Charles has extensive experience as a banker and a consultant and is a well-known public commentator on financial services industry issues. Beginning his career with Citibank as a commercial lender, he also worked as a merchant banker with Schroders and Bankers Trust and as a consultant with Mercer Management Consulting and McKinsey & Co. before founding FIC Advisors in 1995.
Although it seems a thankless task at times, annual strategic planning provides an important driver of future financial results.
Proliferating product sets must be pruned back if banks are to achieve focused and profitable growth.
As banks renew their focus on middle-market lending, they may need to take a closer look at existing sales management and processes.
Financial institutions resemble people in that diagnostic reviews may be more successful and productive if they emphasize the positive rather than just harping on the negatives.
To strengthen bonds with commercial customers, banks need to reorient the role of relationship managers to more sales activity and credit authority and less administrative and compliance work.
Issues of organizational structure and reporting lines need to be resolved if banks are to get the most out of their small business banking efforts.