Most credit unions and banks have a business development department. A person or group of people responsible for going out into the community, working with businesses, serving on various committees or a doing a myriad of other “external” contacts.

While it helps to have dedicated individuals responsible for these key duties, thinking that only having a few people doing business development will work is a false assumption. Why?

Because everyone is in business development.

Successful business development starts with a mindset: the attitude that no matter what position you hold in the financial institution part of your job is business development. Whether a teller, loan officer, accountant or any other title you can do some type of business development activity.

While everyone is in business development, there are three particular positions that absolutely should perform those duties as part of their weekly tasks:

  • CEO—Long gone are the days where chief executive officers sit behind a desk, crunch numbers all day or hold boring meetings. The CEO sets the tone for the entire credit union or bank. There is also one major plus CEO involvement brings to the organization: there are certain conversations they can have with fellow CEOs that a business development officer simply can’t have. Your CEO can open doors and relate to key decision makers inside the companies are you are trying to reach. Your CEO is (or should be) a major asset in business development.
  • Executives—Just like the CEO, every “chief” should work some aspect of business development. Even the chief financial officer and chief information officer. They too can build key relationships inside the community. One CEO told me that after he saw the positive effects of serving on a chamber of commerce board he then required all his executives not to attend chamber or civic functions, but to serve on boards and committees. “Serving inside an organization is where you really raise your own company’s profile,” he noted.
  • Branch Managers—The branch managers provide a local touch that only they can offer. They put the personal touch in your business development activities. Many times they actually become the “face” of your financial institution. One of the biggest challenges facing branch managers is that too often their job requires them to be “in” more than “out.” Help those branch managers by giving them time to perform those all important business development activities.

Business development is a team sport. Make sure you are involving all your key players in it.