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Business-Friendly Maine
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1565 reads)

As I sat at the business-friendly Portland airport (PWM to you frequent fliers) during my four-hour-and-30-minute, equipment-delayed, non-stop flight to D.C., I thought, “What does the banking industry think about Washington?”

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Highlights of the RMA CEO Panel
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1464 reads)

A panel discussion of bank CEOs touched on a number of interesting topics at the May 24 Annual Meeting of the RMA Maine Chapter. Appearing on the panel were David Ott of TD Banknorth, Steve Woods of KeyBank, and Chris Emmons of Gorham Savings Bank. Mike Bonsey of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust moderated. Below is a synopsis of the issues raised and the CEOs’ comments.

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RESPA-Compliant Business Arrangements
Friday, June 30, 2006 (2123 reads)

RESPA (the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) is a consumer protection statute passed by Congress in 1974. It only relates to loans secured by mortgages placed on one- to-four family residential properties, and has two primary purposes: First, it helps consumers become better shoppers for settlement services; second, it is designed to eliminate kickbacks and referral fees that increase the cost of those services. RESPA is enforced by HUD (Housing and Urban Development), and is a comprehensive law.

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The Evolution of Branches: Building Relationships
Friday, June 30, 2006 (2036 reads)

Branches are the place where those relationships start. In their constant quest for new deposits, banks are building de novo branches, purchasing existing branches and implementing technological innovation at a faster pace than ever before. They leave no stone unturned in finding ways to serve existing customers and bring in new ones. 

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The Regulation X Three-Part Rule
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1344 reads)

HUD’s Section 3500.15 covers affiliated business arrangements:                                  
(a) General. An affiliated business arrangement is defined in section 3(7) of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2602(7)).
(b) Violation and exemption. An affiliated business arrangement is not a violation of Section 8 of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2607) and of Section 3500.14 if the conditions set forth in this section are satisfied. Paragraph (b)(1) of this section shall not apply to the extent it is inconsistent with section 8(c)(4)(A) of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2607(c)(4)(A)).

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A Conversation With Bryan P. Bowerman
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1525 reads)

Bryan P. Bowerman is chairman, president and CEO of Farmington Savings Bank. He has nearly 40 years of banking experience. Prior to joining FSB in 1998, he was president and CEO of the Bank of Southington. He has a vast and varied background in retail and commercial banking, operations, credit and information technology. He was one of the first directors of Yankee 24 in 1982.

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Identifying Solutions To Identity Theft: Government and Banking Industry Step Up Efforts To Prevent Data Breaches
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1174 reads)

Identity theft is getting more publicity than ever as missing tapes containing consumer data and mistakes plague not only the financial industry, but other industries that store account numbers and Social Security numbers.

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Regulation and the Need for Automation
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1370 reads)

Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) are at the top of the regulatory burden heap for today’s banker. While the laws related to BSA/AML have been around since the 1970s, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, changed the entire landscape. Today, financial institutions’ No. 1 compliance cost is likely BSA/AML, and much of that cost is focused on monitoring data to identify suspicious transactions. 
It’s no longer enough to merely report currency transactions that exceed $10,000. Regulators also expect you to have controls in place to identify transactions that could be money laundering. 

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How to Avoid Swimming With the ‘Phishes’
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1463 reads)

Clearly Internet-based banking is the way more and more people are choosing to bank. Although making transactions electronically is convenient and easy, it can put banks and their customers in jeopardy. Last fall the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) issued “Authentication in an Internet Banking Environment,” a 14-page document that provides an overview of risk-management controls needed to authenticate the identity of customers who use Internet-based banking services. And before year’s end, the FDIC expects banks to comply with this guidance.

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Lessons From Katrina, King
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1226 reads)

Post-Katrina, and for that matter, the rest of an incredible hurricane season in 2005, disaster and business continuity planning are getting a renewed and vigorous look by everyone including the White House, Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as the institutions and regulatory bodies that comprise our banking system. As we in the industry learn the importance of system recovery plans and business resumption plans (separate planning exercises, as I will describe presently) and as we start to test, in simulated exercises, our plans and responses, we quickly come to the recognition of contingency planning’s key ingredient/problem: People.

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Union Savings Bank Transition a Smooth One
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1038 reads)

On March 31, Charles F. Frosch retired from Union Savings Bank after leading the bank as its president and CEO for the past 24 years. John C. Kline, who joined Union Savings Bank in 1994, is now the new president and CEO.

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Hope Springs Eternal
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1314 reads)

Spring has arrived and, with the longer and warmer days, everyone affected (or afflicted) by the actions on Beacon or Capitol Hill continues to hold out hope that their issues will be addressed as desired. At this stage of the legislative cycle, committees are nearly finished deciding what bills they will endorse and which will be referred to study. Final redrafts are being written, and the legislative leadership in both branches is reviewing committee recommendations to determine which matters will get to the floor for votes – a process often influenced by the skill of interest groups or the crush of public or media attention.

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NJDOBI’s New Team
Friday, June 30, 2006 (8840 reads)

On May 8, Commissioner Goldman appointed Terry K. McEwen, senior vice president of retail banking at First Washington State Bank, to be director of banking. Director McEwen is awaiting Senate confirmation. Neither Goldman nor McEwen knew each other prior to joining DOBI.

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Defining Leadership
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1024 reads)

Leadership. This crucial business skill encompasses so many important attributes that it is difficult to define. As the leader of an executive search firm, I have recruited dozens of CEOs and sat in on countless board meetings. I have seen leadership in action and observed leaders who are in over their heads. And, as a student of best practices in leadership, I strive to emulate the traits of successful leaders in my own business. 

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Managing Merchant Processing Programs
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1778 reads)

Merchant processing varies in resource commitment, marketing support, pricing, potential revenue streams and, most importantly, recourse vs. non-recourse.

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Quick Elected Association Chairman
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1866 reads)

Michael M. Quick, chairman and chief executive officer of Susquehanna Patriot Bank, Marlton and executive vice president and group executive of affiliate banks of Susquehanna Bancshares Inc., has been elected chairman of NJBankers.


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Change Is in the Air
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1339 reads)

My message this morning is, more change is in the air. Nothing new to most of you, but a disturbing trend of issues on the federal horizon that over time will impact every banker in this room. Those issues, ranging from the political to the practical, tell me that a fundamental shift is occurring in my business: After a lengthy focus on state regulatory and legislative issues, again we return the focus to federal issues.

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Maine’s April Real Estate Sales Stable
Friday, June 30, 2006 (2021 reads)

Realtors reported stable single-family real estate sales during the month of April 2006, with only two fewer home sales recorded than in April 2005. According to the Maine Real Estate Information System, median sales prices increased 1.6 percent over the 12-month comparison period.

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Rick Vail
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1193 reads)

 Rick Vail was named president and chief executive officer of Mechanics Savings Bank Jan. 30. He has 28 years of experience in the financial services industry, having worked in commercial lending both at Gorham Savings Bank and at Peoples Heritage Bank, predecessor of TD Banknorth. He was also formerly a financial consultant for A.G. Edwards & Sons.

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The HUD Litmus Test
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1498 reads)

Does the new entity have sufficient initial capital and net worth, typical in the industry, to conduct the settlement service business for which it was created? Or is it undercapitalized to do the work it purports to provide?

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Updating Disaster Recovery Plans
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1483 reads)

With the government’s issuance of an emergency response plan to deal with the pandemic flu, banks and other businesses have been asked to develop response plans of their own to cope with this type of scenario.

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Budget Woes Increase: Rebates for Homeowners may be cut
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1287 reads)

Gov. Jon Corzine’s plans for restoring New Jersey’s fiscal house took a turn for the worse when it was announced that lower-than-expected revenue collections increased the budget deficit by another $440 million. State Treasurer Bradley Abelow’s report to the Senate and Budget and Appropriations Committee is forcing the administration to look at further cuts and possibly postponing Corzine’s initiative to spare more working-poor residents from paying income taxes. 

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From Good to Great
Friday, June 30, 2006 (1215 reads)

I consider it an honor to have been elected as the 2006-2007 chairman of NJBankers. When I was asked to be on the board of trustees several years ago, I never dreamed that the appointment would lead to the position of chairman. Observing the leadership of our immediate past chairmen Jim Hyman and Ted Bessler during my past two years in the chairs, I am aware of the time and effort that is needed to be an effective chairman and I have prepared my schedule accordingly. I, like my predecessors, have every intention to meet the goal of providing value to the members of our association, but before I get into the specifics of the plan to bring our organization from “good to great,” I wish to thank several individuals for their part in this venture.

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