This week’s podcast features PrecisionLender’s CEO, Carl Ryden, talking about why he felt the banking industry needed a conference like BankOnPurpose.
Carl’s experience earlier this year on a smaller scale at PrecisionLender’s client advisory conference got him excited to connect more of the best bankers in a way that will elevate everyone.
This isn’t a conference to listen to a bank regulator talk about new paperwork you’ll need to fill out next year, this is an opportunity to meet bankers you’ve never met before and leave a few days later with new friends and a desire to do purposeful work – the best work of your life.
Hi, and welcome to Lender Performance. Your guide to becoming a better lender. I’m your host, Jessica Stone, Client Success Manager, here at PrecisionLender. Thanks for joining us. Today, you’re going to hear from our CEO, Carl Ryden, as he talks with our Director of Communications, Jim Young, about his decision to launch BankOnPurpose, our conference that’s coming up April 2016. Putting on an event like this really takes a lot of time and resources, so we wanted to let you listen in to Carl talk about why he thinks this is really important.
Carl, welcome and thanks for joining us. Putting on a conference is a pretty hefty undertaking. What’s the thinking behind creating this event and what are some of the big picture trends in banking that pushed you to do this?
The main thinking about putting on the BankOnPurpose conference was, we have a lot of interactions with our clients on a day-to-day basis. We find a lot of value in taking some of the ideas of great things that a banker over here may be doing and share it with a banker over there. That cross-pollination is extremely valuable to our clients. Last year, we ran an experiment. We did our own customer/client advisory board. We brought in some of our best clients and put them in a room together, so that they could share their experiences with one another. Things they’ve learned, things they’ve overcome, things they’ve done poorly, and things that they wish they could have a reset on.
Folks find that to be incredibly valuable. We did a client advisory conference which was our prototype for this conference, so we could learn exactly what we want this one to be. It turned out to be an enormous success. Folks who normally work, somewhat in isolation, within their bank could actually talk to the person doing exactly what they’re doing at another bank and share stories and recipes for success. Some people actually built great friendships that they stay in contact with one another, ongoing. Our idea was to take that and multiply it times 10 and to bring, not just our clients, but other folks together, so they could share stories about how they’re approaching pricing and customer acquisition. How they approach retention, how they approach revenue generation at the bank.
I had somewhat to do with it, but Brandi Haymore did the legwork and put together what we think is a fantastic conference focused on: How do we actually build a better bank and build a better business, and build better relationships with our customers?
I think you might have just answered question number two on my list, which was …
No, no, no. It’s fine. Which was, a lot of times people think of these things as user conferences. That this would be a PrecisionLender user conference. I’ve actually heard people specifically say, “That’s not what this is.” Sounds like, from your description, that you did a pretty good job explaining, but anything that you want to elaborate on with that?
The goal of the conference is to maximize the value for those who attend. We want to focus more broadly than our product and actually have it focus on the problems that they’re facing. A lot of those problems, it’s an area that we see as constantly being a blind spot for our customers is, not necessarily a blind spot, but something that is hard to maintain the focus on, they get pressure from the back of the bank, from regulators, from others, that forces them to focus on the details, as opposed to, on their customer relationships and how do we better serve our customers.
Part of what we’re trying to do is really push that conversation about how do we actually create value? How does the bank create value for its customers, and how do keep maintaining that focus? That’s where the genesis of it came from.
What about the name? BankOnPurpose, where does that come from exactly?
Two places. One is, we really liked the concept of bank on. “Bank on”, if you look it up in the dictionary, the definition is to rely on, to depend on, to trust, to build upon. All those were the things that are the positive things about being a bank. In fact, to bank on something, banks used to mean all those things, right? To be able to bank on something meant that you can rely on it, trust on it, build on it, rely upon it. What we were trying to do is restore, to take banking back to its roots. It’s something, a general trend in the industry we’re seeing is that, folks are coming back to, “Wait a minute, banking is not about how do we slip something by a customer or charge them an extra fee when they’re not looking?” We actually have to create value for our clients, for the bank’s clients. The “bank on” part was reclaiming that piece.
You got the “bank on” part of it then, what about the “purpose” part?
The purpose part really came from, there was a book that we found, that found its way to me, Selling With Noble Purpose, about how it’s not just the good thing to do, but actually is the most effective way of selling. In that book, the author, who’s also one of our speakers at the conference, (Lisa McLeod) highlighted, pointed to a guy named Roy Spence. Roy runs a marketing agency, there in Austin of all places, which we had already planned to have the conference there. Roy runs this thing called, The Purpose Institute, which is to help folks find their purpose and the businesses find their purpose. It was an absolutely perfect fit for the idea of focusing on the purpose of a business.
This is a quote from Roy, that he quotes, I think, Peter Drucker, “The purpose of any business is to create value for its customers. Profit isn’t the goal, it is the validation that you’ve done so.” I love that quote. I first heard it from Roy on a talk he gave and we approached Roy and said, “Hey, would you mind speaking at our conference?” He said, “I’ve been waiting for this conference to happen. I believe deeply in banks and particularly community banks and their ability to finance local businesses, have a huge impact in their community.” He started telling us about why we should do it. That’s where the name BankOnPurpose is that we combine Roy’s sense of purpose, of serving your customers and the idea of reclaiming this idea of trust and reclaiming bank as no longer a four letter word. It’s something that you can be proud of, to be a banker again.
Let’s say I’m a banker and I want to attend this conference. I’ve got to convince my boss. I’ve got to expense this, this is going to be the conference I want to go to. What’s sort of the, I guess, elevator pitch I should give for my boss for why I should go?
It really is about how do we reclaim the relationships with our customers? A lot of what we do at PrecisionLender is, one of our things we say on almost every sales, webcast and those things is, “Help your lenders win better deals and help them build stronger relationships with their customers, so that they can even win more better deals down the road.” Really this customer relationship being the center of that flywheel that you can continually charge up and gain value from, is the part of it.
The question is, we spend a lot of money and a lot of time on how to comply with regulators. We go to conferences on how to comply and satisfy the regulators, we ought to go to at least one conference and invest in our customers, and invest in our relationships with those customers and how do we go about creating value for them? Which actually creates value in our brand of who we are.
That’s something that we’ve learned over the years at PrecisionLender is, even though it’s focused on pricing, and profitability, and those things, which are the result, what we actually do is allow lenders to focus on putting together a better solution for that customer. That really helps you, not just, squeeze by a few basis points, it helps you actually earn them. Earn more profitability, earn more value, and actually build your franchise and your brand into something that’s meaningful. My one quick sales pitch is, how much do we invest on systems that keep us from doing deals? How much do we invest in regulatory compliance and those things that don’t create top line growth to the bank?
We ought to at least send our folks out, say, “Here’s how we actually build a brand, build a bank, and build revenue, build relationships with customers,” because that’s where the differentiation is and the value is.
Finally, Austin, I know you’re a music buff, is that why it’s going to be there, you going to Sixth Street or Austin City Limits?
Well, last year we did our CAB in North Carolina. We did it in Pinehurst. That was really well received. Folks got to come to Pinehurst and play Pinehurst No. 2 and those things. We might do that again, but we had a lot of folks who traveled a long way from the West Coast. We wanted a centrally located place in the springtime that would have really good odds of having really great weather and Austin was a great venue. It’s turned out to be even more beneficial. We also floated the idea, we used our customer advisory board to get feedback from them on what would be a good town. Austin received a great number votes, that because they felt it was a great town to be in the springtime.
There’s great music there. We got a band, a 80’s cover band, The Spazmatics, that’s going to play the first night. That will be good fun. Again, it’s not just about the information you take away. We learned this from our CAB (Client Advisory Board), as well, we’re going to have great content, great information, and some really fantastic speakers there, but the relationships that they’ll make with the other folks who are going along the same journey they’re going along, is one of the feedback we got from our CAB meeting, that they found most valuable. I think it was at the core of what we were trying to do from the very beginning. Again, taking that and expanding it out.
Makes sense to me. Thanks again for taking the time Carl.
Okay. That will wrap it up for this episode. Thank you again for listening. We will provide links and a few resources for BankOnPurpose in the show notes for this episode. You can always find those at precisionlender.com/podcasts. If you like what you’ve been hearing, make sure to subscribe to our feed in iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher. We’d love to get ratings and feedback from you on those platforms. Thanks again for tuning in. Until next time, this is Jessica Stone, and you’ve been listening to Lender Performance.
About the Author
Jim Young, Director of Communications at PrecisionLender, is an award-winning writer with experience in a range of positions in media and marketing, from reporter to website editor to content marketer. Throughout his career has focused on the story – how to find it, how to understand it, and how best to share it with others. At PrecisionLender he manages the many ways in which the company shares its philosophy on banking and the power of relationships Jim graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University and holds a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University.More Content by Jim Young