Bankers: Think about what gets measured.
“What gets measured, gets managed.” Why did we need Peter Drucker to point this out? Educators are forever carping about standardized tests because they are spending a lot of time on teaching kids to improve their test scores.
Baseball players are measured on batting average, on base and slugging percentages. So they are spending significant energy to improve them. Why is this a bad thing?
Because in banking, what we measure is not always consistent with where we want our institution to go… i.e. with our strategy. We measure branches by number of accounts opened. And we’re surprised that Wells Fargo gets accused of opening accounts without customers’ knowledge. We measure lenders by size of portfolio, and we’re surprised that we drop rate, points, and covenants to get deals done.
I recently did a podcast for PrecisionLender regarding this subject for lenders entitled: Using Bank Data to Get Better Results. That’s right, I did a podcast. I only learned a few months ago what a podcast was.
But if you didn’t invest the twenty minutes to listen to the interview, I’ll exemplify my comments about another way to measure lender performance. The age-old measure by portfolio has led to what we have today… lenders willing to make any concession to get a deal done. A done deal is the best deal.
But what if your strategy revolves around superior service to a certain commercial customer segment? How would you measure it. Most likely the size of the lenders portfolio plays a part. But should the lender be the best price if he/she provides the best advice? That runs the risk of providing Four Seasons service at Motel 6 prices.
So I suggested using different measurements, such as coterminous spread, coterminous spread less provision, pre-tax portfolio profit, and ROE. See my suggestion exemplified in the table below.
Now this lender’s portfolio may be considered small, at $30.3 million in the current period. But it has been growing, while maintaining its spread. When considering the provision expense, which brings credit quality into the picture, spread has grown from 1.95% to 2.01%, all while growing the average balance of the portfolio.
You can see this portfolio took a credit hit in CP-1, as the provision spiked a bit, possibly due to a loan downgrade and the resulting provision increase.
But overall this lender’s trend is good, as represented by the ROE increase from 15.89% to 17.34%. Which brings us to a second report I suggest for lender accountability, the Schmidlap National Bank Lender Ranking Report.
It is clear from this report that Jeff’s portfolio is relatively small, ranking him 8th of 12 lenders. This contributes to the bottom half ranking in Net Asset Spread on a dollar basis, Net Asset Spread Less Provision on a dollar basis and ROE.
But the portfolio is growing, ranking him 3rd, and the Net Asset Spread percentage has him 2nd, even when considering the provision. So there are some positives in Jeff’s performance. Which is good because I wouldn’t want to be let go from my fictitious lending job at a fictitious bank.
Imagine the behavior that would ensue if you held your lenders similarly accountable? The performance review would go like this: “Jeff you are doing an excellent job maintaining pricing while growing your portfolio with strong credits. Your biggest challenge is continuing to grow the portfolio. For this upcoming period, Schmidlap will do x, x, and x to help you accomplish this while staying in the top quartile for spread. Let’s do this!”
I know Jeff pretty well, and being ranked in the bottom half of his peers won’t sit well. Let me get back to some fictitious work!
How do you measure lender performance?