Customer service. Innovation. Growth. These were some of the topics on the table at a “fireside chat” between TD Bank President and CEO Greg Braca and Barclays Analyst John Aiken at the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference on Wednesday, September 12. The discussion capped off Day One of the three-day conference at the New York Hilton Midtown.
Focus on service
Aiken opened by asking Braca about the benefits and challenges associated with TD Bank’s unique approach to service and convenience.
“The service model has served us very, very well,” Braca began. “Over a relatively short time – remember, TD is all of 13 years old in the U.S. – we’ve been able to seize market share in several of our businesses, which is how we measure success.”
Braca acknowledged that there’s a cost to applying this labor intensive approach, but it’s a necessary one, as experience, service and convenience ultimately drive top-line growth—a theme that came up again and again throughout the chat.
Winning the technology arms race
According to Braca, investing in technology doesn’t mean spending big on the latest “whiz bang” front-end applications. Rather, it’s designing with the customer in mind, which extends from fixing the “plumbing” to leveraging leading solutions that make banking easier and more accessible.. “In the long term, investments in digital capabilities will position us for sustained growth,” Braca said. “It comes down to table stakes: If you’re buying a new phone, you’d be looking at iPhone, Samsung. You wouldn’t consider a flip phone, since it lacks the core functionality. If we have that core functionality, we can create unique, customer-first experiences that rival those of the bigger players.”
“If you look back to our acquisition of Commerce Bank in 2008, and then some smaller acquisitions throughout the Southeast in 2009 and 2010—it’s been seven or eight years since we’ve done a major bank acquisition,” Braca said. “The acquisitions that we’ve made over the last several years, like auto finance, commercial lending, asset management, Wealth, and our credit cards business, added value to our current offerings. Our first thought is not to be in more markets—but to deepen our penetration into the markets we’re already in,” he said.