From time to time we invite our strategic partners to contribute to the Family Financial Centers blog. No doubt you will enjoy this contribution from one of our partners, Mitchell Levy. Family Financial Centers franchisees benefit from our industry credibility, relationships and our process that has been proven for 15-years! We are very well positioned in both “franchising” as well as the “Money Services Business” industry. – Jack Wilson
On every site visit, the owners inevitably share the same conversation with me: my expenses are increasing, my bank fees are so expensive, minimum wage is increasing and I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I always respond addressing the bank fee first, it is the simplest answer. Bank fees are not going away. They are not going to decrease. Be grateful that you have a bank relationship and continue to work very hard to keep that bank relationship healthy. Remain compliant, be transparent, and most importantly be honest. This is not an area where expenses are going to decrease. Hopefully you will cash more checks, make more profit in all areas and, oh, by the way, the fees will increase too. I then ask, are you and your staff informing your customers of all the products and services that you offer. The look that I get is always curious almost like they are saying that “they hope so.” Some owners even point to all of the signs on the walls that explain what they offer. A sign is just a sign, too many signs scream, and no one likes to be screamed at.
Then I ask my next question: do you offer pre-paid access cards, accept bill payments, have a convenient ATM, buy gift cards? Are you getting the most out of every single customer that enters your door? This creates a lengthy discussion of how growing your revenue is where to focus and the answers why you should not be as worried on increased expenses. Owners can add and increase profitable services at any time, you just need to have a loyal customer base, which you already should have. Most MSB customers are in your store a minimum of every two weeks, and most likely, every few days doing some type of financial transaction. Are your tellers offering pre-paid access cards to every customer? This segment is booming with a huge five-year trajectory. Everyone who uses this product likes it. Customers use them for Amazon purchases, ride share services, rental cars and more. Your loyal customers probably already have another card in their wallet, have you asked them if they would like a card from your store? You would be surprised how many of your customers will say yes. They want to do all their business with you, you see the same customers very often. Just ask. Are you selling phone chargers in your store? Everyone needs a phone charger and will buy it at the most convenient location at the time that they see it and/or need it. I sold thousands of phone chargers at great profit margins.
Growing your revenue is whereto focus and is the answer to increased expenses. Ancillary products are no longer ancillary, they are mainstream. Let another set of experienced eyes look at your business, they will be able to see things that you have never seen before.
Mitchell Levy is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists(CAMS) and the founder of The Compliance Organization. Mitchell has been active in the MSB industry for over 20 years, as an owner/operator/compliance officer of a nine-store chain of Community Financial Service Centers. With his expertise, he now focuses on helping MSB owners achieve the highest standards of BSA/AML Compliance; including compliance programs & independent reviews.