Rand Merchant Bank : Mergers for Value Growth



  • 5
  • November 15, 2013
  • David Lapin

Case Study Details

The Company: Rand Merchant Bank

Rand Merchant Bank, a successful investment bank, and First National Bank, a leading retail bank, merged making them one of the large banking institutions of the world. This was a giant merger fraught with giant challenges. One institution was structured and strategic in its thinking; the other had a stellar reputation for rapidly seizing opportunity and entrepreneurship. CEO, Paul Harris was well aware that by choosing one culture over the other, some good people would leave the new Bank. The new entity could not afford to lose talent. In this case 1+1 had to equal more than 2.

The Challenge
How do we merge two completely different cultures and not lose our human talent?

How can we improve productivity and performance while we are dealing with the complexity of merging cultures?

Can we use this change to grow and improve overall?

What they needed:

A passionate commitment from every level of leader and employee from both companies… fast
A common philosophy that everyone could rally around that would bind the two groups together
Strategies for using the situation to improve shareholder value

The cultures of the two organizations were in fact complete opposites. Paul Harris, knowing that large mergers seldom create true shareholder value, engaged Lapin International as his strategy consultants for the merger.

Bringing merging companies together is a complex process. While many consulting companies focus on the financial aspects of the merger, we knew that the brilliant minds at the helm of these two Banks had done all of that. We focused on the human and strategic dynamics and aligned these with the financial strategy. Paul set us to work immediately because he saw the danger inherent in such a large merger and understood the opportunity that could be gained with the right culture and philosophy in place.

With a series of customized programs, short results-driven strategy sessions, intense research and individual coaching we were able to show the strengths of the two groups and bring them together faster than anyone expected possible.

The lasting effects of cohesive energized units in an institution of such enormous size impacts every area of long term growth and they have exceeded expectations in nearly every form of measurement.

The Results
Rand Merchant Bank created a cohesive team at every level for the newly merged entity.

This unique business' call to action, was congruent with the cultures of both merging organizations and was enlivening to all.

There was improvement in all areas through innovation, meaningful cross-learning, opening the doors to hitherto unimagined competitive space.

The teams from both companies performed better than before, and kept their best talent.

The newly formed organization was much more powerful than the individual companies had previously been. The FirstRand Banking group became and remained a dominant powerhouse in its market.

The CEO attributed the success of the merger from a culture perspective in large part to the work done with Lapin International.


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