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Discovery Bank survey provides insight, understanding

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Discovery Bank recently did an informal survey of real estate managers, multifamily housing managers, site managers, property managers and staff members of property management companies. The result has given the bank insight into and a better understanding of the services the line staff find relevant in assisting them with their day-to-day activities.

The responses to the survey were in some cases surprising and rather interesting.

Of the individuals who are "on the ground" managing properties, not the owners and not corporate office of management companies, here is what was indicated most important to them in terms of the banking piece:

1. Courier Service 52 percent 2. Online forms that can be downloaded 52 percent 3. Daily management reports 52 percent 4. Paying bills online 44 percent 5. Dedicated account professionals 40 percent 6. Easy open and close of accounts 36 percent 7. Check image technology 32 percent 8. Credit card processing 32 percent

As property owners or property management companies, did you know this? This may be a good opportunity to discover what helps your own people and why. Maybe an informal query to staff, "If I could give you one more tool to assist you to be successful in your position, what would that be?"

How often do we assume that we know what our staff wants or needs? As I mentioned, the answer that surprised me most from the survey was that more than half of the managers wanted courier service to take all deposits to the bank. Did you know that? In my experience many property owners believe that their managers want the task of going to the bank. They feel, in some cases, that a good half-day of work is therefore missed. Knowing the reality, would this cause you to re-engineer your banking processes?

This was a survey asking questions relevant to banking only. What else is there that could improve your company efficiency and/or profitability? We ask our customers at least twice a year what we can provide for them to make their business better, easier, more profitable or more efficient. Due to the responses we have received, we have begun to deliver educational seminars on a variety of topics including: human resource management, leadership skills, self-marketing and sales as problem solving.

We have also developed a series of "mixers" that allow our clients to meet each other and therefore do business together. Contractors meeting subcontractors, building owners meeting contractors, management companies meeting building owners. What could be more natural? Odd areas for a bank to get into, but if you are not afraid to ask the question, you may find that there is a way to facilitate the answer, bringing you great results.

Submitted by Pamela Carson, assistant vice president of Discovery Bank and IREM guest professional affiliate

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