I recently had the pleasure of having lunch with Jack Hubbard, co-founder and chairman of the respected sales training and coaching firm, St. Meyer and Hubbard. With over thirty years of experience in banking, Jack has a great perspective on the industry and the challenges it faces. Here is a brief excerpt of our conversation:

Q: “What is top of mind for the bankers you work with?”

JH: “Squeezed margins, overloaded infrastructure (due to the complexity and cost of regulations), and how to best deploy human and physical capital. In particular, how to deploy assets to the right customers at the right price. Accordingly to Barlow Research, less than 30% of small businesses will borrow this year, so it’s a buyers’ market [for loans]. Traditionally banks have focused on getting loans and deposits. Instead, they should focus on customers.”

Q: “Can you elaborate a bit more on that last point?”

JH: “Bankers are in a unique position: they are trusted advisors with free advice. Other professionals (such as lawyers and accountants) will charge you for every minute they are talking to you. Bankers should get out of the mindset of selling products and focus on having great conversations instead. Bankers have amazing ideas, and many businesses want to talk about new ideas rather than hear a product pitch.”

Q: “What’s in store for banking over the next 5-10 years?”

JH: “Bankers need to continue to move carefully because the international economy is in uncharted waters. They are caught between wanting to create and roll out innovative services and yet held back by regulations, etc. Going forward, the way customers buy will continue to change and that will put smaller banks at a big deficit. Mobile banking is going to rapidly expand in both business banking and consumer banking. Community banks will have to consolidate to survive. Branches will look very different, bankers will need better and more specialized training to deal with more sophisticated customers. We will also need to keep score better and differently. Credit Unions and other non-banks will continue to take market share [from banks].”

Do you know the five quickest ways to get in front of a client and show you truly understand their business? View our recent webinar hosted by St. Meyer and Hubbard, “Cliffnotes for Bankers: Vertical IQ and Lattice Engines’ 5 Tips for Knowing Business Clients.”

About St. Meyer and Hubbard: St. Meyer & Hubbard creates measurable and lasting improvement in sales force performance for banks and credit unions. They provide customized training for sales teams and managers, led by some of the industry’s most dynamic classroom instructors. St. Meyer and Hubbard has earned a strong reputation for delivering practical skills for prospecting, relationship development, coaching, and management, all reinforced by tools tailored to each client’s needs.

Read more: