and should not be implemented, or which current activities should be stopped in order to re-direct resources to ensure that higher value opportunities have appropriate resources.


  • It’s all about execution. The best performing organizations implement rapidly and effectively. They recognize that a good plan effectively implemented is far superior to a great planning document which is not a living part of your business. Identify accountabilities for key objectives and make sure they are on track. Update your plan regularly to insure it is relevant and effective — after all, your business is not static but dynamic and changing.


  • Identify risks. Do a “pre-mortem” – step into the future and write the obituary, the reasons why the plan failed. Then establish strict controls over the risk factors you identified.


  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Everyone needs to know what the goal is, what their part is in accomplishing the objective, and how effective the organization is in achieving results.

It’s a new year with new possibilities.  How will banks approach the challenges of 2018?


It’s that time of year again—the ball has dropped in Times Square, the New Year parties are over, and we’re ready to engage in the annual rite of predicting key trends for the upcoming year.



It’s been a good year for the industry: the economy is strong; margins are improving, albeit with some pressure from rising deposit rates; banks have overcome their fear of FinTechs and are looking for ways to partner with them; branch transformation is still on the front burner, but no longer viewed as a crisis that needs revolutionary change; and there are positive signs of easing burdensome regulation.


So what does the crystal ball hold for 2018? Here’s our Top Five picks.

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BAI Banking Strategies just published their annual list of the 25 most read articles of 2017.  We are pleased to be a regular contributor to BAI thought leadership and gratified that four of our articles made the “most read” list.


The top branch article of 2017, and No. 2 on the overall most read article list, is Peak Performance Consultant Jon Voorhees’ piece, Seven elements of the ultimate branch format.

Is there an ideal branch format? In whatever bank publication you pick up today, it seems someone has an opinion on the one ideal branch design. It’s smaller, heavily automated and uses digital signage. The real answer is: “It depends … on lots of things.” But there are seven key elements — read more here.

No. 9 on the list:Location! And 9 other things to consider when opening a branch.

It seems as though every banking journal today has an article about branch closures or consolidations. Less reported is that banks still open about 1,000 or more new branches annually. In fact, banks opened nearly 6,000 new branches in the five-year period between 2011 and 2015, according to the latest FDIC update—and are on pace to unveil nearly 900 more this year. Here are 10 insights on the factors that drive a successful branch launch.


No. 22 on the Top 25 list of 2017 is Lou Carlozo’s interview of Jon Voorhees for the June 2 BAI Banking Strategies podcast. On this episode of the BAI Banking Strategies podcast, Lou Carlozo, Managing Editor, interviews Jon Voorhees of Peak Performance Group about the closing, opening and evolution of bank branches. Voorhees also reveals how banks can close branches and still experience low customer attrition rates.


Rounding out the list with number 23 is an article by Peak Performance President David Kerstein: How smaller financial institutions can succeed with digital.

Compelling digital offerings aren’t just a consumer expectation anymore. They are a necessity to stay competitive. But many financial institutions, especially smaller ones, are stuck in a holding pattern—with too many confusing options and choices to grasp a clear sense of how to move forward. What’s the best way to harness new digital technology to deliver the desired results? How should you select the right partner? What key strategies lead to successful implementation?  More here.

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For the seventh consecutive year, The Financial Brand has surveyed a panel of over 100 global financial services leaders for their thoughts on retail banking and credit union trends and predictions. The crowdsource panel includes bankers, credit union executives, industry analysts, advisors, authors and fintech followers from Asia, Africa, North America, South and Central America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.


We were pleased to be included again on this annual panel of international thought leaders.


The “Top 10” predictions ranged from Customer Experience to Blockchain. Our focus was on improving multichannel delivery:


Financial institutions will pull back from dramatic changes and take a more practical approach to the industry’s challenges, such as service delivery and channel utilization. With 2018 being the year of small business banking, there will be increased investment in technology (or partnering with fintech firms) to simplify business loan processes, using branch staffs for selling these services.


– David Kerstein, President of Peak Performance Consulting Group


Today’s game plans are as varied (and confusing) as diet plans. Here’s how to separate truth from myth.


This article by Peak Performance Consultant Jon Voorhees was originally published in BAI Banking Strategies on December 18, 2017


Branch transformation is hot. The evidence is everywhere: numerous industry articles, webinars, blogs and conferences on the topic. It appears everyone has an opinion about what needs to change or transform and a host of ideas on how to effect those changes. All this noise (or cacophony) has created great confusion among leaders at financial institutions—and in some cases led to poor decisions. Today, I hope to share some facts on the topic and pose some questions to consider when you think about transforming your retail branch network.


I mentioned that every journal, paper or blog seems to take a different view on branch transformation. I’m sure you have seen these views too. Like: bold statements that up to half of all retail branches will close in the next few years. Or: firm commitments that all branches will get much smaller; the express or fully automated branch will be the new norm; millennials don’t use branches; tellers are going away. Yet at the same time, every survey indicates that customers still want face-to-face interactions for more complex transactions and advice. That reflects a disconnect.


And if every vendor and consultant has their own “right” branch transformation game plan, they’re absolutely sure about it. They can’t all be right—so let’s talk about what’s real, what’s wrong and how the industry should respond.


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