Ironing out the cultural differences between bankers and brokers is crucial to any successful joint venture.
Here are a few tips to make the task easier:
Make sure that management is committed to the business.
Some "senior management say they want to be in the business, but it stops right there," said Stephen Angelis, president of the brokerage unit at CCB Financial Corp., Durham, N.C.
He suggested that senior management establish referral goals for the branches. If a branch fails to achieve the goal, management needs to hold it accountable, Mr. Angelis said.
What's more, he said, the commitment needs to be ongoing. Management "should not say 'make referrals' and then say 'stop because we need to concentrate on loans,'" he said.
Solve turf battles early on.
Banks have rarely paid people on a commission basis, and brokers' salaries may exceed those of managers- and even bank presidents. That can leave branch employees bitter, and discourage them from making referrals.
"It is helpful to implement compensation plans where bank people can earn referral fees, said Richard Ayotte, a consultant with American Brokerage Consultants, St. Petersburg, Fla. "It levels the perceived difference between brokers and bankers," he said.
Help brokers understand a bank's nuances and vice versa.
Kenneth Kehrer, a Princeton, N.J.-based consultant, recalled a dispute he once mediated between a bank and a third-party marketing firm.
The firm had placed its No. 2 producer at the bank, but the bank wanted the broker fired. The broker had unknowingly angered employees by not putting a dime in the kitty when he took coffee. Employees were also disturbed that he made personal calls from work.
The broker was eventually transferred to another bank. It "points to how the cultural fit is critically important to the success of the program," Mr. Kehrer said.