Huntington Banks

A Bank of Ideas

This has been approved by the client for public disclosure.

 

First, A Little Context

This year, the banking industry is facing unprecedented regulation on how banks may generate revenue. Fee income — especially overdraft fees — are under pressure. The industry is seeing billions of dollars of revenue evaporate overnight.

As a consumer, you might think this is jolly. But put yourself in the shoes of a banker. How are you supposed to earn money? And why can’t you charge money when people spend money they don’t have?

Sure, the banking industry, working to maximize shareholder value, maximized fee revenue. Certain innovations were suspect, such as the fee-maximizing order of debits hitting a customer’s statement. Eventually, consumer advocates protested: “Wait! We can’t run an economy when a latte might cost $37.50.” Or something like that.

 

So what happened with the ideation?

At Huntington National Bank, a $53 billion regional bank, the CEO issued the charge: bring revolutionary ideas, not incremental ideas.

Working with executives and branch level personnel, I trained separate teams of bankers and facilitated iterative and parallel ideation sessions. During 2010, we developed several hundred ideas, many worthy of executive consideration, many worthy of market research testing, and at least one worthy of implementation. (More on that below.)

While I’m not permitted to reveal more about the process, the most beautiful part is this: the ideas came from the front-line bankers, the people who best know what customers want and what bankers can offer and deliver.

And the other most beautiful part: front-line bankers, whose daily job is largely the implementation of policy, enjoyed a critical role in shaping the future of their bank. One said, “This was a life-affirming experience.”

In the end, according to several news reports, including this from “Huntington Reports Huge Profit Increase In Fourth Quarter” in The Columbus Dispatch (1/17/13):

“This year’s results clearly showed the continued benefit of our investments and our differentiated strategy,” said Stephen Steinour, the company’s chairman, president and CEO. The company has rolled out products that, for example, give customers 24 hours to cover overdrafts before a fee is imposed.

 

What was the Big Idea?

You can see the bank’s web presentation of 24-Hour Grace right here.

We delivered on the revolutionary. According to public news releases from Huntington:

24-Hour Grace is the first-and-only service of its kind and gives Huntington consumer customers additional time during the next business day to cover overdrafts on their checking accounts.

 

So what?

Here’s what:

  • Your current team is not exhausted.
  • Everyone is creative. Even banks. Especially bankers.

Every member of your team has new ideas. They just need training and encouragement.

 

That’s what I do. I am here for you.