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GET READY TO RUMBLE Policymakers Take Sides on NY’s Finance Reform
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (1888 reads)



After the disaster comes the relief team. But those who would stop the bleeding of the battered      mortgage industry haven’t yet agreed on where to put the tourniquet. For months, federal and state lawmakers have been busy taking sides – often against each other. 
New York State is in the forefront of finance reform. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s sweeping investigation of the state’s mortgage and ratings industries have resulted in reform proposals the scope of which we haven’t seen since the 1930s, which could become national models. That’s what some state and federal financial leaders don’t want to see. The fight for standards versus structure has been joined at the federal level by the Comptroller of the Currency, John Dugan, who calls Cuomo’s proposed reform “draconian” and unenforceable.



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Home-Based Agents Gain Momentum In Financial Services
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (1521 reads)


How will your business change over the next few years? Technology advancements continue to compress the timeframes in which change occurs and allow businesses to innovate at an astonishing pace. The impact on the financial services industry today and in the future is difficult to predict. However, to achieve sustainable success executives must implement strategies and forge partnerships that make their organizations flexible and adaptable. For many organizations, outsourcing may be an opportunity to make your company’s infrastructure adaptable enough to survive the long haul.
Outsourcing is not foreign to most financial intuitions. In fact, because almost 100 percent of today’s financial processes are digitized, there is already a heavy reliance on outside IT vendors. These technology-reliant processes are also fueling the adoption of virtual call centers



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Maximize Profits by Outsourcing Merchant Processing Sales & Programs
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (2647 reads)


Today’s financial institutions have found a new focus to aid them in a competitive market while still being able to focus on their core banking products. This additional area of focus means many financial institutions now understand the need to outsource the sales of non core banking products. What they’ve learned in the process of outsourcing is enlightening – it’s not an exit, but instead an extension of their business. If done correctly, the company or processor that the financial institution uses can sell the bank’s ancillary products and bring in additional demand deposit accounts (DDA) and revenue in the process.



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Customer Anger: Bank on It!
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (2390 reads)


Every business, in every industry, has some angry customers. After all, it’s impossible to please all of the people all of the time. However, some industries, due to the nature of their business, are more susceptible to customer anger than others.
Banking falls into that category. Many bank customers are not exactly strategic in their use of banking services. They don’t necessarily view banks as a value-added service, but rather, a lesser-of-two-evils alternative to stashing their money under their mattresses. They see banks as primarily a place that you give your money to, to hold and to dole back out to you, or to your designees, while keeping a percentage of it for themselves. Since there is often no tangible product or service that is readily apparent, many bank customers are quick to anger when they receive less than outstanding service.
So, how do banks keep their customers happy, and appease those who are angry, when the entire banking industry is often painted in a less than favorable light? The answers to this question are more than simply a recipe for survival; they are a roadmap to the head of the class!



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How to Better Manage Your Bank’s Technology Infrastructure: Treat it Like a Supply Chain
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (1237 reads)


Managing technology infrastructure is a challenge when supporting, upgrading or installing hardware and software. For large banks upgrading teller platforms, data centers, security systems and other network equipment, it’s important to minimize installation and support costs while ensuring quality across many branch locations.
For small banks that may be outgrowing a local technical resource, it may be time to graduate to a more professional firm for technology infrastructure services, one that can guarantee quality without breaking the bank’s IT budget.



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A Call to Order
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (1126 reads)


The current crisis in confidence in the financial services industry has already prompted unprecedented forms of government intervention, but which calls for more — much more — action to ensure the long-term stability of our capital markets.
Just 30 years ago, commercial banks and thrifts held 71 percent of all private, non-governmental U.S. loans, under almost total control by the Federal Reserve. The amount of credit extended by the private sector (not including banks) between then and the end of 2007 grew almost three and a half times as much as that provided by the banking system. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, a new idea about lending took hold. Securitized credit outstanding grew nearly 50-fold from 1980 to 2000 — compared to a mere 3.7 times for commercial bank loans over the same period. Capital markets began to overtake banks as the major source of credit.



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Online Banking Sets Bar for Customer Satisfaction
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (1151 reads)


The financial sector has increasingly moved online, as consumers get more and more comfortable using the convenience of the web to conduct transactions, perform product research and check account balances. For financial institutions, the internet saves money, helps build the brand and provides ongoing opportunities for cross-selling. An effective website can also assist banking organizations to increase market share and enhance customer loyalty.



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Examiners Are Targeting CRE Risks: Banks Should Be Measuring Them Too
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (1742 reads)


Banking industry regulators, along with elected officials and just about everyone else, have been preoccupied of late with the subprime crisis, and with good reason. But this is by no means the only pressing regulatory concern. Long before subprime and “meltdown” began to appear regularly in the same sentences, federal bank regulators were targeting the increasing risks in commercial real estate (CRE) loan portfolios.



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Subprime Lending and Securities Litigation Insurance Coverage? The Credit Exposure Questionnaire
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (1787 reads)


The implosion of the subprime lending market has spawned an explosion of litigation. With all the fireworks, risk managers are scrambling to determine coverage issues regarding insurance poli¬cies. Specifically, they are considering whether their D&O, E&O, and F1 Bond policies offer protection to their financial institutions from the torrent of legal actions stemming from the collapse of the subprime securities marketplace.



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Somebody Wants to Kill Your Bank’s Web Site
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (1459 reads)


Our perceptions of the Internet change all too quickly. Four years ago, spam morphed from a brand of processed meat into e-mail solicitations for Canadian pharmaceuticals. Two years ago, spam changed again from a potpourri of sexual enhancement offers to a launch vehicle for computer viruses. Now, spam has changed again – this time to a vehicle for death threats.
The FBI has reported threatening e-mails throughout the United States with a common, chilling subject line: “Someone you call your friend wants you dead.” The victim is asked to pay $20,000 for the “evidence of the person that wants you dead.” When the tape arrives, the victim then must pay an additional $80,000 to stop the sender from fulfilling his assignment – which is to kill the victim.



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De Novo Bank Launch Driven By Best Tech Initiatives
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (2157 reads)


When entrepreneurs Larry Smith and David Zalik first started talking about the idea of launching a new bank in the hallway of their offices of Green Sky Financial at the end of 2005, they knew the bank would be one that would focus heavily on the latest and best in banking technology with four specific goals in mind. 
“We wanted to guarantee the most responsive service to our customers, said Zalik. “Secondly, we wanted to use technology to provide more and faster service.  We wanted to save customers time and add convenience to their banking and financial experience.  Lastly, we wanted to allow our customers and their new bankers to spend less time doing mundane, everyday transactions and more time developing relationships and providing personal value added service and strategic support.”
When their vision was realized with the opening of Atlanta-based RockBridge Commercial Bank (www.rockbridgebank.com) a year and half ago in November 2006, the bank had just closed on what was the largest capitalization in Georgia state banking history at $36.6 million.



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Foreclosures on Wheels: Auto Loan Market Stumbles
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (1959 reads)


As the home foreclosure crisis persists, millions of consumers are now experiencing a form of residual economic damage – defaulting automobile loans. The implications for banks include increased incentives to do loan workouts, due to reduced resale prices at auction. But on the bright side, a shakeout in the auto loan industry that weeds out the less stable non-bank lenders could result in a flight to quality, back to banks with sounder underwriting policies.



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Signature Bank: Growth by Word-of-Mouth
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (2584 reads)


Most banks acquire other companies to grow. Signature Bank acquires people.
The New York City institution is just eight years old and in that time, has created a business model unique for the industry. With a strong focus on serving privately owned business clients, CEO and President Joseph J. DePaolo believes Signature has found its niche.



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Non-Conventional Wisdom: Debunking Myths in Risk Management
Thursday, July 03, 2008 (1092 reads)


In the aftermath of the subprime mortgage meltdown, risk managers and regulators around the world are doing a post-mortem.  And the diagnosis is ironic. In some cases, the very practices designed to contain the risks of subprime or non-conventional lending actually compounded the problem.
The subprime crisis has exposed the weakness of underlying assumptions in risk management. These assumptions were the prevailing conventional wisdom, and they are reasonable on the surface. So reasonable, in fact, that they went largely unchallenged until inconvenient realities revealed their shortcomings.



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