Threat of New Entrants. The average person can’t come along and start up a bank, but there are services, such as internet bill payment, on which entrepreneurs can capitalize. Banks are fearful of being squeezed out of the payments business, because it is a good source of fee-based revenue. Another trend that poses a threat is companies offering other financial services. What would it take for an insurance company to start offering mortgage and loan services?
Not much. Also, when analyzing a regional bank, remember that the possibility of a mega bank entering into the market poses a real threat. Power of Suppliers. The suppliers of capital might not pose a big threat, but the threat of suppliers luring away human capital does. If a talented individual is working in a smaller regional bank, there is the chance that person will be enticed away by bigger banks, investment firms, etc. Power of Buyers.
The individual doesn’t pose much of a threat to the banking industry, but one major factor affecting the power of buyers is relatively high switching costs. If a person has a mortgage, car loan, credit card, checking account and mutual funds with one particular bank, it can be extremely tough for that person to switch to another bank. In an attempt to lure in customers, banks try to lower the price of switching, but many people would still rather stick with their current bank. On the other hand, large corporate clients have banks wrapped around their little fingers.
Financial institutions – by offering better exchange rates, more services, and exposure to foreign capital markets – work extremely hard to get high-margin corporate clients. Availability of Substitutes. As you can probably imagine, there are plenty of substitutes in the banking industry. Banks offer a suite of services over and above taking deposits and lending money, but whether it is insurance, mutual funds or fixed income securities, chances are there is a non-banking financial services company that can offer similar services.
On the lending side of the business, banks are seeing competition rise from unconventional companies. Sony (NYSE: SNE), General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) all offer preferred financing to customers who buy big ticket items. If car companies are offering 0% financing, why would anyone want to get a car loan from the bank and pay 5-10% interest? Competitive Rivalry. The banking industry is highly competitive. The financial services industry has been around for hundreds of years, and just about everyone who needs banking services already has them.
Because of this, banks must attempt to lure clients away from competitor banks. They do this by offering lower financing, preferred rates and investment services. The banking sector is in a race to see who can offer both the best and fastest services, but this also causes banks to experience a lower ROA. They then have an incentive to take on high-risk projects. In the long run, we’re likely to see more consolidation in the banking industry. Larger banks would prefer to take over or merge with another bank rather than spend the money to market and advertise to people.