Banks & Credit Unions – The Time to Recruit is Now!

I’m not overstating it when I say Financial Advisor recruiting numbers have never been this good – or bad if your perspective is from a major Wall Street firm. But I will add that the same applies to Private Banking and CRE / Commercial Lending, to a lesser degree.

This trend started during the second half of 2018 and carried into 2019, which ended up being a record year for Advisor and Private Banker movement. Just when everyone thought the C-19 lockdowns would slow things down, the opposite happened. Not only did 2020 turn out to be another banner recruiting year for Advisors and Private Bankers, but 2020 numbers were also slightly better than the record-breaking previous year! 


The pandemic that kicked off 2020 shed light on two critical areas for both Advisors and firms.

  1. TECHNOLOGY & SUPPORT:  Challenges to business development and client retention for Advisors and Private Bankers working from home became an issue.  With face-to-face meetings of any kind being off the table, video conferencing, document management, and back-office support became critical to the success of Advisors and bankers. For the 100% commission or low base / high commission earners, questions about the value proposition of their firms were front and center. 
  2. CULTURE & POLITICS:  The handling of PPP loans showed consumers how the big banks of Wall Street really feel about them. That was not lost on the employees that work for those banks. The pandemic also brought a change to how large corporations and banks viewed activism. This change has been well documented, so no need to draw additional attention to it. What is not well documented is the number of clients complaining or just closing accounts with large banks, many of which were being serviced by an Advisor and/or Private Banker. 

The pandemic of 2020 also shed light on regional banks, community banks, and credit unions. These firms really stepped up when our communities needed them. That was also not lost on the employees that work for those firms. Just as important, it caught the attention of high-level Advisors and bankers that work for big banks and Wall Street. 


  1. Don’t wait for an opening to start recruiting Financial Advisors. Your bank or credit union should always be talking to Advisors in your markets. The best wealth management groups attached to banks and CU’s are NEVER fully staffed. There should be a permanent place on the “Careers” page of your website that solicits Financial Advisors*. 
  2. Get your third-party broker-dealer (TPBD) involved. All TPBD’s will help you recruit advisors, and all TPBD’s have different capabilities relating to recruiting. It’s important to know what those strengths and weaknesses are so your internal team can make adjustments to their strategies. Let your TPBD know you want to expand (full or not). Talk to the person(s) that runs recruiting for the TPBD and make sure they understand the cultural and material objectives you want met. Do not rely on your relationship manager to help you recruit but rather use that RM to make the proper TPBD internal connections with your team. 
  3. Five Star Recruiting is not the assistant coach’s job! When Alabama wants to recruit one of the best wide receivers in Florida, Nick Saban doesn’t send his assistant coach to sit with the young athlete and their parents in their living room. He goes himself. THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE we see with banks and CU’s alike is having one recruiting strategy for all levels of financial advisors. The most successful recruiting programs in banks and CU’s are the ones where the CEO / President gets involved in the conversation early and often when talking to the “five-star recruit” ($1MM+ producers working for large regional or national firms). 

* If your HR department would like to review Compass Consulting’s tried and tested verbiage for bank / CU “Opportunity Descriptions” for Private Bankers and/or Financial Advisors, call 760-477-1299 or email me at hillary@compassconsulting.com

To learn more about Compass Consulting’s services, or to evaluate your current third-party broker-dealer, visit our website; compassconsulting.com or call 760-477-1299

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