4P is an insider for regional banks. As a management consultancy with many years’ experience in regional banks, we have the necessary consulting expertise to analyses, evaluate and drive the future challenges of VR banks, Sparkassen and regional private banks. Trust in us - we will support you with expertise in all respects.
The merger to Volksbank Stuttgart eG was and is a very special project for 4P - for one thing, it is a “bread and butter” project in our home town - but also after the merger of the Stuttgart Volksbank and Volksbank Rems, it is the largest cooperative bank in Baden-Württemberg - with over 5 billion Euro balance sheet total, one of the largest in Germany.
From the beginning onwards, 4P worked in a crucial role on three levels of the merger: In the first stage to the merger, the key task was to synchronise and harmonise the differing perceptions and characters in the board of directors. This is the only way to get accepted guidelines for the practical preparation and implementation of a merger - because if the people at the top can’t agree, how will it happen on other levels? 4P brought not only the practical know-how from previous mergers, but also took on the role of a coaching project coordinator. This is how we supported more than twenty project groups in the end, from the most varied divisions, and permanently served them as an expert partner and rapid transmitters between project- and board-level. In just a few months, all divisions and functions were so well bonded, that not only the auditors, but also especially the responsible managers and the works council were more than satisfied. The third working level where 4P worked actively up to the technical and organisational merger during the first stage, was the support for the board of directors and personnel department when putting together the new leadership team of the bank. Very specifically, this involved populating the future leadership team in the second and third management level. In a specially designed selection process with individual assessment centres, the new leadership team was selected in a fair and transparent way - a major hygiene factor and catalyst for the future.
Whilst the aim of the first stage was still to build the framework for a functioning new bank, in the second stage, we optimised the way in which people work together: We not only study and discover the cultures of both businesses, but use their diversity to create a new common culture. In a number of culture workshops, we developed the so-called identity building blocks together for the new Volksbank Stuttgart, which are reflected in totally new leadership, customer and employee propositions. In the future it will be important that this culture and integration process and the associated claims and expectations are used to aid the ongoing development within this buzzing business metropolis. With innovative services (such as the unique Bankers Concept) and a strong cooperative market presence, with a winning company culture and exemplary banking!
The typical consultant: Steam in - know everything, make a fuss, create pressure Action plans, milestones, meetings - and then disappearing again. The result: a lot of short-term stress, creating some change (mainly the peace of the righteous) - but not sustainably. This is exactly what we are NOT!
The best example for this is our cooperation with Sparkasse Göttingen. In countless management workshops over 6 years, we continually found new starting points, were tasked by the board, and kicked off changes and improvements with new relish. From this, spread over the years, a stream of new ground-breaking innovations were created, which other Sparkassen and banks later wanted. The evidence is clear to see - the Sparkasse Göttingen belongs to the most successful Sparkassen of Lower Saxony. The special thing about it is that as well as the ongoing cooperation, we are never happy with just developing new and better things. No, we also support our customers in the implementation of the concepts. And for this reason, we were able to help Sparkasse Göttingen with exactly the training and coaching they needed within the most diverse range of subject areas. This resulted in the fact that today we are no longer the board’s consultants, but also enjoy great recognition within the workforce and staff council. Even if everyone is not truly delighted about what we are saying (or how we are saying it) - they listen attentively to us, let themselves be roused, participate constructively - and with us they have the big picture in mind, not just personal interests. This common spirit, which we develop during all challenges at the Sparkasse, carries us forwards with all participants!
“Those declared dead live longer”, as the saying goes. But when a cooperative bank repeatedly “declared dead” comes back vital and burning for action after a short time with an impressive comeback, without exaggeration, we are talking about one of the most remarkable turnaround stories of recent years.
When we arrived in 2008 at the RV-Bank eG as-was in Alzenau, the traffic lights were red: Lower than average returns, overwhelming costs, considerable risks - combined with a perceptibly tense working atmosphere. Also what became clear: The potential for a better future is there. Board, the newly formed management team and 4P were in agreement: It’s worth fighting passionately for the future capabilities of this bank!
Our slogan: Lose no time now, and act determinedly - but keeping an overview. Because in addition to the urgently needed fast results, it was also important to work on the long-term weaknesses. Our consultants, the board of directors and the management staff worked in partnership - hand in hand and eye to eye - together. Our guiding principle: “We’re all pulling together and in the same direction” Our master plan was the fitness programme which we developed together for the RV-Bank eG. The content and timeline of this fitness programme were extremely ambitious. Tight project management was essential and ensured that we drove our program forwards consistently. Obstacles were identified early and cleared out of the way firmly. The first visible results came quickly. The “Alzenau Method” impressed the Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raffeisenbanken (BVR) as well as the Genossenschaftsverband Bayern (GVB), who enquired at regular intervals, personally, and in detail, about the development of the bank.
Operationally we were making good progress. Now the next challenge was to strategically secure the long-term viability of the bank. Our analyses made it clear that we hadn’t yet reached the critical mass of business yet to ensure this. For this reason, the VR-Bank eG started merger discussions with the neighbouring Raffeisenbank Schöllkrippen und Umgebung eG, a somewhat smaller cooperative bank, who were also in a similarly difficult commercial position at the time. We were also on board from the first days in the merger process. The concentration to “new” VR-Bank eG with HQ in Alzenau was approved with an overwhelming majority by both former banks. It was quickly demonstrated that the recipes for success within the fitness programme originally conceived for the VR-Bank eG at the time were transferable to the new larger unit. All of the synergy effects from the merger were realised within just two years. An impressive balance sheet! No question: The “new” VR-Bank eG, Alzenau no longer looks back, but now optimistically looks forward.
As we mentioned: “Those declared dead live longer” At 4P Consulting we are pleased about the remarkably positive development of the VR-Bank eG and the special relationship of trust which was able to emerge and grow under the most difficult circumstances.