JimPicPainted  JIM's JOURNAL
      The Banking Business Blog
     Opinions, & Observations on the Business of Banking...  And Other Musings... !


Frustrated“I never knew!” Well, you can’t say that any longer because here it is. Slowly but surely bankers are beginning to discover that some really disruptive customer service innovations are now available -- and so, so simple! First of all, they’re disruptive to the competition. You provide a tangible service that high deposit time-is-money clients appreciate.  Savvy marketing people can build a whole marketing campaign with this. And, it’s positively disruptive to the bottom line -- more fee income profit! Stockholders should like that, don't you think? It doesn’t have to be “same old same old” any more – not these days. READ MORE

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BranMuffinsSmallRegulators – you’ve just got to love ‘em, right? For sure – but, they definitely need more bran in their diet! Do we need to spell it out? I didn’t think so. But, it’s the only explanation we’ve come up with for some of their wacko decisions, especially when it comes to acceptable asset ratios. You’ve heard the war stories; maybe even been one of them. Community FIs get smacked while the Too Big to JAIL (oops, Too Big to FAIL) guys get away with murder. We can’t fix that.

But, as for muffins here are some dandy bran muffin recipes – plain, blueberry, banana, whatever -- that will do the trick. Don’t risk a short cut with store bought – not nearly enough fiber for the average regulator. And, mind your manners – no giggles when you serve them up. Regulators are pretty thin-skinned, don’t you know.


A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?"
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
You already know this -- affluent depositors and commercial accounts, the “Time-Is-Money” crowd, want paper checks, the hard copy paper trail. These clients are often hard to please. But, pamper them with excessive unexpected quality service and watch what happens. They spread the word — and that’s a good thing. It’s called GOOD GOSSIP!
For years, bankers relied on Harland Clarke’s (HC) MICR Quick on-site check production package to fill this quality service niche to the upscale. It made bankers look good. Then HC drops the bombshell—no more support for old reliable MICR Quick! Oops—what to do?
Turns out there are actually 3 strategies:
  • Upgrade to the new MICR Prime check:r system—and better fee income.
  • Subscribe to MICR Prime’s Canopy managed support service for MICR Quick.
  • Cave to HC’s dictates, high prices and USPS delivery delays.  thumbsdown
checkbookThis unsolicited testimonial from a recent convert to the MICR Prime solution tells the story. “We had been looking for a replacement for over a year. This is the best I’ve seen.” (2 months later) “We just started using MICR Prime. I like the program.”

Just to summarize “Hard Knocks – Part 1”, my career as a wholesale carpet rep was in the toilet. It was causing problems at home as well. Thankfully, somewhere along the line I picked up this maxim: 
“Fifty one percent of smart is knowing what you’re dumb at.”

I needed expert help. My sales manager, after cancelling several times with “something came up” bad excuses, eventually made good on his threat to make
CaliDesertt sales calls with me in my territory, the “Kite” (Pomona and east into the high desert of S. California). He was a carpet encyclopedia (ad infinitum), the epitome of arrogance, and a stuffed shirt. He for sure would alienate my red neck clients – absolutely not a good fit. How could I put this guy on ice? A BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious) came to me – turn up the heat! “Jim, you can’t avoid this gig. But, maybe a few calls in the “garden spots” of the high desert - Victorville, 29 Palms, Barstow, and China Lake - can put the kibosh on any repeats.” Oh, did I mention it was August?

August in Los Angeles is “toasty”; in the high desert try blast furnace! And, the A/C was out on my Chevy wagon! The strategy worked - oh, yeah, did it ever - only one sales call that day (the boss couldn’t take it). A few weeks later the store owner politely confirmed my assessment of the boss, “Actually, Jim, you don’t need his help.”

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