How many times have you walked into a Wells Fargo across this country and bumped into a smiling young man or woman? They usually are in their early 20’s, pleasant to be around, and they are aggressively attempting to get your checking and savings business! Once they sit you down at their desk they begin asking you questions about your personal finances. Have you ever wondered if it was a wise idea to give these people your financial information? Do you listen to their advice? Would you act upon it if you realized you were working with someone who just finished a two year stint delivering pizza??
Would it surprise you that a majority of their employees have little to no college education? Would it surprise you that many are often hired from lower end service jobs, such as fast food, call centers, or part time jobs they took while going to school and majoring in an unrelated course of study.
It’s not these employees fault. The fault lies in the corporate management of these large banks. On a daily basis, Americans make financial decisions that slowly or quickly turn into millstones around their neck. Most large banks focus on metrics determined to improve transnational sales. In other words, accounts, loans, bank fees. The welfare of their customer comes second to the profitability of every transaction. I know this first hand having worked in a branch at Wells Fargo for over 2 years. But this goes on at Chase, Bank of America and many other banks across the country.
What about your mortgage lender? Is a bank lender more knowledge able then a broker? Most banks do not require bachelor degrees to offer mortgage loans. Most banks only require specific mortgage education training required by the government or company, but daily requirements to keep a top of the industry is purely optional at most companies. One positive while a mortgage broker, the need to improve one’s knowledge and skill set is critical to competing with all the other mortgage professionals. Unlike a bank, the licensing requirements for most mortgage brokers is much better then in past years, but compare that to NO requirements 10 years ago.
For the credential-ist that will only work with a “college” graduated professional. Are you sure they have the degree in the field they are advising you? Degrees only mean something if the professional takes the time each and every day to keep on top of the ever changing financial world that they advise within. As Steven Covey says in his best selling books, "You There are CE credits for professionals, but that’s 24 hours every 2 years. If your so called professional adviser is doing the minimum, then expect the minimum. Steven Covey, best selling author of, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, calls Habit #7, Sharpening the Saw. Organizations need to develop well rounded employees, that develop effective relationship skill sets.
Recently I had a talk with someone in the banking world. They operate a smaller regional bank. Their goal is to connect with customers by developing mentor relationships. Banking is going online, but there will still need to be advisers at banks and other financial institutions that become more then just a bank employee or a mortgage loan officers. With so many options now online for the transnational decisions of each consumer, bankers like the one I just mentioned are going towards models that turn their employees into real counselors.
To do that they know they will have to start investing in education with each of their employees, from the teller to the personal banker. The education can't be just compliance, employees will need to be trained in relationship skills, counseling skills, basic financial skills (which sadly many are lacking).
Banks will have to shake their stiff upper lip and learn to connect through social media, local events, and making each visit to the bank something to look forward to rather then a chore. The same can be said on the mortgage side as well. Is you broker or mortgage professional more then a compliant-pedia, or are they great at asking questions and giving sound financial advice that may sometimes cost them a transaction?