To the Editor:

I suspect that if the American Banker/Gallup consumer survey (page 1 articles, May 18 and 19) differentiated between customers of large banks versus community banks, then the smaller banks' "margin of victory" on the consumer trust issue would be even more pronounced.

We might very well find that community banks have not lost ground to competing types of organizations, at least to the extent that large banks have. It is not inconceivable that between 1995 and 1999 community banks might have increased their margin of victory.

In the work I do with sales cultures, it is increasingly clear that banks have not thought enough about the underlying philosophy and values implicit in their sales training. As a result, they are often selecting sales processes that damage the trust factor.

As a result, consumers come to see many banks as no different from insurance companies or stock brokerages, and their trust advantage narrows.

As important as the strategic decision is to strengthen a bank's sales capabilities, it is equally important to base the sales-training philosophy on sound values and ethics-if banks are to avoid squandering the lead they have in the trust category.

Arthur J. Foley


Leadership Development Systems, Cary, N.C.

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