Local banks serve as the anchor of the banking system in the U.S. by helping small and mid-sized businesses across the country to grow and invest. This in turn helps local communities to flourish.

Growing a regional or community bank is a challenging task. Regulations and financial reforms haven’t made this task easier. Banking operations and decreased margins have forced banks to operate leaner, under more complex credit risk compliance regulations with the added pressure of competing with super regional and global competitors.

The good news is that with these additional challenges come additional opportunities. Regional and community banks now have access to the same technology, tools and methods that unify financial and risk data that in the recent past were only available to larger enterprises. This means that banks can gain, at the very least, competitive parity with global competitors and when used effectively they can be leveraged as a competitive advantage. With collaborations between companies like SOLA Analytics and OnPoint Risk Advisorscommunity and regional banks can leverage technology to create competitive advantages that were previously inaccessible. In as little as 90 days, you can modernize your budgeting, forecasting and your tactical sales insights to match your strategic goals.

In this economic climate, it’s critical for community and regional banks to modernize their operations and optimize their products to best serve the community. The rest of this short article will provide a quick overview of what you need to modernize in order to impact and support your customer smarter and faster, including:

Stop Relying on Core Systems for Reporting and Analysis

Core systems were designed for processing transactions. Unfortunately, they’re very painful to use when it comes to financial reporting – and many banks operate this way. Instead, banks should implement a system that was designed specifically for their needs and strategy. The system should empower users to conduct ad hoc analysis, provide point and click access to reporting and provide key strategic insights to executives. The days of manually pulling data for reporting are over.

Change how you leverage Excel

Excel is every bankers’ favorite tool for a good reason. But relying on sheet after sheet of formulas for insight, reporting and analysis is a thing of the past. In order to grow and scale a bank efficiently, you need a unified platform that ties together all the underlying data for company-wide strategic analysis. This system should also be able to use your existing Excel reports and interface while providing new tools for insight and growth.

Update Your Data Real Time

In any bank, creating a plan (budget/forecast/etc) was the product of all departments creating data that ultimately had to be manually managed, integrated and iterated to handle dynamic data. Additionally, updating a forecast meant many more hours of work. This time drain made regional banks less nimble, resulting in a failure to effectively serve the community. However, with proper tools this can be an efficient, time effective and pain free process. Properly integrated real-time data can produce deeper insight in a fraction of the time – allowing you to focus on impacting your customers and community.

Spend Time Analyzing Reports Not Building Reports

As mentioned above, the process of building a single report has traditionally been highly manual and time consuming. Using tools that are now available to regional banks, a finance department can focus their efforts on analyzing results and providing strategic recommendations. Additionally, a system that supports automated report generation allows your team to dig deeper into the data and provide insight that was previously hidden. Unlock your banks full potential by leveraging the hidden data to more effectively serve your community.

View Risk and Finance Data Together Across Your Organization

Banks should not view their financial data in isolation. Traditional financial reporting focuses on performance but does not properly quantify risk. Even metrics like risk-adjusted return only provide a glimpse of what your data can actually tell you. By more effectively combining financial and risk data, banks are better able to optimize products, customers and lines of business. A dialed-in product and services mix can provide a regional bank a leg up on larger competition.

Dashboard and Scorecards

Stress testing will allow banks to see how they would perform under different economic environments. And tracking key risk indicators will alert them to emerging trends. Creating dashboards and scorecards to monitor these critical events allows your bank to react in real time to threats and opportunities. These tools also shift the burden from data management to action and creates wins for the community.

About Finance. Risk. Unified.

Finance Risk Unified is a single, modern software solution that provides strategic visibility and combines financial and risk analytics in a highly automated and intuitive technology platform. It provides institutions with the tools to compete effectively against the largest and most sophisticated banks in the country.

Sola Analytics and OnPoint Risk Advisors have collaborated to provide banks with best practices for Financial and Risk Management delivered inside a cutting-edge technology solution.

We are bankers helping bankers. Key delivery components include Financial Reporting, Budgeting & Forecasting, CECL Allowance Models, and Enterprise Wide Stress Testing and Best Practice Credit Risk and Enterprise Risk Management Methods.

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