Recently, you may have heard two troubling stories in the media about how big “mega” banks approach servicing their clients. Coming on the heels of the Great Recession, these reports have caused me to become quite concerned about the state of the financial industry. So many institutions, especially strong, locally based banks like Peapack-Gladstone Bank, continue to have our hard work and commitment to our clients tarnished by these reports.
The first report is about a large bank whose employees opened nearly two million accounts that may not have been authorized by clients, reportedly in order to achieve sales goals placed upon them. These actions resulted in clients paying unauthorized fees and bank staff members receiving bonuses. After nearly four decades in this business, I see this as nothing short of outrageous.
The second story reported on an approach being taken by the private banking division of another large bank to require clients to have a minimum of $10 million in investible assets in order to receive access to its top-tier platform, services and advisors. It’s as if helping clients get to $10 million isn’t worth their time.
I’ve spent most of my career at big financial companies. I moved to Peapack-Gladstone Bank four years ago to be closer to clients and to work collaboratively with them to improve their financial situations. All of our bankers at Peapack-Gladstone Bank joined the Bank for the same reason—to help our clients achieve their financial goals in a thoughtful and unbiased way.
Peapack-Gladstone Bank was founded in 1921 with the goal of serving its clients better. We don’t sell for the sake of selling. We have been providing thoughtful financial advice and solutions to clients for generations. We are successful because our clients trust us. Trust is the foundation of banking; it is the foundation of any meaningful relationship.
If you feel that you are just another customer of one of those mega banks and you know that it doesn’t have your best interests in mind, maybe it’s time to reconsider your options. A great local bank like Peapack-Gladstone Bank will always have you and your family’s best interests in mind. This may ultimately determine whether you achieve your financial goals over your lifetime.
Doug Kennedy, CEO and president, Peapack-Gladstone Bank.