Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Hey, as a consumer, I'm all for competitive rates and a great customer experience. And a lot of banks, especially big ones, made some really bad decisions over the last few years. What really bothers me is this company, with this management team, is leading this charge. Here are some facts:
- Ally Bank is the former GMAC Bank started in 2001 and re-branded in May, 2009. It is a unit of GMAC Financial Services, an organization that, since December of 2008, has received $16 billion in TARP Funds.
- The senior management team is run by former executives of some of the largest (and most troubled) banks including Bank of America and Citigroup.
So basically, we have an organization that is run by the same people who built these "traditional banks" that they say don't meet the needs of their customers. And their capital comes from the Federal Government, which stepped in and saved the failing parent. Interesting.
For those of us out here in the "real world" of financial services, who didn't get TARP funds, don't have the luxury of a new start, and struggle with a myriad of confusing regulations, give us a break. We really are trying to do the right things for our customers.
Wow, glad I got that off my chest. Now if this damn snow would just go away......
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
FISC's current research project relates to new media and social networking in Japan's financial services industry. As input, they are seeking best practice examples from leading U.S. financial institutions that are leaders in the use of social media. Based on Mr. Prentice's research, he felt that 1st Mariner Bank was one of the organizations that they should meet. This was the first visit on their five day trip across the country that includes meetings with Bank of America, Umpqua Bank, and Wells Fargo. We are honored to be included in this short list of U.S. financial institutions.
There are over 700 banks and credit unions in Japan, ranging from four mega-banks to over 600 smaller community institutions under $2 billion. Adoption rates have lagged behind other industries, where 10.5% of all businesses are active in social networks while FI's are at 6.9%. Mixi, the largest social network in Japan, has over 17.9 million users, so there is plenty of opportunity to connect with these consumers.
- Given the conservative nature of the banking industry in Japan, it has been very difficult to get consensus across the organization to engage their customers through the social networks.
- The Japanese culture is one of collaboration. So many of the initial social media efforts have focused on internal corporate use for information sharing and communication.
- Selecting and agreeing on the target markets. Again, by working through a consensus management style, it takes time to make these decisions and take action.
The challenge they face is that social media is messy, always changing, and an uncontrollable space. Sometimes you just have to have an initial plan, make the leap, and learn on the fly.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
For those who are good enough to win these local competitions, there is the opportunity to be nominated and compete in the national business plan competition in New York, for $10,000. Ten9Eight: Shoot for the Moon , from award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio, follows these students as they prepare for and compete in this very intense competition. As a NFTE volunteer at Patterson High School in East Baltimore, I am the mentor for two students, William Mack and Ja'Mal Wills (pictured above), who are featured in this film. Their company, J & W Sensations, produces an all natural skin lotion. As a mentor and friend of these guys, I am incredibly proud of them and all they have accomplished. The film was released nationally in November and will debut on BET this Sunday, February 7th at 12 noon. I encourage everyone to watch this powerful and moving story about these young entrepreneurs from around the country.