The one staffer that bank presidents fail to evaluate for accountability

I have scheduled countless meetings with bank presidents, CEOs, COOs, and CFOs over the past several years since I started representing my company as director of banking and managed services. Listening to the collective wisdom of financial industry leaders during this time span has illuminated a few trends in the banking industry. I have noticed that one topic that comes up frequently—in about four out of every five meetings I hold with CXOs—is accountability within the IT department.

Bank executives have a process to measure the performance of their staff. Loan officers, for example, are measured on how much new business they bring to the bank, whether the book of business that they currently manage is healthy—all easily quantifiable tasks.

The same tried and true measurements can be seen in every department of the bank—except one. For tellers, there’s an evaluation system in place. Account managers and branch managers all have well-defined performance measurements. But in meeting after meeting, bank presidents tell me that they struggle to account for an entire department—and it’s a department that the rest of the staff relies on completely.

Accountability in the IT department

My meetings with bank leaders have led to the same conversation over and over. It starts by me asking, “How is your IT department doing today?”

To which CXO replies, “I guess okay,” or “Fine.” It’s almost always some general answer without any evidence to support the ambiguous response. From the rest of our conversation, I know that they know their network infrastructure is critical to the bank’s success—so why are these leaders seemingly unconcerned about being able to evaluate their IT staff?

Just like the existing process for loan officers, wouldn’t it make sense to have tangible measurements for the IT department?

Measuring IT is not impossible, I promise. Here are a few simple tips to keep your IT department a little more accountable:

  1. To start, grab your last IT audit. Check out what the auditors are focusing on—those are all measureable tasks used by the FDIC, OCC, and Feds that a CXO can use to help measure the effectiveness of his bank’s IT on a more regular basis.
  2. Another low-hanging fruit that does not cost the bank any more money: Send out emails periodically to end-users asking about the response time from the IT department on issues. What issues are they experiencing? How long does it take to be resolved? An informal two minute survey could lend valuable feedback as you evaluate the accountability of your IT staffing.
  3. Getting into a little more granular accountability of the IT department: If possible, review the number of requests or tickets your IT department receives in a month. Are the tickets increasing from month to month? Also review the response time to these tickets. Is the resolution time per ticket acceptable?
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