Yesterday, Canada’s TD Bank agreed to buy Commerce Bancorp for about $8.5 billion. I won’t spend any time discussing the merits of the deal (we’ll leave that to the financial analysts), but I do think that this will have an impact on customer experiences with banks — hopefully.
Commerce Bank, centered in New Jersey, has distinguished itself with a unique approach to branch banking — convenience. The bank describes itself as “America’s Most Convenient Bank.” I can’t say whether or not it lives up to that slogan, but it’s branches (which stay open 7 days/week) do provide a level of service that is well beyond most other banks.
My take: It really helps to have a single-minded focus on a customer-centric attribute like convenience when you’re trying to improve customer experience. Think about Staples’ single-minded focus on delivering interactions that make customers think “that was easy.” Every Commerce employee can ask him/herself: “Is what I’m doing now, or the decision that I am about to make, going to make customers think we are convenient?” This type of focus can be powerfully aligning!
So here’s where hopefully comes into play. Hopefully TD will provide the scale to expand Commerce Bank’s customer-centric approach into a wider geographic footprint. Is this because I want Commerce Bank to take over the world? No. I just want it to create enough of a threat to get other banks (BofA, Citi, Wells Fargo — are you listening?) more serious about their customer experience efforts.
For more context on the customer experience issues with banks, take a look a previous post called: Banks Prepare For Customer Experience Wars.
The bottom line: An expansion of Commerce Bank could mean better customer experiences for all consumers — hopefully!