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Peak Performance President David Kerstein will be speaking at the CUES (Credit Union Executive Society) Texas Council meeting on May 2.


He will discuss How Your Credit Union Branch May Look in Five Years, with examples from leading credit unions and banks.


Paul Corrigan is a Senior Consultant at Peak Performance Consulting Group. He is a leading expert on Workplace Banking (Bank at Work programs). Specifically, he was responsible for the development and management of both Citibank at Work and RBS Citizens’ YourPlace Banking. His experience covers the full range from strategy to execution and includes considerable experience in program implementation and channel management.


This article was originally published in BAI Banking Strategies on April 4, 2014




Financial institutions are facing declining branch transactions and diminished branch sales. As a result, more banks are looking to Workplace Banking as an effective channel for attracting new customers, expanding relationships with existing customers and therefore improving sales productivity and cost efficiency. After all, Workplace Banking puts branch teams in front of prospects and customers they no longer see in the branch.


If implemented effectively, Workplace Banking can be a significant incremental source of revenue, representing between 10% and 30% of total new customer relationships according to our analysis of over 20 Workplace Banking programs. The problem is that while many banks offer Bank-at-Work programs, comparatively few provide the structure needed to optimize long term profitability. Here’s a look at some myths about Workplace Banking and some suggestions of why your bank may not be getting the most out of these programs and how you can rectify that:


Myth #1. Workplace Banking drives low balance, low quality customer relationships.


Reality: Workplace Banking provides higher account quality than the bank average if the program structure includes focused company targeting. Although company targeting is the number one determinant of new account quality, many banks fail to put a disciplined process in place. Without this structure, local managers will often call on the easiest targets of opportunity, such as retail and hospitality, resulting in low balance and high turnover accounts. Conversely, employees working in professional services, academic, medical and technology fields will provide the bank with profitable, long lasting relationships. Additionally, branch teams will also meet current bank customers at their worksite and have the opportunity to cross-sell and deepen relationships.


Top Tip: Successful programs include a company approval and registration process to insure targeting strategy is maintained and fail-safed.

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I had the pleasure of chairing the Branch Optimization track and speaking at the American Banker/Source Media Retail Banking 2014 conference earlier this month.  Clearly branch optimization was on the mind of participants and the room was filled to capacity. Take that, Digital Media!

Seriously, there’s not much controversy over the importance of the branch channel, but there is a lot of debate about the nature of its transformation: the number of branches, the average size, what’s inside, the type of employee, and the most effective sales and marketing process.

Our panel had an informative and spirited discussion with three different points of view from Bank of the West, Associated Bank, and Santander.

Here’s an overview of what we discussed


Each year I try to attend South by Southwest (SXSW).  You may know it as a music festival – it started years ago as a way to lure people back to downtown Austin during the Univ. of Texas spring break. This year, over 100,000 people will converge on Austin during the 10 day set of overlapping Interactive, Film and Music events. I’m lucky enough to live here, and know how to find a parking space!


I always go to SXSW Interactive, which is the largest conference for emerging technology in the world. The presenters are varied. Eric Schmidt (Google) and Michael Dell discussing the future of the industry. Celebrities like Shaq talking about wearable technology. The outlaws: Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks guy, and Edward Snowden joining via video conference. But I find the most interesting sessions to be the small breakouts. Jonah Berger of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School discussing his research on why some social media activities go viral, and how businesses can leverage this, not just to improve page views but improve sales. The political consultants describing how they parsed big data into neighborhood information and used it to improve voter turnout and help their candidate win, a subject that has surprising similarities to the issues banks face with attracting more customers from their surrounding trade area. And the banks and payment providers, like Mint, describing specific tactics they used to identify unmet needs and deepen customer relationships.


The conference is not about banking, although CMOs and Digital Marketers from Citibank, US Bank, Capital One, AmEx and a large number of other financial institutions were in attendance. But I like SXSW precisely because there are so few bankers. The attendees have a very different perspective than I do, and it causes me to open my mind. And that leads to the issue I really want to talk about: Bitcoin – and more broadly, the payments revolution.  It’s the hot new thing. There were about a dozen conference sessions on Bitcoin and several vendors at the trade show. And, this being Austin, there are Bitcoin ATMs at local bars and coffee shops, and the city’s food bank/homeless shelter will accept your contributions in cash, credit card – or Bitcoins.


I want to say upfront that I am struggling to understand Bitcoin and the whole “crypto currency” space.  I’m not sure I get the Bitcoin craze. But I freely admit to being wrong on several Next Big Thing ideas.

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A visit to Chase and Umpqua branch-of-the future prototypes in San Francisco highlights two very different visions of the future of banking.


This article was originally published in BAI Banking Strategies on February 21, 2014


Few topics in banking inspire as much commentary as branch-of-the-future concepts, since it’s now generally accepted in the industry that today’s branch model is fated to go the way of the typewriter after the word processor made its debut. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on what that future branch should look like.


Some clues to that format are likely contained in branch-of-the-future prototypes that some institutions are beginning to roll out. During a recent visit to San Francisco, I took the time to visit two of them operated by New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Portland, Oregon’s Umpqua Bank. Here, in the hopes of bringing the discussion back to street level from the 30,000-foot conceptual stage, are my impressions of these current efforts.

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This article was originally published in BAI Banking Strategies on January 27, 2014. David Kerstein  is president and Ric Carey a director at Peak Performance Consulting Group




Customer service programs that fuel measurable profitability improvement are those that are integrated into a bank’s overall operating rhythms.


Well executed service quality programs can have a significant positive impact on revenue and bank earnings. So why do so many banks believe they provide excellent customer service but still experience lackluster customer retention numbers, ho-hum net promoter scores and limited business growth?


The answer just might be that many customer service programs are not fully integrated within the total bank’s culture. It is often hard for financially-oriented senior managers to quantify the bottom line impact of specific service initiatives and tie them back to revenue performance. As a result, service is emphasized and is important, but remains just one item on a list of multiple priorities.


By contrast, at the most successful institutions, service quality permeates throughout the organization. It is not just a branch or call center program but rather a broad corporate strategy that includes a 360 degree integrated process that insures overall alignment with organizational objectives.


And it pays off, as can be seen by analyzing the performance of banks with a superior focus on customer service. They outperform peers in customer retention, depth of relationship and, most importantly, growth and profitability that result from deeper and more profitable relationships.

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