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Robbery Response: Training Is the Key
Friday, March 31, 2006 (4335 reads)


Hey, you’re the man with the gun – you get what you want. How many people do you know have had an occasion to think these words as someone pointed a gun at them? Marilyn Hopkins has – not once but twice. Now an officer at Sanford Institution for Savings, she managed the Buxton office of Casco Bank in 1987 when that branch was robbed three times in 22 months. She was present for two of the three robberies. Eighteen years later, she can talk freely about the two robberies and even finds humor in some of the details, but she admits that eight bank robberies in Maine over the last couple of months is tremendously unsettling for her. 



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Uncertain Prognosis for Health Accounts
Friday, March 31, 2006 (998 reads)


The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 included a new program for advocates of “consumer-driven health plans.” Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are tax-free accounts that can be used for healthcare expenses. (In Maine, contributions to these accounts are subject to state taxes.) Unlike Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), these accounts have no “use it or lose it” provision, and are fully portable.



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Are We There Yet?
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1194 reads)


Ten minutes into our family vacation, which included a 15-hour car ride, the little voice of my four-year-old son asks “Are we there yet?” Although we attempted to prepare him for this long trek, he did not grasp what that really meant. After several hours of being in the car, and many more “Are we there yet” questions, we decided to approach his question by relating back to prior lengthy car rides, such as trips to the beach, amusement parks and grandparents.



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A Conversation With David A. Lentini
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1658 reads)


David A. Lentini is a resident of West Hartford and is chairman, president and chief executive officer of CBT (Connecticut Bank & Trust Co.). He has 38 years of experience in retail and commercial banking and has previously started a de novo Connecticut commercial bank, namely the Bank of South Windsor in South Windsor.



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Director’s Role in the ALCO Process
Friday, March 31, 2006 (2970 reads)


Asset/liability management (ALM) is one of the most important elements in community banking success. ALM is often narrowly pigeonholed as interest-rate risk management, but this is only one aspect of balance sheet management. ALM should be driven by the institution’s strategic plan in the intermediate term and by the budget in the short run.



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Network Security a Priority
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1212 reads)


The role of a board member has grown in importance and complexity with the adoption of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and Sarbanes-Oxley. Corporate and IT governance obligations are now mandated, and non-compliance can carry stiff monetary penalties and prison sentences. To employ effective corporate and IT governance, the board must have a clear understanding of risk management, which entails identifying vulnerabilities and threats to information resources used in achieving business objectives, then deciding on the appropriate security and internal controls to mitigate the risks.



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ABA INSURANCE PROGRAM SHARES PROFITS
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1339 reads)


The American Bankers Association recently announced that the American Bankers Professional and Fidelity Insurance Co. (ABPFIC) – the mutual reinsurer for the ABA-sponsored insurance program – will distribute $4 million in underwriting profits to insured member banks.    



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Is a WalMart Bank in Your Future?
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1135 reads)


Editor’s note: As this edition of Connecticut Banking went into production, the FDIC informed several members of Congress that they would now conduct public hearings regarding Wal-Mart Bank’s (in organization) federal deposit insurance application. They further stated that, to date, the application has generated more than 1,500 comments from the public and more than 90 requests for hearings.



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Senator Bob Duff & Representative Paul Doyle: Co-Chairmen of the Connecticut General Assembly Banks Committee
Friday, March 31, 2006 (2943 reads)


The lives of state Senator Bob Duff and Representative Paul Doyle have run parallel paths since they were children, and now, as Co-Chairmen of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Banks Committee, the two politicians share similar hopes and goals for Connecticut’s banking industry.



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The CSR That’s Not a Customer Service Representative
Friday, March 31, 2006 (981 reads)


Here we are at the start of a new year and it’s a pretty good time  to take stock. The year 2005 was a good year for banks. Most of us enjoyed good earnings, strong credit quality and the ability to contribute to charitable organizations throughout the commonwealth.



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South Adams Savings Bank
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1650 reads)


South Adams Savings, a mutual savings bank located in Adams, was founded in 1869 when there was but one town in the Bay State with Adams in its name. Adams was a town with two distinct sections – north and south. Then, in 1878, the northern part of town officially split to become the North Adams we know today. At that time, the southern section of town elected to continue to be known simply as Adams.
South Adams Savings Bank President and CEO Charlie O’Brien says, “Many people come around to this day looking for the town of South Adams.”


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The Year Ahead
Friday, March 31, 2006 (890 reads)


Many legislative bodies, including  the Massachusetts Legislature and the U. S. Congress, now run on a two-year cycle. The first year is primarily devoted to conducting hearings on the thousands of bills filed, passing a budget and addressing any super-critical issues that command immediate attention. During the second year, legislative committees complete their review processes and determine which bills deserve action on the House or Senate floors.



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The Many Faces of SBA
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1288 reads)


In order to achieve this status through the SBA, a bank must close a certain number of loans over a period of time. James A. Kocsi, district director of the SBA-New Jersey District, said that once the SBA feels comfortable with the bank, it will accept the institution’s credit evaluation and default the credit decision to the lender. 



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Winning the Battle With Fraudsters
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1041 reads)


As members of the banking industry, we all understand that financial institutions can incur significant losses as a result of fraudulent activity and identity theft. What’s noteworthy is that many financial institutions continue to place more emphasis on recovering losses once they’ve occurred, rather than taking a proactive stance in the fight against identity thieves. 



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Cyber Crime and Financial Institutions: Recent Study Results and Lessons Learned
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1348 reads)


In 2003 and 2004, the U.S. Secret Service and Carnegie Mellon University joined efforts to conduct a unique study of illicit cyber activity. The study focused on incidents committed by “insiders” – individuals who were, or previously had been, authorized to use the information systems they eventually employed to perpetrate harm.



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How E-mail Marketing Can Play A Significant Role in Your PR Mix
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1338 reads)


As banks across the country increasingly look for measurable ways to attract and maintain customers or clients, all indicators point to online services to deliver the goods. One of the “oldest” forms of online advertising remains one of the most effective – e-mail marketing.



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Mission Accomplished!
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1351 reads)


A year ago at our convention in New Orleans, as the new chairman of NJBankers, part of my inaugural address focused on the theme of “exploring the possibilities.” And that we did.



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SBA Lending – Extending a Hand to Small Business
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1388 reads)


Imagine lending hundreds of thousands of dollars to a business that has no collateral or solid financial history. Most banks wouldn’t think twice about denying that loan application, but with the help of the United States Small Business Administration, more New Jersey banks are reaching out to entrepreneurs and providing financing for businesses like restaurants, gas stations and day-care centers.



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Jim Conlon
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1397 reads)


James J. Conlon was named president and CEO of Bangor Savings Bank on June 27, 2005, having previously served as the bank’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.


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Maine 2005 Home Prices Up Over 9%
Friday, March 31, 2006 (997 reads)


Home sales in Maine were stable in 2005, with only 49 fewer homes switching hands than in 2004. Median sales prices, however, were on the rise.



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Rick Vail Named CEO At Mechanics Savings Bank
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1923 reads)


Mechanics Savings Bank board of directors is pleased to announce that Richard J. “Rick” Vail has been appointed as the bank’s president and chief executive officer.



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The Joys of Acronyms
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1032 reads)


Too numerous to acknowledge and so commonplace that communications might be foiled without them, acronyms are a language of their own. The banking industry has a laundry list of standards: the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.), DDA (Demand Deposit Account), the IRA (Individual Retirement Account) and the NOW (Negotiable Order of Withdrawal). 



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Local Lenders Can Help Rural Development
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1142 reads)


With more than 98 percent of Maine communities eligible for assistance from Rural Development’s Guaranteed Programs, numerous opportunities exist for funding collaboration. Through partnership with Rural Development, banks can provide communities with fundamental building blocks for economic and community capacity building.



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Peter Judkins
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1325 reads)


Peter Judkins was named president and chief executive officer of Franklin Savings Bank upon the retirement of Gary Downs. He had been executive vice president of the bank for the last six years, returning to Maine in 1999 after serving in vice president positions regionally with both American Express and Citicorp.



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Governor Corzine and the Budget: Looming Deficit Could Spell Trouble
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1233 reads)


The current fiscal condition of New Jersey is shaping up to be at the forefront of serious issues that Gov. Jon Corzine will face in his first test as leader of our great state. It is no secret that the budget deficit could possibly reach as high as $6 billion, or less, depending upon with whom you last talked. 



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It’s Not the Elephants That Bite
Friday, March 31, 2006 (1237 reads)


Have you ever been bitten by an elephant? Do you know anyone who has been bitten by one? Probably not. 

But, have you ever been bitten by a mosquito or many mosquitoes in a short period of time? Like everyone, of course you have. And in the community banking business, we all know that it’s not the big things that get you, it is the little things that get you. And it’s the little things, done consistently well, that make community banks and bankers successful in their market.


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New Rules on NJ REIT Dividends Taxation
Friday, March 31, 2006 (4802 reads)


Certain banks operating in New Jersey may see an increase in their state income tax expense beginning in 2006 as a result of recently released regulations from the New Jersey Division of Taxation.  



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Thoughts for the New Sales Manager
Friday, March 31, 2006 (942 reads)


I recently met with the newly appointed CEO of a community bank who joked that his honeymoon on the job had lasted about 30 minutes. His situation was different from some new leaders – he had been with the organization for more than 10 years, most recently as the COO – but with the heightened expectations that stakeholders have today for immediate results, it’s clear that the first few months on the job are particularly important.



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