Part 1 – Project planning for Financial Institutions merging together

By - April 27, 2016

Two like size financial institutions are merging together to better serve their customer base and meet regulatory requirements. The banks have little customer crossover, complimentary product lines and geographic synergies.  Bank B operates in a largely manual environment and have few employees which have made regulatory compliance difficult the past few years.  Bank A’s management team will stay in place while Bank B will be converting to Bank A’s core application.  Although, a third-party will be used for the core conversion it is understood that much planning is required prior to the system change.

The management team established goals for a successful integration including:

  • Developing a project management framework and methodology
  • Developing a robust project plan
  • Reviewing and optimizing existing processes and procedures
  • Working with third-party vendors for core conversion
  • Limiting merger related disruption, to focus the business of banking

The first step was developing a formal project management structure to help limit the risk of a companywide project. In order to accomplish this they:

  • Select members of the steering committee. Establish the vision and strategy, approve decisions/actions, issue resolution and communicate with the board and greater organization and chose a project team leaders/members to fulfill the project goals.
  • Utilize a detailed work plan. Resource estimates should be included with each activity/task on the work plan, allowing for the continuous monitoring of actual elapsed time and expended resources against the original baseline estimates.

The core vendor will provide a plan related to the system integration but they don’t provide all the, “other,” activities that need to be done in advance. Don’t forget the cultural aspects, signage, notifications, product rationalization etc.

  • Develop and execute communication plans for project sponsors, steering committee members, project team members, and other key stakeholders.
  • Develop and maintain a risk management plan, which includes identified project risks and an action plan for addressing/mitigating them. The risk management plan provides a mechanism for monitoring project risks as it is reviewed and updated throughout the project. In order to progressively reduce the project’s exposure to events that threaten accomplishment of its objectives.
  • Manage project resources. The project manager will coordinate efforts across teams, assign resources to tasks, monitor team members’ progress, and intervene/facilitate when required.
  • Monitor and provide regular project status updates.

By stating the project expectations, time requirements and determining the communication needs up front it helped eliminate issues later in the project. In part 2 of this blog series, we will address evaluating the existing processes and organizational assessment. To learn more about how RSM can assist you with your other business needs, contact RSM’s management consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us.

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