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Weak Links Break Even the Best Security
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (1084 reads)

In the face of growing Internet-based fraud, money is rapidly becoming no object for the banking community. After all, we are protecting plenty more than dollars and cents. We’re protecting identities because, if we don’t, our customers will surely leave us.

Yet for all the money that banks have and will spend to guard against Internet fraud, the banks undoubtedly will be sabotaged by the very people they are trying to protect. Recent history is littered with evidence.

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Driving Revenues Through Customized Communications
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (1077 reads)

In a time of increased customer choice, dwindling profit margins and increased compliancy concerns, financial service institutions are seeking better ways to connect with customers. Given the challenges within the marketplace, it is increasingly important that banks be knowledgeable about their target prospects and that they understand how to best communicate with them.

One of the best methods to building better customer relationships is to talk to them in their language about what concerns them. An ideal way to approach this is with the implementation of a customized online, on-demand communications platform.

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Hiding in Plain Sight: Non-Growth Growth
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (1080 reads)

"Find the Money” has become the new reality game of the banking industry. Financial prognosticators forecast continued fierce competition for deposits and loans, driven by the shape of the yield curve and margin compression. Financial institutions have responded with tempting rate offerings, targeted marketing and creative relationship packages, all designed to lure customers – to attract and increase profitable relationships.

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Remote Deposit: Minimize Fraud Exposure
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (1142 reads)

Bankers focusing on issues surrounding image and transmission quality of Remote Deposit technology need to be conscious of potential fraud exposures.

Many bankers rely on hold harmless agreements to put liability for fraud in the customer’s hands; however, deflecting liability does not minimize the risk to your reputation when a perpetrator takes advantage of easy access through technology. More importantly, if the customer itself is the perpetrator – or even if not – funds may not be available to reimburse the bank.

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Change for Good in 2007
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (2036 reads)

It doesn’t work to leap a 20-foot chasm in two 10-foot jumps.”     –American proverb
“Change. Change. Change. Why does everyone and everything have to change? It’s exhausting.” In one form or another, this is a comment I have heard endlessly. The real question is: How would you feel if there was never any change in your life? You would be bored out of your mind. You wouldn’t learn, you wouldn’t grow and your brain would lose its ability to shape itself around new ideas and adapt to new challenges.

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Leadership and the New ROA
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (1032 reads)

By necessity, bankers work in a data-rich environment. At the end of the day, bank executives can click a mouse and pull up financial metrics documenting including, depending on the sophistication level of the bank’s software and hardware, everything from the bank’s compliance with federal guidelines to profitability across business units, demographic markets and time periods. In fact, the only limits to the richness of the bank’s financial reports are those imposed by the creativity and business acumen of the core system’s designers.

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Credit Risk Extensions
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (1098 reads)

For many community bankers, talking about enterprise risk management is a good way to make their eyes glaze over. This is a natural reaction when first confronted with any new program that appears to increase expenses without any offsetting economic benefit that will increase the bottom line.
It may be easier to think of enterprise risk management in terms of a natural extension of credit risk management. For many years now, community banks have been adopting some of the credit risk rating practices of larger banks. In a sense, credit risk ratings for community banks became a fact of life with the recession of the late ’80s and early ’90s. All of a sudden, community bankers were being asked to be more proactive in identifying the risks inherent in the bank’s loan portfolio, before the loan suddenly appeared on the delinquency or non-accrual reports.

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Enterprise Process Risk and Apple Pies
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (1473 reads)

Enterprise risk assessments are all the rage, and I think each definition of the word “rage” may apply (fury, frenzy, fume, fad, trend, etc). Banks subject to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Act (FDICIA) compliance requirements (currently institutions with assets in excess of $1 billion) have had an early experience with enterprise risk assessment and control.

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Information Technology Risk Assessment
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (2158 reads)

For any organization, risk management is a vital, but time- and resource-hungry activity. Changes in governance and advances in technology have broadened the scope of required risk management services, creating disconnected or soloed risk management initiatives. Customer information, regulatory compliance, vendor management and disaster recovery are just some of the vital categories, all of which require regular assessment to be an effective means of understanding and mitigating risk. The objective of an information technology risk assessment is to properly identify and inventory every technology asset of the organization, including hardware and business software application; identify threats; and measure the likelihood and impact if those threats materialize. But just as the IT organization can not operate in a vacuum, the IT risk assessment must not remain in a silo. So what are the stops on this journey?
Traditional risk management procedures involve periodic assessments. An inherent disadvantage of this system is that the pulse of an organization’s risk management is only monitored at intervals. An assessment of just one aspect of an organization can take three or four weeks itself, to say nothing of the time between assessments. In this time between assessments, the only information available is unlikely to be current, and if third-party consultants performed the assessment, they would need to be called back to consult on issues or to perform an assessment update. Much time and effort is wasted in this model.
For an IT risk assessment to be a foundational element of an organization’s risk management program, methodology and mechanisms must be in place to support continuous update and evaluation as threats emerge, and controls and responses are developed.

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Course Create a Diverse Student Body
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (1044 reads)

From its humble “corporate offices” in Norwich, the Center for Financial Training Atlantic States (CFT) has built a college-like atmosphere with its ever-popular online courses. Currently, over 1,000 students are actively completing courses and pursuing CFT diplomas and certificates via the Internet. And, thanks to transfer credit recommendations approved by the American Council on Education (ACE), many of these students will enjoy a head start as they go on to pursue degrees at various colleges and universities. What gives these CFT online courses a college-like feel is that the students in a typical class will come from many different states across the country. “There are 20 other CFT companies located throughout the United States, and many of them enroll their students in online courses offered by CFT Atlantic States,” explains Michael Meakem, president of CFT Atlantic States. “We spent a lot of time and money building the infrastructure for a distance learning program, so rather than do the same, the other CFTs have decided to utilize our online courses.”

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Just Rambling On!
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (1384 reads)

Whatever happened to the summer doldrums? When I first read about the proposed merger of the American Bankers Association and America’s Community Bankers, I had two immediate reactions: 1) it was one of the best-kept secrets in Washington, D.C., in many a year and 2) it is going to take a lot of work and undoubtedly would ruin a lot of summer vacation plans for employees of both organizations. The two associations have set aggressive merger timelines with due diligence this summer, board votes in September and membership votes in October. If approved, the deal will be consummated in the fourth quarter of this year. Stay tuned.

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NJBankers Expands Online Training
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (1063 reads)

As technological advancements are made within the financial sector, banks are increasingly utilizing Web seminars. A Web seminar is an enhanced telephone seminar containing interactive components – the ability to provide, receive and discuss information between the presenter and audience. These seminars are convenient and cost-effective training tools that are becoming an important component of the professional development opportunities banks provide their employees.

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A New Era
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (1028 reads)

There’s a rhythm for every season: In springtime the snow and cold are gone, leaves are sprouting, golf courses are open and the Legislature begins hearing thousands of bills filed in the depths of winter. In Washington, led by the Democratic takeover of the House and Senate, Congress has taken on many more issues early in the session than in several years, while the pace on Beacon Hill has been a bit more reserved.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007 (1690 reads)


The biggest card heist ever,” the Boston Globe article read, regarding the 45.7 million credit and debit card numbers lifted from the TJX Cos. computer systems at its Framingham headquarters and from its facility in Watford, England. Rustling the newspaper’s front page, an exasperated T rider, perhaps a customer of T.J. Maxx, was heard to exclaim: “How obscene is this?”
In this latest revelation, which since January has been coming in inexplicable dribs and drabs, TJX for the first time disclosed, according to The Globe, that even those files the company had attempted to protect were protected poorly and may have been compromised.

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