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8 min read

That Pesky Intern

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The truth stings when it comes to transformation 

We now join a special GonzoBanker “look behind the scenes” at Van De Lay Bank and Trust. CEO Marvin Fredrick is meeting with CFO Glenda Jenkins to go over their latest investor deck, which will highlight 2022 earnings performance and emphasize the strategic strength of the institution. The two have asked their new college intern, Tony Juarez, to join them because he’s “really good at PowerPoint.”

Marv (CEO): I tell ya’ Christmas came early in Q4 with that margin expansion. Hate to say it but ol’ Jay Powell may have saved our jobs, Glenda. Anyway, I want to really sexy up the investor deck this time and even use some of this stuff in our annual report. So, Tony my man, I need you to help me make our presentation look edgy… you know, up-to-date.

Tony (Intern): You bet, Mr. Fredrick.

Glenda (CFO): I’ll tell you what’s edgy, Marv. The scary edge we are walking on with our deposit rates. I don’t know how long we can hold these funding costs so low. We must get smart about how we’re generating deposits but not paying through the nose for them.

Tony (Intern): That’s a good point, Glenda. You know I opened a money market account online here when I was awarded the internship last month, and it was a really difficult process. I had to e-mail information with some hand-signed forms. It wasn’t that way with my Square Cash account or my Capital One credit card.

Marv (CEO): Well I hear we’re getting better at that process, Tony. We will fix that with the new LinkForce system we rolled out last year.

Glenda (CFO): Don’t get me started. I still can’t believe what we’re paying for LinkForce.

Tony (Intern): With due respect sir, I’m not sure our online channel is so great. Bank of America did 1.6 million digital sales in the consumer division last quarter, and that’s up about 70% from just three years ago. Here at Van De Lay, we opened only 426 accounts last quarter and it’s flatlined… not growing.

Marv (CEO): Hmmm. Well as a relationship bank, I’m not so sure we can depend on the digital channel to raise deposits anyway. Sounds pricey. We need our bankers out on the street, Tony. I like to say we will raise deposits by using shoe leather. (chuckles)

Glenda (CFO): I agree that our team can be more proactive, but Marv, we do need some technology “sizzle” in this deck. It’s odd, but more and more analysts are asking me about our technology strategy and what we are doing with digital. I gotta have something.

Tony (Intern): You know, Glenda, I had lunch with Colleen from IT at the café. It seems like we’re frustrated with MonoLith and our outsourcing relationship. Like all our enhancement requests have been sitting there for more than a year, and last month with that e-statement issue they weren’t even calling us back!

Marv (CEO): Yeah, sometimes I feel like choking those guys.

Tony (Intern): My roommate Josh works over at Experience Credit Union. Marv, they’re like one-third our size and they’ve done some pretty cool stuff with mobile. Josh is working on this platform that does video and AI-driven chatbots through their contact center. I think it would be great to look into those things.

Marv: Tell your friend Josh his employer needs to pay taxes. Now, back to the deck. Glenda, we need a page that highlights our commercial relationship managers – all the great bankers we’re stealing from the big guys. Tony, make some kind of map of our markets and the senior RMs we have in each market. Let’s get the investors excited about our footprint and growth prospects this year.

Glenda (CFO): Love it, Marv! Gotta have some growth to make all these numbers foot. 

Tony (Intern): I agree we totally can grow. When I look at the benchmarks from Cornerstone Advisors that Denise has down in Finance, it shows we have $850 million of portfolio capacity with the existing officers we have. But Denise says our net growth isn’t happening right now. Wondering if we could help the RMs network more out there. I have tried to connect with all our senior lenders on LinkedIn and many of them don’t even have photos on their profiles. With all their business knowledge and the work they do in the community, it seems like we could upgrade our social presence. Did you know our 84 loan officers did a total of 11 LinkedIn posts last month? At least that’s what Amber in Marketing told me.

Marv: Tony you are a bundle of ideas… but we have a deck to finish. And, you need to make me a map with our markets and RMs. I do appreciate your perspective, and you know we’ll bring up the LinkedIn idea sometime in our officer meeting.

Glenda: Oh yeah, Marv, we also need to hit the DEI strategy in the deck and on the earnings calls. This is important and a good thing for our organization. But even more pressing, I have folks like BlackRock and Fidelity digging into this and asking for more detail.

Tony: That’s a good priority, Glenda. I think we could attract greater top talent if we focused more on what Van De Lay Bank stands for and also commit more to careers and training. I wanted to take this Microsoft Power BI class but was told I didn’t need it for my role. My girlfriend Brooke works at Etsy, and they have this whole training regimen tied to your career path and executives there teach classes and it’s cool. She’s aiming to be a director next year. With DEI, her company has published these corporate goals around diversity and environmental commitment, which is pretty impressive.

Glenda: We need to be careful with measurements. I think for the deck let’s keep things fairly general. It’s a sensitive environment out there.

Marv: So, Tony, all good stuff. Love your energy kid! But we’re running out of time and I need to ask you if there is a better way to color the stacked bar charts. Maybe it’s just my old eyes, but this seems unreadable to me. How ’bout dark blue, gray, and then black?

Authors Note:

Esteemed GonzoBankers, the road to shareholder value is going to take more than the typical “blocking and tackling” we all grew up on in the banking industry. We take pride in our banks, but it doesn’t mean we can’t give ourselves a hard look in the mirror when it comes to digital growth, taking control of IT, modernizing relationship management, putting teeth into our commitment to talent, and creating stakeholder value. We’re busy and stressed for the next earnings call, but sometimes it makes sense to pause, take a mindful breath, and listen to that damn intern!

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