Low interest rates, new regulations and an unstable economic situation have impacted revenues and profits of retail deposits in North America. Therefore, the upcoming GFMI 3rd Edition Retail Deposit Optimization & Strategic Management Conference comes at a very important and optimal time for banks.
Silvio Stroescu, Managing Director, Investments & Deposits at Tangerine Bank recently spoke with GFMI about key topics to be discussed at this upcoming meeting, scheduled to take place April 27-29, 2015 in Toronto, Canada.
Why are retail deposits such a key issue at the minute for banks?
New regulatory requirements, such as Basel III, are putting more emphasis on retail deposits and the value these bring to a Bank’s stability.
In addition, central banks around the world plan to take an even more stringent approach than the new regulatory standards, which will further emphasize the value of retail deposits versus other funding means, such as wholesale funding.
These new requirements are leading to increased competition for retail deposits.
Why is it key for institutions now to differentiate their retail products from competitors?
Banks have traditionally been focused on the distribution of financial services as their primary business, with the products taking a bit of a backseat. Consumers would walk into a branch to ‘do their banking’ and in the process end up ‘purchasing products’. As a result, banks were primarily competing on their distribution strategy. As long as a Bank had a strong foothold in the community, it was likely to bring people into the branch then sell them the products.
With the advances in technology and especially the emergence of mobile apps, consumer behaviour shifted drastically over the past few years. We are at a crossroads now where we see a Bank’s ‘distribution’ strategy threatened by the emergence of non-bank competitors like PayPal, Square and Google Wallet.
People no longer have to go somewhere to ‘do their banking’; they now have branches in their pocket. This leaves the banks vulnerable on the distribution side of the business, as they appear to be falling behind the innovative solutions developed by non-banks who specialize in understanding consumer behaviour.
Banks must now focus on creating differentiated products which are a fit for the new distribution norms and add significant value over the competition.
While the products still represent ‘the thing’ consumers hire to meet their financial goals, the hiring decision is no longer defaulted by the branch they chose to visit. Product constructs must be simpler and easier to understand and use by the increasingly self-reliant consumer in the smartphone age.
Not only do consumers have access to more choices, they are also more likely to research their options and rely on advice from peers. With the increased choice and transparency, in order to get the nod over the competition and attract the accolades of positive peer reviews, the banks must provide superior products which stand out from the crowd.
How is pricing being used to help with attracting and retaining customers?
Pricing has been the cornerstone of a product’s value proposition. A significant price advantage over the competition has proven to be sufficient motivation for consumers to uproot their savings, as evidenced by the success of ING and Ally.
While the prolonged low interest rate environment has led some consumers to lean towards a higher allocation of their wealth to equities, it has also led those who cannot afford increased risk in their portfolios to become even more price sensitive. Consumers in need of liquidity are more likely to respond to a slight price advantage and even chase short term promotional offers to maximize their absolute returns.
This increase in consumer sensitivity to price, complemented by lower margins for the banks due to the current interest rate environment has made pricing strategies even more critical to a bank’s success.
Banks rely more on promotional pricing to attract new deposits these days, in the hopes of retaining these funds once the promotional period expires. While this may be a lucrative short term tactic, it’s not going to provide sustainable growth unless complemented by more holistic pricing strategies to deepen relationships overall.
What do you think attendees will gain from attending this event?
The event provides opportunities for attendees to hear from experienced speakers and connect with peers facing similar industry wide challenges.
When an industry as a whole is at a crossroad, I find the conversations at these types of events often inspire great thinking and lead to golden nuggets which can provide a competitive advantage once applied within the context of a bank’s own unique value proposition.
Silvio Stroescu will be leading the breakout session “Effective Strategies to Strengthen Customer Acquisition and Retention” and will be contributing to the panel discussion “Achieving Differentiation from Competitor Products” on Tuesday, April 28th at the GFMI 3rd Edition Retail Deposit Optimization & Strategic Management Conference.
For more information regarding this conference, including pricing and registration, please contact Abby Wilson, Media & PR Coordinator at (312) 894.6313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Silvio Stroescu
Silvio’s entire world changed when he moved from Romania to Canada in the late 80s. His adaptable personality helped him manage this change and while adopting a new culture and mastering a new language he studied Mathematics and Psychology at the University of Toronto. Subsequently, he worked for a number of Bay Street firms in Toronto’s financial district.
In 1997, he was captivated by a new venture in direct banking, ING DIRECT, which he recognized as a potential game changer in the Canadian financial services industry. He progressed through a series of increasingly senior positions across the organization, including leadership roles in Sales, Operations, Project Management and Retail Experience. During his tenure with ING DIRECT, Silvio developed new business lines, brought new products to the Canadian market, led through change, managed business transitions and shared global best practices on direct banking with international colleagues.
In his current role as Managing Director of Investments & Deposits, Silvio provides strategic leadership towards the development of Tangerine Bank’s deposit business line, as well as its investment asset management and distribution subsidiaries. His general management responsibilities include overall business line strategy, product management and P&L accountability.
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