A bank based in a developing country in Africa has hired us to find out how it can grow its local retail banking business unit.
What aspects would you investigate?
What would you recommend to our client?
Since this is a candidate-led case, the candidate should drive the case from start to finish.
The interviewee should first gather information understand the bank’s business. This will allow the interviewee to identify problems and to suggest potential solutions.
Short Solution (Expand) (Collapse)
Suggested case structure:
I. Customers / Market
The interviewee should ask about:
- The bank’s main customers
- Customer segmentation
- Growth forecast for each customer segment
- Market trends
- The bank segments customers by the product that they bought.
- Products include deposit accounts, credit cards, car loans, and home loans.
- In descending order, the most profitable products nowadays are
- Car loans
- Credit cards
- Home loans.
- Car ownership is expected to grow 10%. Overall economy is growing at 3% per year.
- In the future, house ownership is expected to stagnate.
- In the future, the number of companies in the country is expected to increase rapidly.
- Share Diagram 2 with background information about the customers.
- Diagram 3 to show the market development of interest rates.
- The local market is promising because there are positive macroeconomic trends (Poverty is decreasing because employment is increasing. This increases demand for bank services.)
- The number of companies is increasing rapidly. (Our client could be these companies’ bank and offer them products such as B2B loans.)
- Lower interest rates will encourage people to borrow more money from banks.
The interviewee should ask about:
- Local competitors
- Competition structure (Concentrated or fragmented market)
- Competitors’ advantages
- Our client should use competitor B as a benchmark because their growth is higher than our client’s.
- Our client is losing market share in car loans (most profitable and growing) while gaining market share in home loans (least profitable and stagnating).
- Therefore, our client is focusing on the wrong segment.
- Price is NOT the reason for market inequalities because each competitor offers similar prices.
- Competitor B seems to have technological advantages.
The candidate should ask about:
- Client’s products
- Client’s competences
- Our client’s current product portfolio includes deposit accounts, credit cards, car loans, and home loans.
- Our client’s brand is well known and it has an average reputation.
- Our client’s attrition rate is slightly higher than the market average. However, our client’s attrition rate is far higher than Competitor B’s attrition rate.
Concerning the competences it should be mentioned that:
- Our client’s salespeople are very conservative and use traditional means to market products. They do NOT do direct marketing.
- Our bank’s IT technology is out of date. This frequently causes customer information loss. Our client’s IT R&D is far behind Competitor B’s IT R&D. Competitor B’s IT R&D is growing twice as fast as our client’s IT R&D.
- The client is selling too few products to each customer.
- The client is old-fashioned. Its IT system is out-of-date and causes customer information loss. This is the possible root cause of our client’s attrition rate.
- Competitor B’s technology is more advanced and has a lower attrition rate. This allows it to experience faster growth.
The client can use several methods to grow in the local market. Ideally, the interviewee should categorize these different methods. Possible categories include IT, business strategy, and sales & marketing.
- Invest in better IT systems that will reduce problems with customers. This will reduce customer attrition and increase growth.
- Use Competitor B as benchmark for IT services and customer satisfaction.
- Change the bank’s focus from home loans to car loans. Car loans are more profitable.
- To regain market share in car loans, the bank could partner with car dealers.
- Enter the credit card market (the second most profitable segment).
- Since employment is booming, the client can partner with companies. This allows the client to become the official bank of the companies’ employees.
- Since the number of companies is rapidly increasing, the bank could become a player in the company credit B2B market.
- To increase market share, the client could merge with Competitor A.
Marketing & sales
- Promote cross-selling (78% of customers only purchased one product).
- Refresh marketing & sales personnel by employing new and young people (current employees are too conservative and old-fashioned).
- Use direct and aggressive marketing campaigns to promote car loans because it is the most profitable segment.
To beat Competitor B, should the client propose a merger with Competitor A? How would you analyze this suggestion?
Competitor A has high market share in the car loan segment. (Most profitable segment)
Competitor A also has high market share in the credit cards segment (9.8%). This could diversify the client’s product portfolio, thus spreading risk.
If both companies merge, the new company will become the market leader.
Overall, the merger seems promising. However, before making a final decision, more thorough analysis must be done.
Can you think of any new products that the bank could launch?
- Stock market investments
- Commodities investments
If the interviewee solves the case very quickly, you can come up with more challenging questions to ask them.