Thirty years ago this month the internet came online giving consumers the ability to educate themselves on various products and services long before they ever spoke to an expert. For financial services, it signaled a shift in how bankers worked with customers.
No longer was it incumbent on consumers to come to a branch to learn the basics around trust products, which are those that require some level of advice or expertise. Today, consumers come to the branch with a firm idea of what they want and need out of their financial products, but still seeking advice around the right solutions and strategies to finalize their decision.
This is in part why, 18 years ago, BBVA Compass began its current program to certify its branch bankers around those same products. Today, BBVA Compass remains one of the only banks with a licensed banker program, where it offers to sponsor bankers to receive life, health and insurance licenses, as well as their Series 6 and 63 securities licenses.
Franco: Having this program, and these bankers, puts us in a position to have more sophisticated conversations to find the right solutions and strategies with customers...
“We have approximately 1,000 licensed bankers now, with 1,500 that are mortgage certified,” said BBVA Compass Retail Banking Segment Executive Larry Franco. “Having this program, and these bankers, puts us in a position to have more sophisticated conversations to find the right solutions and strategies with customers who are looking to have an investment position with the bank, not to mention the part it plays in how trusting they are of our ability to help them make the right decisions for their financial situation.”
To become a licensed bank employee, bankers must be recommended for the program by their Branch Retail Executive, after which they take a six to eight week self-directed learning course. Certifications available to these employees include life and health insurance products including fixed annuities, life insurance and health insurance, as well as Series 6 and 63 securities licenses. When fully licensed with an insurance license and securities licenses the banker becomes an Investment Representative, and Registered Representative of BBVA Compass Investment Solutions.
A BBVA Compass business card of a fully licensed banker with an insurance license and securities licenses.
Mortgage Certified Employees, while not originators of mortgages, receive specialized training that gives them insight and knowledge into the origination process so they can advise and council customers looking to purchase a home loan.
Franco said the certification programs work alongside the effort to right-size the branch to reflect changing customer expectations. He said that instead of hiring new tellers, they are upgrading the position to a universal banker that can provide more advice and has new skills, training, core competencies and a career path to grow in the bank.
Franco: The branch itself is part of a customer ecosystem that together with ATM, Mobile and Online Banking forms a complete network.
“Twenty-first century branches are so much more than a place people come to deposit a check,” Franco said. “The branch itself is part of a customer ecosystem that together with ATM, Mobile and Online Banking forms a complete network. The people in the branch are no longer order takers, but are instead universal bankers and technologists, blending their conversations between talking about and teaching the technology that will help a customer manage their finances and providing the trusted advice customers need to make the smartest choice for their individual situation.”
To read more on the changing role of the branch, from three different bank perspectives, click here.
To locate a BBVA Compass branch near you, click here.