How To Forge A Working Relationship With Bankers
Banking, just like insurance and financial services, is a relationship business. The banker can ask clients questions about insurance, wills, trusts and business arrangements. Many bankers are in the unique position to motivate this type of essential planning but usually dont have the knowledge to get it implemented.
We in the life insurance and financial services industry, however, do have this knowledge. An alliance between a bank and advisor can benefit both parties.
After all, bankers are not insurance experts. And, despite their banking experience, they often are not financial planning experts. Many bankers, finding themselves suddenly in charge of an insurance section, are overwhelmed.
They are looking for someone who is ready, willing and able to help them succeed at the business. As advisors, we are perfectly positioned to be that person.
A working relationship
Its important to understand what the bank wants and needs from a relationship with an advisor. After all, the advisor will need to sell the bank on exactly why their relationship will be beneficial to both parties.
First, in todays marketplace banks may feel as though they are losing control of assets. Given lower interest rates, consumers are investing less in certificates of deposit (CDs) and putting more money into higher-earning mutual funds and/or annuities and tax-favored vehicles.
Many bankers feel that if they could get a commission on that money as it left, and know where and how the money was invested, they would have an opportunity to win the money back at a later time. To do this, they need to be involved in the sales process.
Second, as bank margins are shrinking, more bankers are paying attention to fee income. Bankers understand the sense of not “reinventing the wheel.” Most are not eager to start their insurance operations from scratch, preferring to buy experience by buying insurance agencies or establishing joint ventures.
This is where the advisor enters the picture. Once you have established a formal relationship with a bank, you must establish a good working relationship with your bankers (including management heads, loan officers and rank and file people).
There is a misconception that if you work with a bank agency, or if you work in a bank, the bank will automatically feed you leads. And all you do is sit in the back room and write applications.
That doesnt happen. Bankers will only deal with you if they believe you are bringing something to the table that is unique in the marketplace. Bankers are looking for some trait, quality or value that will help them foster a better relationship and more business with the client.
Bankers fiercely guard their client relationships and will not bring you into the relationship mix with their client unless they believe that:
You know what you are doing;
You are not there just to make a sale;
You are there to take care of their customer the best way you know how; and