In our upcoming May issue of Bank Investment Consultant (out next week), we have a couple of offerings that add more value if taken together than they do separately. (I’m not usually one for jargon, but I believe that’s that they call synergy.)

I can’t give you the full scoop, but I can talk about the nutshell version. We have our annual top-20 program managers, a list highlighting the best program bosses in the channel. It’s an interesting look at what strategies the best leaders in this business are pursuing. Many of them strike the same chords: the importance of good hiring, fostering a team atmosphere and so forth.

In the same issue, you’ll also see our exclusive, quarterly BIC survey. Every three months, we survey our top-50 bank reps—our other big ranking, this one from the December issue—on a specific topic. This one was on cross selling.

What were the results? One: cross selling is really important. Two: Most banks aren’t doing it very well.

As much as banks and bank reps want to tap into the cross sell potential, the right incentives often aren’t in place to get employees outside the investment program to act the right way.

Granted, this was a very limited universe as far as surveys are concerned, so the conclusions are more anecdotal than scientific. But as anecdotal evidence goes, this illustrates a lot of missed opportunities. Only half of the respondents said they get even as much as 20% of their assets from referrals from their bank’s tellers.

We talked to a few outside experts for ways that bank reps can help themselves. But they say the biggest problem is still the cultural differences between tellers, who are customer service oriented, and advisors, who are more sales oriented.

So you can try to change the culture, or you can put new incentives in place. But by and large, our program managers didn’t talk about those issues.

Again, this is anecdotal. Most of the program managers highlighted in our magazine only got a paragraph, so it’s possible that they are indeed working on this. But at the very least, it doesn’t seem top of mind, even while our survey indicates that it should be. And that’s what seems like the missed opportunity.


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