Zombie Business

Are zombies lurking around your business?

Last week, while attending a webinar hosted by Lee Wetherington from ProfitStar (@leewetherington and @ProfitStars) the term, Zombie Branches came into play.  The phrase Zombie Branches has been used for a while in the banking industry and is used to describe a bank branch that consistently losses money and drains profits from the entire bank.  Here are a couple of signs a branch has joined the undead:

  • A branch is paying out high interest rates for deposit accounts like CDs or interest bearing checking accounts, but does not have any loan customers.
  • A branch may be busy with customers all day, but the customers are cashing checks or performing a non-income transaction.

Thought this is quiet an illness, banking is not the only industry that suffers from this epidemic.

  • It’s the same plague that ended Blockbuster
  • Circuit City also collapsed under this dead pressure

Essentially all retail businesses can be exposed to this toxic disease.

The good news is, unlike the monsters on The Walking Dead these zombie branches (or zombie locations) can be cured.  Here are four examples with a financial institution point of view.

  1. Increase Foot Traffic: Start a special sale at the zombie location.  Sponsor a lunch and learn focused on a common need.  Host a fun seasonal event.  Better yet, do all three!  Just be sure you and your team are equipped with the right tools to make this a success.
  2. Cross Sell: Maybe foot traffic isn’t the problem.  As previously stated, some zombie locations currently have people coming in the door, but they are not driving income.  If the same person continuously enters the branch, find out who they really are.  Maybe they’re a small business owner in need of a new merchant services program.  Maybe they’re a person who needs a safe deposit box.  Either way, both are great services that can produce decent fee revenue and really help out a person.
  3. Increase Sales: If options one and two fall flat, maybe it’s time to work on selling.  Short term solutions like hiring a seasoned sales person mixed with a long term sales training & coaching program can shift the office in the right direction.  Throw in an incentive program for extra motivation and your team will be cooking in no time.
  4. Innovate via Technology: Take a very close look at what you are currently offering your customers.  Are you missing out on any services that can help them (and you) succeed?  Prepaid cards, mobile apps and remote deposit technology are three ways the banking industry is taking a problem and turning it into an opportunity.

Even thought these examples where examined in the eyes of a banker, the main points can be applied across several different retail and B2B companies.

So, before you decide to figuratively use a blunt object to kill the zombie (aka closing a location), remember there are other options available.


About Jeremy M. Price
For twelve years, I had the pleasure of working in community banking. Starting in customer service, I worked my way up to a senior level marketing and human resources director. It was great leading teams that improved strategic initiatives including, but not limited to brand awareness, digital communication, employee development and product development. This experience has now led to an exciting role with CRS Data. As the Product Marketing Analyst, I am currently reviewing the company's banker suite product. This product is able to help community banks reach their fullest potential in real estate lending. I am extremely fortunate to share time with my son while enjoying life in East Tennessee. The two of us enjoy the views of the Smokey Mountains, eating good food and having fun. During my free time, I enjoy running races, traveling and listening to great live music.

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