August Featured Business Partner | Flagstar Bank
August’s Featured Business Partner is Flagstar Bank. We asked them a few questions about the value of AFSA membership and some of the opportunities or challenges they face in 2021. Learn more at flagstar.com.
What are your financial services clients telling you are their biggest challenges and opportunities for 2021?
I think the biggest challenge and opportunity may simply be adjusting to a post-pandemic economy where we’ve seen significant federal stimulus money, and also, some real supply chain challenges. Stimulus money has improved the health of consumers in some segments of the economy, but has dampened demand in other segments—so it’s been a mixed bag. As to supply chain issues, I think that we will just have to work through that process, potentially through the end of the year, and see what the overall impact is to the auto industry and other sectors of the economy.
What have you heard are some key initiatives for your clients in 2021 that you are planning to support?
Our clients are optimistic about the future. A lot of the initiatives I hear involve growth, which is great. As a lender, my job is to provide financial support, and the best way I can do that is to know my customers. That means understanding their business top to bottom, knowing their balance sheet inside out, being attuned to their industry niche and the factors affecting it, consulting with them on future projects, succession planning or anything else that could affect their business.
What are some of the lessons you learned throughout 2020 that have helped your company be more productive, more efficient, more sustainable, more profitable this year? (They can choose which one they want to answer)
There are several things that I could mention here, but I’m going with the old adage, “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.” When the pandemic hit in March 2020, our CEO and executive management team were quick to move employees to a work-from-home status, and management made it clear early on that we would not be returning to the office for some time. That was super helpful to employees trying to figure out childcare and/or care for elderly or ill relatives.
The other message from management was not surprising given Flagstar’s customer-centric culture: Do everything you can to support our customers in this challenging time. So when the Paycheck Protection Program rolled out, it was all hands on deck, and it was around the clock to ensure our customers filled out their applications correctly and submitted them on time. It also was leadership by example, as our CEO and management team were in the trenches with the rest of us every step of the way.
What changes have you made to your business model or solutions’ road maps in response to evolving mobility and digital retailing trends?
The biggest change—which I know we’re not alone in—is the move from in-person to virtual meetings. Flagstar had deployed Webex to our employee base not long before the pandemic, so we were in a good position to make the change to virtual. Is virtual ideal? No. I don’t think there’s anything better than face-to-face meetings where it’s easier to read expressions and pick up on nuances. But neither do I think we would have fared as well throughout all this if we only had phones to rely on.
August 2nd, 2021 by Dan Bucherer