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l e a d i n g

a d v o c a t e

f o r

t h e

b a n k i n g

i n d u s t r y

i n

k a n s a s




strategic planning is an important ingredient in the

success of a financial institution. Economic, financial,

regulatory, technological and operational challenges

require a more in-depth and comprehensive planning

process. The current risk environment in the financial industry

also has led regulators to ask for a more comprehensive plan

that addresses all of these concerns.

Historically, many financial institutions have viewed strategic

planning as an exercise to meet regulatory requirements

or better engage the board of directors and management in

planning the institution’s future. While these planning meetings

had the potential to truly impact the future performance of the

institution, many times they were not successful. The following

tips and ideas can help you develop a more comprehensive plan

with a better chance for success.

In the past, strategic plans have traditionally included goals and

objectives to address some of the following areas:

• Financial performance

• Employee development

• Operations

• Growth & expansion

• Credit quality

• Succession issues

However, to increase the potential success of the plan, financial

institutions should consider also establishing goals and

strategies for the following new emerging risks:

• Asset liability management

• Interest rate risk

• Liquidity

• Capital planning

• Debt repayment, including trust-preferred, TARP & SBLF

• New regulations & the impact on the bank’s business


• Succession issues related to officers, directors &


• Creating liquidity for owners & shareholders

The goal is to not only provide strategies for addressing these

new risks in the industry today but also to provide value to the

organization and put it on a path to success.

To further increase the effectiveness and value of the strategic

planning, here are some tips that can increase the opportunity

to create a successful value-added strategic plan:

1. Engage a trained facilitator with experience in creative

problem solving and strategic planning in the financial

institution industry; using a formal process with an

experienced facilitator will dramatically improve the


2. Commit to spend as much or more time in planning the

session as executing the session; a trained facilitator can

assist in this area. Planning is an essential ingredient to a

successful outcome.

3. Make the process action-oriented. Leave the strategic

planning session with an effective action list, including

specific responsibilities and timelines.

4. Keep it simple. Consider limiting the number of action

items to a realistic and manageable number. Overreaching

in this process leads to inaction. Think quality over

quantity—do not try to pass the weight test!

5. Keep the meeting short. Be fair with the time

commitment; while strategic planning is important,

spending too much time in the actual session can be

draining and inefficient.

6. Choose the team carefully. Selecting planning retreat

attendees is important. While implementation of the ideas

likely will involve a wider audience, the leadership team

should set the strategy.

7. Consider inviting a trusted business advisor to the

session; the right advisor can add value.

8. Stick to the agenda. Often, the group will veer off on

tangents. A trained facilitator can help keep the team on


9. Carefully choose the location. Offsite locations can

decrease distractions, but the room needs to be properly

sized and have appropriate logistics.

10. Don’t let it get stale! The strategic plan needs to be part of

future team meetings and should be a working document

to help guide your organization to successful outcomes.

Overall, a well-planned strategic planning session can add

value by setting the institution on a course for improved

and sustainable performance that will not only allow you to

address your challenges but also help you survive in today’s


This information was written by qualified, experienced BKD professionals, but

applying specific information to your situation requires careful consideration

of facts and circumstances. Consult your BKD advisor before acting on any

matter covered here.

Article reprinted with permission from BKD, LLP,

. All rights reserved.



By Donald Hutson, Jr., CPA

BKDNational Financial Service Industry Partner