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A Conversation With John J. Patrick Jr.
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (2323 reads)

John J. Patrick Jr. is president and CEO of Banknorth Connecticut, New Britain. He has been in the banking industry for more than 25 years. He joined Glastonbury Bank & Trust Co. in 1994, where he served as senior loan officer and then as president, and was instrumental in the January 2002 bank’s name change to Banknorth Connecticut. Under Patrick’s leadership, Banknorth Connecticut has grown from the 17th-largest bank in the state to the sixth-largest.

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What’s Your Bank’s Agenda?
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1382 reads)

Wandering through myriad state and national banking and thrift conventions and seminars, I’ve been listening to bank and thrift directors as to what is on their hot lists for the coming year versus what doesn’t seem to be of much importance.

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Schooled in Success
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1034 reads)

CBA Offers Two-Year Management Development Program

It’s not always easy for bankers to understand the work of the person in the next office. A commercial lender may not always grasp the inside and outside factors that go into the job of someone in operations, and vice versa. But as these bankers move up through the ranks, it becomes more important for them to have a broad appreciation of everything that goes on in an institution and in the financial world at large. How do they obtain such knowledge?

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Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1355 reads)

As the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) seeks to establish new standards or make improvements in financial accounting and reporting, businesses sometimes feel as if newly announced changes fall into the dubious category of “gotcha!” MB asked some of our accountant associate members for a “heads up” for the coming year.

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MBA Wins Insurance Decision
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1304 reads)

Just before press time, the Massachusetts Bankers Association announced that the U.S. District Court has issued a favorable opinion in a declaratory judgment action, resolving a critical case for banks that want to engage in insurance sales, enhancing options for consumers and Massachusetts banks for decades to come.

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Looking Back and Looking Ahead
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1440 reads)

The elections are over and the political landscape in Massachusetts is just about where it was last October. Despite an aggressive campaign by Gov. Mitt Romney and the Republican Party to raise millions to support 130 Republican candidates for the   Legislature (the most in over 10 years), the Democrats actually gained a net of three more seats in the House and Senate, retaining Massachusetts’ position as the most Democratic legislature in the nation.

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The Country Conundrum
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (2029 reads)

For many people, any mention of the central Massachusetts town of Ware brings to mind the classic Abbott and Costello “Who’s on first?” routine, as in “You’re from where?” which inevitably prompts the response, “That’s right, Ware.”

“It’s a modest claim to fame,” quips John MacNeish, chairman and CEO of Country Bank for Savings, which is headquartered in this former mill-town-turned-bedroom community, a short trek from the Quabbin Reservoir.

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Account Opening Process as Basis For Risk-Based AML Monitoring
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1920 reads)

With the regulations and exam procedures to support the USA Patriot Act being finalized, there have been questions raised about whether bankers can be expected to detect terrorist financing.

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Charge It!: An Insider’s History of the Bank Credit Card
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1912 reads)

The bank credit card as we know it today traces its roots back to a Long Island bank in 1951. It had a rough beginning and was slow to be accepted by the public, merchants and bankers alike. I had the great privilege of being part of its evolution.

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Charge It!: An Insider’s History of the Bank Credit Card
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1380 reads)

The bank credit card as we know it today traces its roots back to a Long Island bank in 1951. It had a rough beginning and was slow to be accepted by the public, merchants and bankers alike. I had the great privilege of being part of its evolution.

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From Turnberry Isle to New Orleans
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1094 reads)

It is hard to believe that my term as chairman of NJBankers has drawn to a close. It seems like it was yesterday that I was giving an acceptance speech at our annual convention at Turnberry Isle in Florida to lay out a vision to strengthen and grow our organization, NJBankers. I emphasized the word “our” and voiced a strong belief that each of us as banking professionals has a major responsibility to be “Stewards of our Industry.” I believed it then and, since serving as your chairman, I believe it now more than ever.

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Suspicious Activity Reports: Key Pieces of the Money-Laundering Puzzle
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1946 reads)

 In the 21st century it has become evident to law enforcement at every level that financial investigations will be critical in the fight against criminal and terrorist organizations. It is no secret that the criminals far outnumber those of us in the law enforcement community.

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Will the Bankruptcy Reform Bill Protect You When the Delinquency Wave Hits?
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1077 reads)

The devastation created by the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia was exceeded only by the worldwide outpouring of assistance, generosity and goodwill. It is both a testament to the precarious reality of our existence and the resiliency and fortitude of mankind. The tsunami resulted from an earthquake which few, if any, experts anticipated. As a consequence, there were no warning signs. There was no time to act, react or prepare.

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Acting Gov. Codey’s Popularity Soars
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1163 reads)

Acting Gov. Richard Codey has taken quick steps to right the course of New Jersey state government by calling for measures to address corruption, budget difficulties and other matters important to his constituents.

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Community Bankers Optimistic About 2005
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1164 reads)

The community banking industry expects a bright future for 2005, according to Grant Thornton’s Twelfth Annual Survey of Community Bank Executives.

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Public Relations’ Role in Banking
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (35917 reads)

Banking used to be simpler. People maintained accounts and loans at one of a handful of local banks close to their home. Marketing and public relations were not necessities because competition wasn’t as fierce. Banks could count on a loyal following, based in part on the personal interaction bank employees had with their customers.

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Understanding New BOLI Regulations
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (3576 reads)

Financial institutions can use “bank-owned life insurance” to help address a variety of employee benefit liabilities, including executives’ supplemental retirement plans, while also increasing shareholder value.
It has always been important, however, for institutions to make sure that they have documented the need for, and application of, the BOLI and that they are using high credit-quality insurance products. OCC Bulletin 2004-56, issued in December 2004, updates and provides added impetus to this mandate.
As institutions evaluate new purchases of BOLI, or examine existing policies to make sure they are meeting financial objectives in both a shareholder-friendly and regulatory-compliant manner, it is important to understand key guidelines associated with best BOLI practices.

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Characteristics of an Ineffective Board
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (7597 reads)

The corporate scandals of the past two years have certainly put boards of directors in the spotlight and, for the most part, the picture that has emerged is a negative one. Enron, HealthSouth, Tyco and Adelphia are among the businesses that have become synonymous with the failures of corporate responsibility.

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Grow Your Merchant Processing Business
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1085 reads)

In the past five years, the business climate for merchant processing has changed significantly. Profit margins are continuing to shrink and consolidation within the industry is at an all-time high. According to Mark Abbey, a partner with First Annapolis and a guest speaker at the recent Electronic Transaction Association’s Strategic Leadership conference, the top 10 acquirers have 40 percent more of the market share today than 10 years ago.

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Online Banking Up 47% in Two Years
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1047 reads)

Fifty-three million people, or 44 percent of Internet users and one-quarter of all adults, now say they use online banking. Those figures amount to an increase of 47 percent over the number of Americans who were performing online banking in late 2002. 

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The Quest for Good Workers: How Human Resources Departments Are Coping in the 21st Century
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1150 reads)

How many times have you walked into a shop or a business and seen a dog in residence? Usually the animal is calm, friendly and well-mannered – a welcome sight to dog lovers, who always stop to give it a pat. Isn’t there a study somewhere that says patting a dog can lower humans’ blood pressure?

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Community Service Corner
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1531 reads)

Bankers’ Day at the Legislature will take place on April 5. As always, it will be an opportunity for bankers to visit the State House for a first-hand look at the workings of the Legislature. Some bankers will shadow their local Representative or Senator for the day. Others will sit in on committee meetings or attend the noontime luncheon in the Hall of Flags to network with legislators and other bankers.

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Maine Real Estate Market Active
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1039 reads)

Fueled by low interest rates and high demand for property, Maine’s real estate values increased 7.93 percent in January, over the same month in 2004. 

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Start Planning Now for Long-Term Care
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1008 reads)

They can’t formulate a plan to save for their retirement, let alone think about the possibility of needing (and paying for) long-term care (LTC). A recent study by MetLife found that almost two-thirds of respondents in a study of 1,500 people between ages 40 and 70 have less than a basic understanding of LTC issues.

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The Sandwich Generation II
Thursday, March 31, 2005 (1014 reads)

When I used the title “Sandwich Generation” in the last issue, I received some very interesting comments. Some 20-somethings had not a clue as to why they were a piece of this puzzle. They optimistically believe that taking care of their parents won’t be their problem and that, most likely, the `rents have ample money to care for their own needs and leave a bundle for that next generation. Some 30- and 40-somethings were skeptical.

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