January 30, 2008

According to Rodney Banks, if a bank wishes to thrive in a stuttering economy, building customer relationships must be placed at the top of its list. As the new executive VP and manager of commercial banking services at Los Angeles-based City National Bank ($15 billion in assets), Banks says CRM solutions will be more vital now than ever before.

"As the economy continues to slow down, our clients are really going to look to us for financial solutions," Banks explains. "Our CRM tools are key to helping our colleagues get a complete picture of our relationships with clients."

Among the other customer-facing technologies that will see continued demand, adds Banks -- who spent the past eight years at Bank of America as head of business and commercial banking -- are those around remote deposit capture.

Banks' strategy for overseeing the delivery of credit, depository and cash management services to middle-market companies will involve close work with IT. "The technologies that are the most user-friendly and the most intuitive will survive," he says. "So my challenge is to work closely with our IS [Information Services] department and other areas of the bank to make sure we continue to produce and offer the capabilities that will help our clients grow, and that will also attract new clients."