Is your bank future-ready? This seems to be the question of the day. Headlines claim that bankers aren’t future-ready. Research reports extol the benefits of being future-ready. This is a silly concept when you think about it. Who among us is future-ready, since none of us knows what the future will hold?
But I get the sentiment. As technology outpaces our ability to keep up with customer demands, banks are under enormous pressure to prepare for an unknown future, either by making changes now or by selling to a larger bank.
More than a third of bankers and bank directors worry leadership has an inadequate understanding of how emerging technology could impact their institution, according to Bank Director’s recently released 2021 Technology Survey. Fewer than half think their bank effectively serves millennials, who are between 25 and 40 years old.
With those issues in mind, I’ve had numerous conversations with bank CEOs and board members in recent months about the concept of creating “optionality,” most recently on a Bank Director retreat with about a dozen smart and ambitious CEOs. The word continues to rattle around in my mind, especially as we prepare to host more than 250 officers and directors from across the United States in Nashville, Tennessee, for the annual Bank Board Training Forum Sept. 13 to 14 at the JW Marriott Nashville.
Here is where bank boards and senior leaders will discuss important issues such as organic growth versus mergers and acquisitions, innovation and technology, as well as regulation and governance. This concept of optionality naturally ties into discussions around performance. I wonder how many organizations have dedicated teams playing in the future, small groups that are intently focused on transforming the current business?
Ahead of this exclusive in-person event, I’ve given thought to this very question, too. Indeed, it ties into the concept of franchise value, which should be a critical priority for bank boards. With that in mind, I’d recommend starting your next boardroom discussion with three basic questions:
- What are we today?
- What do we want to be?
- How can we create recurring value for our consumer and commercial clients?
After answering those questions, you might then consider asking, “What are we going to look like in five years?”
The truth is, nobody knows. And that’s the reason why we’re hosting this event in Nashville. After all, exploring what’s possible is a hallmark of this board-level event.