Three steps to strategic growth

Apr 18, 2017

Find out how financial institutions can effectively identify where the opportunities are and how they can create winning strategies for sustainable growth.

All financial institutions are working on the delicate balance between growth, efficiency and improving the customer experience. A comprehensive growth strategy is integral to banking, but developing such a plan can be a significant undertaking – one that takes critical resources away from day-to-day operations. What is the best way for financial institutions to identify their greatest areas of opportunity and create a strategy to manage success and achieve sustainable growth?

At Fiserv, we consult daily with financial institutions on these very challenges, taking a three-step approach that addresses short-term issues and helps set up our clients for future growth and profitability. So what does that entail?

Step 1 – Fix Leakage and Solidify Customer Experience

The first thing we do when we work with any financial institution is to complete a thorough review of how all existing fees and charges are being collected. Banks are complex organisations with multiple systems, processes and products. With that complexity comes a likelihood that something will not work quite as it should. From the bank perspective, even if 99 percent of all revenue due is being collected, one percent is still missing. Once these errors are found, they can usually be fixed very quickly – sometimes in a matter of days and at little or no cost. Collecting extra revenue without added cost means it flows straight to the bottom line with a multiplier effect on profitability.

On the other side of the equation, the same process will reveal any areas that may lead to overcharging and help identify risks to customers, so they can be addressed at an early stage. Having previously worked for a bank that underwent such a review and pro-actively rectified an inadvertent error, I have seen first-hand the impact this can have on customer trust and loyalty. 

Step 2 – Optimise Existing Products and Services

Next we look at optimising existing products and processes to improve efficiency. Fiserv works with the financial institution to identify small changes that can have a disproportionate effect on customer experience or profitability. This crosses all business lines, such as credit cards, current or transactional accounts, business banking, vehicle finance, personal lending, and mortgages. For example, a financial institution may find that something as simple as a tweak to a loan repayment schedule can provide customers with extra breathing space when they need it most, and also improve the ROI of that loan. Seemingly minor changes to product configurations and parameter settings can, if well targeted, have a material impact on existing revenue streams and customer experience. 

Step 3 – Rethink Product for Future Growth

Having optimised the current portfolio, let’s think about the future. It’s not enough to just distribute existing products to the same customers through new channels. To drive growth, those products need to be built differently and distributed to groups of customers previously unreached or underserved by banks. Digital technologies create multiple possibilities, but to realise the full potential banks need to think differently, putting customer need rather than any existing bank product at the centre.

Micro credit is a great example. Short-term, small-value lending has traditionally been difficult for banks to offer cost effectively, so consumers and businesses have often relied on other sources of funding. Digital technology combined with creative product design, creates a great opportunity for banks to extend their reach, grow their customer base, and deliver financial services that meet the needs of people’s lives.

The Long and the Short of It

Through steps one and two, it’s all about making the small changes that can make a big impact, whilst ensuring that future initiatives build on a solid core. In step three, we’re looking much more ambitiously at the things that can really help a financial institution evolve the relationships with their customers, and stand out from the competition.

At Fiserv, we’ve helped some of the world’s top banks address short-term profitability and lead innovation within their respective markets. Solutions are tailored to enhance competitive advantage, and our clients say that our methodologies continually enhance their internal best practices. The greatest testimony to our success is that our clients partner with us year after year to ensure they consistently meet their growth targets and accomplish their business goals. By Jon Causier, Head of Consulting – Asia Pacific and Africa, Financial Performance Services, Fiserv

About the Author

Jon Causier has nearly 20 years of experience in financial services both as a practitioner within a major UK bank and as the leader of an international consulting team providing advice to some of the world’s leading financial institutions. At Fiserv, Causier leads the Financial Performance Services consulting team in the Asia Pacific Region. He held a number of roles within the NatWest/RBS Group, most recently as head of strategy for transactional accounts. He earned a Master of Arts degree in social and political science from Cambridge University and a Master of Business Administration with distinction from London Business School.



Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV) enables clients to achieve best-in-class results by driving quality and innovation in payments, processing services, risk and compliance, customer and channel management, and business insights and optimisation. For more than 30 years, Fiserv has been a global leader in financial services technology. This year, Fiserv was honoured to be named a FORTUNE® magazine's World's Most Admired Company for the third consecutive year; in 2015 the company was recognised among Forbes magazine's America's Best Employers. Fiserv drives innovation that transforms experiences for more than 13,000 clients worldwide including banks, credit unions and thrifts, billers, mortgage lenders and leasing companies, brokerage and investment firms and other business clients.

For more information, visit

To engage with us :

- Follow us on Twitter

- Join us on LinkedIn by searching for Fiserv

- Email Marketing at

Other Articles