John Ryan Lose Citizens Bank

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

The rumour in the US back in September that John Ryan had lost or were just about to lose Citizens bank (which we think is, sorry was, their largest U.S. Customer) seems to be true – at least judging by the buzz, rumours of who might have won the business and indeed some of the comments on this post.

Citizens Bank (owned by RBS) did an RFP four or five months ago and the shortlist is now down to a single vendor as final terms and conditions are being negotiated. All should be announced shortly.

We doubt if the loss of Citizens Bank would be fatal for John Ryan (John Ryan himself has more enough money to keep them going) but it certainly begs the question, how long will the man in Hawaii keep on letting the business lose money before he stops throwing good money after bad.

Any fatality could well occur later however, as we hear that several of their other major customers are now aware that they got nixed from Citizens – allegedly for overcharging and now the ‘account reviews’ are fast and furious.

13 Responses to “John Ryan Lose Citizens Bank”

  1. joey Says:

    …heard the same…after seven years the client finally had enough of all the false promises and bad account management from ryan folks. i heard citizens are going to rip out the old sat network and deliver the content over their existing corp network…so they picked a platform that is scalable and reliable over IP…

  2. Bubbles Says:

    In fairness, 7 years is a long time for an agency to retain an account. With that said it does say something that mentioning John Ryan seems to consistently evoke sharp and snarky comments.

  3. Tony Says:

    I have heard a very similar story. Additionally I have heard that the company that took over the Susquehanna business is the lead dog. According to those familiar with the Susquehanna program the transition was flawless and the company has a great digital switching offer and digital platform.

  4. Mike Says:

    Are John Ryan even out in the market any more, or are they just servicing old clients? They were a big name in the industry for many years, but they never seem to be mentioned in the big bank deals.

  5. David Says:

    They’re still in the market, but they gutted their sales department a couple of years ago and haven’t replaced the positions yet which is probably why you don’t hear much about them anymore. But if they’re spending all their time servicing old clients, they shouldn’t be losing thier largest account should they? Rumor has it upper management there is very weak. All the real talent has moved on, which explains both issues.

  6. Scott Says:

    I hear the same thing about management (very weak globally) and that the culture has been dysfunctional for at least a decade. The creative talent was always good in the past though. Their best people ended up at a lot of the agencies in Minneapolis.

  7. Susan Says:

    It’s too bad really. John Ryan was once such a powerhouse in bank marketing. Now they seem to be barely limping along. One wonders how long they can continue on with such weak leadership.

  8. Tim Says:

    Brand Partners (Willey Bros), the other historical powerhouse in in-branch merchandising, finally went down earlier this year, too. Ironically, the issue there appears to be corrupt leadership (at least at the very, very top…there were a lot of good people there), as well as a failure to reinvent itself.

    The reality is that many firms who got big in banking failed to recognize that their success in the 1990s in porting basic retail concepts to banking (e.g. merchandising, simple promotional signage) was the result of an industry fad, vs. any particular brilliant insight. When that fad ended, banks got much smarter about what/how they managed their retail channels, and stopped forking over massively higher fees than their retail breatheren ever would have tolerated.

    At that point, those companies who had the leadership and foresight to evolve, did. NewGround and Miller Zell are good examples of this — they now offer a mix of design/build, “green” branch solutions, in-store + online marketing/agency work, sales and branch culture consulting, and technology solutions (digital signage + assisted-service machines) — and have cornered the market on a lot of the “best and brightest” talent, scooping up top people as they shook out of other firms.

    Those who didn’t (or still don’t) are the victims of the natural shake-out that occurs in all industries when the “golden era” dissipates and “survival of the fittest” takes hold.

  9. Gene Says:

    Well, the rumor that John Ryan lost the Citizens Bank business has now been confirmed as true. This is a crushing blow for a company their size. If what Tim says is true, might this be the final blow? Or will John Ryan be “fit” enough to hold on – again?

  10. Jessica Says:

    Truth be told, Citizens was not John Ryan’s largest client. Their largest client is actually Bank of America (non-digital). On the digital side, their largest, and now ONLY client (aside from some limited installations) is PNC Bank.

    However, the Citizens account did represent a large portion of John Ryan’s recurring revenues – so the loss has got to hurt BIG. There will probably be layoffs. But how many more people can Ryan afford to lose? Rumor has it there’s only about 40 people left in the U.S. office and just a handful in Europe. A far cry from their previous level of 150+/-. And there comes a point where a company just can’t service their existing clients well if they don’t have enough people to do the work. It seems to me Ryan is coming perilously close to that point.

  11. MarketingMaven Says:

    There are two or three technologies emerging as standard for digital in large enterprises. Our sector, particularly the hardware/software players, is ripe for consolidation and thinning. There is too much development on too many weak platforms. The top performers have won the day.

    JR never had a chance with their bathtub gin application; they should have leveraged third-party applications and made money on creative.

    Agencies, think March First, did nifty work on static HTML websites once too… and charged a bundle. Then companies got savvy and started using robust eCommerce software platforms to build their own sites.

    The same trend is happening here. The agency “development” model does not have a long future in digital outside of creative because technology exists to facilitate scalable deployments. It would be a good time to develop expertise in in-store creative.

  12. A concerned punter Says:

    As an ex Ryan-ite its a shame to see where things are right now BUT there are always new opportunities around the corner – banking is still an incredibly rich market that is to some extent untapped. Sure, a lot of banks have tested, piloted and even in some cases rolled out an instore digital network. But most of those rollouts will now been amortized and in the same way that Walmart evolved their original network some of these banks will do the same.

    I do believe that the market will not bear the same number of s/w vendors it has in the past. Companies like Stratacache are becoming the technology standard. IT/ procurement are looking for robust, scalable and cost efficient ways of installing these networks and an agency simply does not have credibility here.

    IMO the play for Ryan was and should be ‘financial services retail agency’ – they should focus on content and strategy for instore environments and partner with the technology companies who are ‘winning’ the race.

    If I had the inclination right now I would focus on starting a company that does just that.

  13. Mike Says:

    Has the winner of the Citizens Digital RFP been announced yet? Rumor has it that the account John Ryan lost is going to Convergent, but no official announcement has been made as yet. Word on the street is that Convergent is already purchasing equipment and that Stratacache is involved behind the scenes. Can anyone confirm these rumors?

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