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Definition Critical
Monday, March 09, 2015 (97 reads)

In 2015, vendor management may be the new black. Or, if we’re going to use an industry-specific example, the new QM rule. That is to say, it’s an issue to watch this year.
Of course, vendor management is nothing new for the banking industry. What is new is the increased regulatory scrutiny in this area, which has been ramping up since a joint regulatory review and ensuing enforcement actions in 2011 of several large mortgage servicers.
The most recent turning point, according to many, is OCC Bulletin 2013 – 29, issued in October 2013, which laid out agency guidance on managing risks associated with third-party relationships.

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Long Live the Lockbox
Sunday, March 01, 2015 (185 reads)

Digital online, remote deposit capture and mobile payment systems are growing rapidly, but they haven’t eclipsed the growth of the analog lockbox yet. For some banks – and their customers – the lockbox remains a payment system staple, and not just because of a fondness on the part of banks for retro technologies.

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Hidden Traps of Payment Processing
Sunday, March 01, 2015 (129 reads)

Financial institutions are expected to be responsible and accountable for the operation of their payment processing systems, regardless of whether that function is handled by a third-party vendor. Most third-party vendors limit their accountability to failures within their own systems. Errors that originate within a bank or retailer’s system – not their job.
Even verifiable third-party vendor errors can result in a big headache. Bank customers don’t know the difference. They’ll leave a bank over a botched bill pay, no matter the origin.

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The Westchester Bank Delivers Big Service on Community Scale
Sunday, March 01, 2015 (87 reads)

When The Westchester Bank set up shop in a pair of double-wide trailers in Yonkers in 2008, Collins Brothers, a moving and storage company, was one of its first customers.
“We had always been with large banks,” said Frank Webers, CEO of Collins. “We felt that Westchester offered a more personal relationship. When you’re an entrepreneur and put every single thing you have in your business, you take it very personally. Westchester takes a lot of time to understand your business, what makes it tick, and be there with suggestions and solutions. I always felt that no matter what our challenges or needs, they were always there to support us. It’s the best banking relationship we’ve ever had.”

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Fed Paper Lays Out Grand Payments Vision, Strategy
Sunday, March 01, 2015 (76 reads)

Positioning itself as a “catalyst for collaboration,” the Federal Reserve System recently laid out its vision for a payments utopia and outlined several strategies for getting there, including the creation of two industry task forces sometime early this year.
The payments system of the future would be fast, safe and efficient. U.S. consumers would have better options for sending payments across borders, and players in the payments system would collaborate to make sure consumers could send payments seamlessly across a myriad of providers, the Fed wrote in its recent paper, “Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System.”

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Postponing Death and Taxes
Sunday, March 01, 2015 (87 reads)

Last July, the U.S. Treasury issued regulations allowing qualified longevity annuity contracts as tax-deferred annuity products. The new rules allow deferment distribution of payments, within qualified retirement plans, until up to age 85, far beyond the required minimum distribution (RMD) age of 70 ½.
Now, holders of 401(k) or IRAs can use up to 25 percent of their account balance across all their retirement accounts, or $125,000, whichever is less, to buy a QLAC.

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Mobile Payments Finally Gain Traction
Sunday, March 01, 2015 (246 reads)

Apple Pay had barely reached consumers’ digital wallets last fall when overeager critics pounced, declaring the new mobile payments product a “fizzle.”
To Empire State banks and credit unions, rushing to jump on the latest development in mobile payments technology to stay relevant with tech-savvy customers, it was bewildering news indeed. But three months out, the critics are the ones now looking foolish, with Apple making clear it is here to stay with its potentially revolutionary new product.

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New Year Brings Renewed Efforts
Sunday, March 01, 2015 (60 reads)

The 2014 elections are history and the 2015 congressional and state legislative sessions are underway, launched by President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address and Gov. Andrew  Cuomo’s combined State of the State message and 2015-16 state budget presentation, entitled the “2015 Opportunity Agenda.”

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Social Marketing 101: Meet the Future Now
Friday, April 04, 2008 (4428 reads)

Today's preteens and teens are tomorrow's customers. How do you reach the kids who grew up with the Internet – the iPhone, YouTube and Facebook generation? Youth culture has been ratcheted up to light speed, but the banking industry is slow to adopt new marketing strategies.
One reason is risk. While early adopters gain a head start against competitors in customer retention and acquisition, the return on investment must be evaluated versus waiting for the technology to mature and become commonplace.
“The financial service industry is up against a ‘commodification’ of products and services,” said Michael Seaton, vice president of Digital Marketing at Thornley Fallis Communications, an agency integrating social media with public relations. “New media – meaning social media tools and platforms – provides a range of choices to directly reach out and humanize the banking experience. Transparency and authenticity are front and center and brands must differentiate themselves around their actions, not slogans.”
“The demographics and psychographics of our customers are dynamic,” said Steve Coen, a consultant in the financial industry and retired CIO of Buffalo-w based M&T Bank. “Product and delivery demands are changing, and we must serve our customers on their terms; how, when and where they demand services.”

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New Approaches To Land Top Talent
Tuesday, September 25, 2007 (1940 reads)

Finding the right executive for an important position in banking, and particularly in the specialized field of wealth management, can make or break an organization’s performance. Unfilled positions and failed new-hires can cost an organization money and momentum and undermine their status in the marketplace.

Meanwhile, the task of identifying top talent gets harder all the time. A declining number of mid-career workers, fewer younger workers entering the workforce and a rapid growth in workers above the age of 55 are all contributing to a talent gap. Furthermore, with the walls separating the various financial services firms tumbling down, banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, money managers and others are all searching for the same talent.

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Increase Your Customers and Deposits
Tuesday, September 25, 2007 (5901 reads)

Online banking is widely considered to be one of the all-time greatest applications of the Internet, yet many banks are squandering the opportunity to add droves of new online customers because they do not offer customers an alternative to signing paper documents to open an account online.

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Turning the Fair Labor Standards Act On Its Head
Tuesday, September 25, 2007 (2694 reads)

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), in its original form, was designed to protect workers by imposing overtime premiums, establishing minimum wages and abolishing the use of oppressive child labor. But today, nearly 70 years after the act’s inception, some believe it is the employees, counseled by plaintiffs’ lawyers, who are taking advantage of their employers.

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The Subprime Mortgage Crisis: Banks to the Rescue?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007 (3133 reads)

The rumors of the death of the subprime mortgage market are not exaggerated or even untimely. In fact, it seems as if a plague of sorts has infected the industry, and it started with the dubious and sometimes downright predatory habits of many mortgage bankers and brokers. Cries of irresponsible business practices in the industry and marketing schemes that drove lending guidelines are cropping up all over the media nowadays, but it seems like a little of the hindsight is 20/20 type rhetoric.


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New Accounting Standards May Be Opportunity or Trap
Tuesday, September 25, 2007 (2273 reads)

 In February of this year, the Financial Accounting Standards Board released Statement 159, which allows fair-value accounting for most financial assets and liabilities. This is no surprise, as this ...

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Richard H. Neiman
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 (2773 reads)

Since his appointment as the New York State Banking Department’s 43rd Superintendent in March, Richard H. Neiman has had plenty of weighty issues vying for his attention...



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Patriot Federal Bank is Loyal to Local Roots
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 (2324 reads)

For every bank there is always the risk of acquisition.

Community banks can thrive and grow, but the risk of a larger bank acquiring it is always there, said Gordon Coleman, president and CEO of Patriot Federal Bank in Canajoharie in Montgomery County.

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Protecting Against the Hidden Costs of Identity Theft
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 (1974 reads)

Identity theft is widely and correctly viewed as an insidious crime, wherein a person’s good name and financial standing are tarnished, often through the criminal misuse of credit and debit cards. But many of the programs and insurance policies designed to protect a person against the ravages of identity theft are extremely limited in scope...

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Strategic Flexible Working Programs Produce Results
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 (2530 reads)

Strategic flexible working is based on the core concept of traditional flexible working and telecommuting programs. But when elevated to a major corporate initiative driven by producing measurable results...

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