Strategies, Best Practices and Thought Leadership

Training & Education Takes Center Stage

Financial institutions have placed an emphasis on replacing aging bankers, however, these newer and younger staffs lack the experience they will need in the coming years as the industry changes. Specifically, with commercial lending, there will be deficiencies.

In response, some financial institutions are re-instituting training programs that were discontinued 15 years ago or more, but these outdated processes and methods likely won’t be enough. To weather economic cycles and supercharge profitability, banks and credit unions must ramp up training efforts or risk getting left behind, starting with solid recruitment methods, an effective training plan, and continued training and development initiatives.

Evaluate & Finetune Recruiting Methods

At the core of every outstanding team is strong recruitment, but this is oftentimes – and mistakenly – approached like a checklist. Institutions will target a specific type of employee who meets requirements on their list, but instead, they should target a wide variety of applicants to ensure greater diversity. After all, today’s account-holders span more generations than ever, with the youngest generation – Gen Z – now entering adulthood as the country’s most diverse generation yet, according to a Pew Research Center report.

To better align with today’s diverse communities, banks and credit unions should look for both recent graduates and seasoned veterans, as well as individuals looking to move into a new industry who can add a fresh perspective. Most importantly, institutions must look for candidates who share their mission and are motivated to learn.

Create Training & Onboarding Processes

To create the ideal team, training must be a priority. Especially important for younger employees, skills like communication and time management should be included in the onboarding process. This will help get them up to speed quicker and allow them to problem solve.

Across all staff, compliance training must be required, and it should be ongoing, as regulatory guidelines constantly evolve. Even for employees coming from other institutions or those who have been with the bank or credit union for many years, compliance refreshers should be mandatory and completed at least annually.

Institutions should also map out expectations. It should be crystal clear what each employee’s role is and the institution should help guide the training process through milestones for development. This not only keeps training on track, but it keeps staff focused and working towards goals. For larger institutions, a training management system may be considered that offers courses to be completed as milestones. Feedback should also be regularly provided, allowing employees to know and understand areas in need of improvement.

Ongoing Professional Development

Continued training and development are also important – and not just for the institution. Employees feel a sense of appreciation when their employer invests in their future, and this can go a long way in terms of retention. While ongoing training does require time and expenses, a lack of it can result in even more time and money searching for replacements.

Additionally, areas like compliance and technology must be regularly reviewed, and there should be opportunities for employees to pursue leadership roles. This keeps staff engaged, which can have a direct impact on the bank or credit union’s bottom line. It’s a win-win.

Training and development are not optional for organizations, especially financial institutions. Banks and credit unions must first prioritize recruitment and aim to diversify their teams. A training plan must then be in place that covers skills needed at the basic level, plus areas like compliance.

Finally, training can never be a one-and-done process. Institutions must provide ongoing development to not only ensure staff are aware of regulatory or technological changes, but to also keep them engaged and lower turnover.

 

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Topics: Market Trends

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