Introducing the Wow factor

Felix Thomson

Content Executive

The Financial Services Forum

Providing what the customers want isn’t rocket science, says Vernon Hill, founder and chief executive of Commerce Bank, the fastest growing retail bank in the United States. But you have to take an imaginative approach. Anthony Thomson talks to Hill about how he grew the business from a standing start to $45 billion in assets – in a market the competitors believed was mature.
How would you describe Commerce Bank?
We are a power retailer that happens to be a bank. Power retailers redefine customer expectations and delivery. Our goal is Fans Not Customers.
Are there other retail models you admire?
We focus on companies that are delivering a differentiating value added experience, which the customer will pay for. Starbucks is the closest thing to us. They can sell coffee for $5 when the guy outside is selling it for $1. The customer is buying something other than the product. I really admire them. I used to love Home Depot. Growth retailer companies run out of momentum partially because their older facilities are not as good as their newer facilities. Home Depot will admit that they let competitors gain ground by under investing in their older stores. If you go around all of our stores, I hope you will see that our older stores look almost as good as our brand new stores. When we do something, we do it company-wide.
What drives your business?
Rapidly growing low cost core deposits by delivering an exceptional customer experience.
And yet, when we last spoke, your deposit rates
were not particularly competitive.
Customers choose Commerce for convenience and the experience. We build relationships with service, not the highest rates.
To read the full article, please download the PDF above. 

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