Can a bank change the economic, financial and social footprint of a region.

Can a bank change the economic, financial and social footprint of a region……….? No it can’t ……., but the people working within the bank itself can. The bank is made up of people, who need to have a relationship with their clients. This relationship helps bankers understand the actual requirements, needs and wants of the client.

The problem we face these days is that we purportedly go to schools to be equipped to learn about money. Then, we spend around 40 to 60 hours a week actually earning it. We spend hours discussing how we’re going to handle it. We wander around the shopping malls determining how we might spend it.

We spend more hours than we care to admit worrying that we won’t have enough of it. We dream and scheme ways of how we might acquire more of it. Arguments over it are among the major reasons for marriage disintegration and business break-ups. Despair over losing it has led to many suicides. The obsession with getting it causes many of society’s crimes. The absence of it causes many of society’s nightmares.

Eighty percent of the population will reach the age of retirement with less than $250 in savings. It’s just not a pretty picture, and it gets a little uglier every year.

Unfortunately we as a nation don’t know how to handle money and/or teach our children about financial literacy. Many of us have not identified our abilities beyond the normal day to day living.

Many do not have much to show financially after 40 years of work and we will still have to continue working after 65 years of age. Many people would prefer to give their money to a ‘financial advisor’ who they want to invest their money at high growth and low risk. (These two are issues are contradictory). Nor do they know what career they should do, or enter into, or be training for. Most rotate from one job to another, trying to find a level of income or happiness that will help them get the level of financial happiness that they would be comfortable with.

Most people can’t identify their strengths and weakness and where they should channel their energy into, when it comes to a new career choice. Many are often too time poor to sort these issues for themselves.

Creating wealth opportunities is about opportunities in life, wealth in knowledge, training and opportunities, not just financial. Wealth opportunities is about having the ability to know and take opportunities as they arise, applying what has been learnt and growing knowledge. It is just not all about financial gain.

Our people in banks must take the lead in securing the financial, economic and social change that is needed for us to function as a society that is not so deeply in debt. In fact clients are clamouring for this, because they can’t find it anywhere else.

Bankers must understand that clients must be at the heart of everything they do. Sometimes this means a short term small financial gain for the bank, but long term, a loyal client who will come back to do more business with that banker in that bank because they have built up a trusting relationship. The client can see the banker has a heart and actually wants to help change their economic, financial and social footprint. This allows the client to build loyalty with the banker and most importantly, it leads to obtaining a recommendation to help the client’s other friends. This snowballing effect allows the client base to grow, built on trust, an on-going relationship, and doing what is right for both parties – long term.

A banker, regardless of what position they hold in the organisation must ensure, “They are ‘interested’ in the client, not being ‘interesting’ for the client”.

A bank like any business must make a profit. However :

If you make a profit – but don’t provide value – you’re a thief

If you provide value – but make a profit – you’re a charity!

Bankers must understand this value proposition and ensure value is at the heart of what they do for clients. Long term this builds trust and repeat business. It adds to the bottom line of the bank P & L. It adds value to the client because they are receiving help by getting out of their precarious financial position, and changing their financial footprint.

Many people need to be financially educated, and this needs to come from people in the banks. Many are seriously financially in debt and only three days away from bankruptcy. They cannot teach their children financial literacy as they have none themselves. Children are growing up without the fundamentals of financial acumen, or how to count or make ballpark predictions on financial matters.

Should this be a banking role? Absolutely, as the bank is the financial guardian of our money and has the resources within the people they hire to provide good stewardship for the financial footprint clients leave as they traverse through the banking system.

So, can the financial, economic and social footprint of a region be changed…………… ? Yes it can………, if we have bankers with a heart for helping their clients, (one at a time) and putting both the client and the bank in a better financial position. Both can fit ‘like a glove’ if the correct parameters are set at the outset.