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Small Business Banking 2013

Challenging conventional wisdom to achieve outsize growth and profitability

Boasting a base of more than 20 million potential customers with a broad range of financial services needs, the Small Business segment has long presented a significant opportunity for US banks. Recent Oliver Wyman research and analysis suggest that the SB sector produces $14BN of after-tax profit and $10BN of after-tax economic profit, annually – nearly 15% of the total US financial services economic profit pool.

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The sector is also resilient: in the face of recent economic turmoil and uncertainty, 73% of business owners told us that their firms were either “very” or “reasonably” profitable, while 75% described them as being in “established” or “growth” mode.

However, strategies that meet small business needs, create differentiation, and maximize potential economic returns have proven elusive. Following the financial crisis disruption, the market has largely settled back into competitive equilibrium, with many banks – and their advisors – allowing a set of conventional wisdom to constrain their thinking as they craft their strategies.

A bank willing to challenge this conventional wisdom, Oliver Wyman believes, can define a break-out strategy that gains material share from competitors and delivers higher growth and higher profits.