What Makes Financial Institution Account Managers Effective With Farmers?
Account Managers are a key part of the relationship between farmers and their financial institutions, but not everyone gets an account manager and the quality of their service varies.
In 2018 Stratus interviewed 800 Canadian farmers with over $250,000 in gross farm receipts and found that 74% have an Account Manager with their primary financial institution. However, the level of service depends on the type of farm and where it is: 94% of Quebec farmers have an account manager, but just 63% of Saskatchewan farmers get that level of service. The big difference is partly due to the higher capital-intensity of livestock operations. Large and growing farms are also more likely to have an account manager.
Use the Right Approach
Farmers see real differences in the way the account manager approaches their relationship.
- A focus on providing the best possible service is used by 40% of account managers overall. That is also the most effective approach – Those account managers are usually rated highly.
- A focus on improving the profitability of the farming operation is used by a quarter of account managers and the majority of them are rated highly for their overall performance.
- Few account managers focus on building a strong personal relationship with farmers. It is less effective than a service or profit approach.
- The remaining 22% focus on informing farmers about their financial products and services. It is the least effective approach, with less than a third of those account managers getting a high rating.
Account Managers are important to farmers and most are rated highly, but there is an opportunity for financial institutions to be more effective by taking the best approach to the relationship and by developing a solid understanding of their farm customers’ business.
The report includes detailed data comparing individual financial institutions such as ATB, BMO, CIBC, National Bank, RBC, Scotiabank, TD Canada Trust, FCC, Desjardins and other credit unions.