Kim Snyder
Founder & CEO

Like a GPS, a strategic plan is a real-time navigational system that can help guide a bank through the twists and turns of an evolving operating environment. Banks should keep it switched on at all times, even though there is a seasonal rhythm for reviewing and approving the plan itself.

Forward-thinking bankers say they’re revving up the strategic process by putting data front and center, and industry consultants say doing so sharpens decision making.

Putting data at the heart of strategic planning gives banks the information and insights they need to inform, support and accelerate progress toward goals and ensure accountability, says Jeff Marsico. As President of Kafafian Group, he advises dozens of community banks each year on strategic planning. Banks simply cannot measure performance, improve profitability or create meaningful strategic roadmaps without the right data, he says.

Adopting a data-centric strategy has made Dunmore, Pennsylvania based FNCB Bancorp nimbler, says CEO Jerry Champi. “Data helps you pivot in times of change,” he says. “Strategic planning is a pathway, a direction. Data integration turns it into a highway, so you get to your destination faster.”

Here are some observations on how data makes for a smoother journey.

You Know Your Starting Point
To know where you’re going, you must correctly identify the current situation at the bank, Marsico notes. Armed with the right data and analytical tools, banks can answer pertinent questions such as which products or business line are most profitable. They can also breakdown commercial customers by North American Industry Classification System codes. Without access to well-organized information, “you’re flying blind,” he says.

You Gain a Clearer View of Opportunities
Understanding where the bank has the greatest growth potential is critical. At FNCB Bank, data has helped to pinpoint where growth is coming from, says Champi. “Over 50% of our growth comes from referrals from our existing client base,” and that knowledge has helped drive strategy. Likewise, Rio Bank, based in McAllen, Texas, is looking to expand into some new markets. The starting point allows Rio to “make sure we have some data in place as we launch marketing initiatives, so we can track how successful they are,” says President Brian Humphreys.

You Can Adjust Course as Needed
As many banks experienced during the market upheaval that flowed from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March 2023, strategic plans must adapt to changing circumstances. Humphreys noted that “in the March shakeup, we were able to pull data on all deposits and understand which ones to get in front of.” The events began unfolding on a Friday and everyone was bracing for a rough Monday morning. “I had the deposit information at my fingertips on Sunday without involving the staff,” which allowed the bank to proactively respond to customer concerns, helping it to retain and grow deposits.

Whether you’re just starting on your data integration journey or looking to rev it up, data is an essential tool for informing and impacting the direction and effectiveness of your strategic plan.


Kim Snyder

Founder & CEO

Kim Snyder is the CEO and founder at KlariVis.  She is a veteran community banker, having served as executive vice president and CFO for a $900 million publicly traded community bank in Roanoke, VA for 10 years.  Ms. Snyder is a results-oriented strategic problem solver which is showcased by her development of the industry’s first data analytics solution with the purpose of helping financial institution executives make effective and efficient decisions.  She is a notable speaker, having spoken at many industry conferences such as Bank Director’s Acquired or Be Acquired and FinXTech, the ABA’s Community Bankers Conference, ICBA Live and the Venture Center’s VenCent Fintech Summit to name a few.


Ms. Snyder is a certified public accountant.