Management Strategies

07:50 PM
Art Gillis
Art Gillis
Commentary
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New Priorities for Bank CEOs: Technology Is Not One of Them

New priorities for bank CEOs: It's not that IT is losing ground, but CEOs are more focused on the challenges of making money in today's uncertain regulatory and competitive environment.

Are you all screaming with disagreement yet? This will calm you down. It's not that IT lost any ground; it's just that the CEO's plate is full with other challenges that threaten the safety of any bank. To give you an idea as to what the priorities were before the "crunch," here's what was on the mind of any bank CEO who was aware of the world he lived in:

  • Credit quality.
  • Next quarter's earnings report.
  • Shareholder value.
  • Customer loyalty.
  • The wrong acquirer.
  • Value of technology (all banks have some, some banks have weak tech, no bank has perfect tech).
  • Who lost the customer database?
  • The bank examiners are where?
  • Is Alan [Greenspan] at a podium today?
  • Today the list is much more critical:

  • How close are we to Sheila [Bair]'s List (the FDIC Problem List of 844 banks close to the edge of failing, but not quite)?
  • Are we in the black yet?
  • How can we earn new money without destroying customer loyalty?
  • How is Congress hurting our profitability?
  • How do we achieve our earnings goal under the new paradigm of banking?
  • Have we found a buyer yet?
  • What kind of baloney is Ben [Bernanke] slinging today?
  • Who said the recovery has started?
  • I think it's safe to say that banking is not out of the woods yet. So until the new "normal" proves to be a sound place to conduct business, any huge multi-million dollar IT projects will have to wait. But maintenance and upkeep will be as routine as feeding an 800-pound gorilla.

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