Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dynamic Strategy and PNC's Success

In the article this week, PNC Financial Services’ strategic integration of its recent acquisitions is briefly detailed, but the sheer scale is glossed over to an extent.[1] Events of the early 2000s left PNC in a low risk, well capitalized position. PNC was mostly unexposed to the disintegration of the mortgage backed securities—and the mortgages themselves, contained in many other banks balance sheets and in their investment portfolios. As a result, when National City Corporation was hit hard by the crisis, the smaller, more regional player was one of the few banks able to absorb the foundered institution, effectively doubling its size.  With that kind of growth, finding a way to knit together the two organizations presented a monumental opportunity for success or failure.  An article from The Holmes Report in 2011 summarized it as follows: 

  • Customers: PNC achieved strong brand awareness in existing markets but was relatively unknown in many National City markets. Further, the bank needed to prepare six million National City customers for the upcoming changes with their banking relationships and accounts. 
  • Employees: PNC needed to engage, educate and motivate half of its employees on the benefits of their new employer, while overcoming the stress and uncertainty that accompany a merger.
  • Communities: Local community leaders worried about whether the combined bank would invest as heavily as its predecessor in philanthropic pursuits.

  •  Shareholders: Investors had high expectations that the company would deliver value on the transaction as it doubled in size, despite the dark economic times.[2]

The dynamic approach to strategy implementation enabled PNC to begin a series of acquisitions and expansions into other areas of financial services as well as a number of banks in the Midwest and southern US.[3] 

Beyond commercial success, however, consider the effect of the cultural push as reflected in public opinion.  PNC is currently the 8th biggest US bank behind J.P Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup Inc. Wells Fargo & Co. BNY Mellon, US Bancorp, HSBC North American Holdings Inc, and sometimes Capital One,  depending on the time the list is made. [4][5] Despite its newfound prestige, it suffers few if any of the negative connotations many associate with its larger competitors because it has been able to preserve its core principles and strategy through its expansions.  Following the internal cultural push as well as the corresponding public outreach PNC managed to achieve a “zero negative coverage rating related to customer issues” in the media and outperformed the four peer institutions it was benchmarked against in “Positive Impact Score.” [6]  From core principles to operational achievements to public perception, the guiding strategy here has been the key catalyst of success.







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