The typical advisor in a bank or credit union received 120 referrals from the staff in the branches in the advisor’s territory during 2017, down 30% from the previous year. Declining branch traffic and branch closings are choking off a source of strength for branch-based advisors. While advisors once expected the financial institution to deliver a few referrals a day, now they are receiving just 10 a month.

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the impact of reduced foot traffic in bank branches, with FDIC data revealing 1,700 branch closings in the 12 months ending June 30th.

This trend is clearly accelerating, as younger clients eschew branches and all generations conduct more of their financial business remotely. Financial institutions are branching out (with a small “b”) to meet them where they want to be, building digital advice platforms and investment call centers. But these institutions expect that across-the-desk advisors will continue to produce the lion’s share of investment services revenue. To retain their current advisors, and attract the ones they need to grow the business, banks and credit unions will have to find ways to rejuvenate their referral operations.

Kehrer Bielan conducts 3 separate benchmarking surveys of bank-owned broker dealers, credit unions, and regional and community banks that partner with 3rd party broker dealers. This year’s benchmarking surveys encompass 201 financial institutions, and over 10,000 financial advisors, far more than any other survey of the bank insurance and securities community. The combined benchmarking database provides an unparalleled opportunity to benchmark performance, examine industry trends, and identify best practices.


AMS Financial Solutions Group has robust Bank Referral program – From Roadblocks to Referrals – a series of sessions that gives team members the competence and confidence to identify and refer potential annuity customers to Licensed Bankers or Advisors. The program includes in branch training, sales ideas, steps to making solid referrals, workbooks, exercises, teller tip cards and leader’s guides. This program provides all the tools needed to increase referrals and sales in your institution.

Throughout 30-plus years of industry experience, the goal of AMS has always been to be a valuable partner through every step of the financial products sales process. More than 500 financial institutions and independent broker dealers and 20 leading industry carriers consider AMS one of the best for annuity-based services and resources in the financial service industry. Since day one, AMS has been at the forefront of every significant change in the financial marketplace and were among the first to assist banks with embracing financial solutions and products. Mike Sause, AMS’s principal, has even developed multiple annuity and insurance products from scratch as well as served in leadership and advisory councils. Long-standing product partnerships give AMS the opportunity to bring customers the newest product innovations with a level of service that can only come from years of building industry trust.