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A Conversation With Mark Macomber
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (2376 reads)

Mark E. Macomber is president & CEO, Litchfield Bancorp, Litchfield, Conn. He was named the bank’s executive vice president in late 1993 and was elected president & CEO of the bank in March 1994. Macomber began his career with The Savings Bank of Newport in Newport, R.I. and then with Rhode Island Hospital Trust National Bank in Providence, R.I. Currently, he also serves and president & CEO of Connecticut Mutual Holding Co., a two-bank organization that also includes Northwest Community Bank in Winsted, Conn. Macomber served in the United States Naval Reserve retiring in 1991 with the rank of commander.

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CFT Writes The Book On Banker Education
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1926 reads)

CFT Rewrites The Book
On Banker Education
By Katie Curnutte
The Center for Financial Training Atlantic States, headquartered in the heart of downtown Norwich, Conn., has quietly become a major provider of training and development for financial institutions up and down the Atlantic Coast.

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A Conversation with John Witherspoon
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1550 reads)

John Witherspoon was appointed by Gov. John Baldacci as CEO for the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) earlier this year. He was most recently president and CEO of UnitedKingfield Bank (a subsidiary of Camden National Corp.), which has its roots with the Kingfield Savings Bank, where he began his banking career in January 1979. He is a graduate of the University of Maine at Orono, and the National School of Finance and Management. He recently spoke at the MACB CEO quarterly meeting. Here is a recap of his comments on various topics:

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Banks Working With Communities
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1564 reads)

Kennebec Savings Bank recently announced the creation of a revolving loan fund program, in partnership with Bread of Life Ministries, to get homeless shelter residents out of the shelter and into their own homes. 

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Ensuring Board Chemistry and Skills
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1065 reads)

With the onslaught of new regulations and the abundance of corporate misconduct sprinkling the news these past couple of years, even the most experienced and comfortable directors are questioning whether their boards are adequately equipped and accurately designed for success. For bank directors, this situation is often exaggerated since their companies – and their boards – have grown by acquisition over the years and thus the structuring of the board has not always been deliberate or strategic. Although in most of these situations there is no quick fix, I’d like to give you some ideas as to how to begin strategically assessing your board’s composition and dynamics.

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MACB Committee Leaders Meet
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1250 reads)

The Maine Association of Community Banks held its annual gathering of committee chairs Aug. 26 at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport. On the agenda were a discussion of industry trends and issues and plans for association projects for the coming year. MACB Chairman Sherwood Moody of Mechanics Savings Bank was also present, along with MACB staffers Chris Pinkham, Kathy Meehan, Kathy Keneborus and Pam Green.

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Project Management Reduces Risk
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1299 reads)

In April 2004, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) published the latest Development and Acquisition Information Technology Examination Handbook. It provides guidance for examiners and financial institutions for controlling an organization’s ability to identify, acquire, install and maintain appropriate information technology systems. It notes that the process of acquiring IT systems includes numerous risks. The handbook describes common project management activities and emphasizes the benefits of using well-structured project management techniques. It states that financial institutions “should employ project management standards, procedures and controls commensurate with the characteristics and risks of their development, acquisition and maintenance projects.”

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Voting for Maine’s Future
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1415 reads)

Americans give lots of reasons for not voting: lack of awareness, apathy, confusion or the belief that their vote does not make a difference. The fact is, every vote does count. In the last election cycle, 25 seats in the Maine House of Representatives were decided by less than 200 votes. Five Maine Senate contests were decided by less than 500 votes. Voter turnout in Maine is actually higher than the national average. In the November 2002 election, 52 percent of registered Mainers voted, and in the presidential election of 2000, Maine was second in the nation after Minnesota with a 67 percent voter turnout. While this is a good start, there is still work to be done.

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A Guide to Maine’s Economic Issues
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1430 reads)

Tax Burden

Maine is ranked 49th in the nation for tax burden.

Although Maine recently moved from last in the nation to second-to-last in tax burden, our state’s move on the list is not due to our Legislature actively lowering taxes, but another state increasing theirs. Not only has Maine been a leader in the nation for tax burden for a decade, but Maine is also ranked 43rd in business tax climate, and the tax burden on Maine businesses is 3.7 percent higher than the national average. In the last two years the Legislature has increased revenues by $400 million – that’s $400 million taken from the Maine economy. This statistic will only get worse for the next Legislature, which is facing a $1 billion deficit.

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Direction of The Maine Economy
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1386 reads)

According to the June 2004 quarterly Omnibus Poll of 400 individuals by Strategic Marketing Services, less than one-third (31.5 percent) feel that the Maine economy is generally headed in the right direction. Fifty-two percent feel that Maine’s economy is generally headed in the wrong direction and 16.5 percent are unsure.

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Executive Sessions: A Best Practice
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (2992 reads)

One of the requirements for public corporations espoused by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) is that corporate boards of directors, including publicly traded financial institutions, must hold regular executive sessions of the board. These sessions must be held minus the chief executive officer, who is the chief administrative officer of the bank, even though he or she may be a director of the institution.
Most CEOs get nervous when the outside board of directors decides to talk about any subject without the president/CEO in attendance. Regardless of the circumstances, the CEO is certain that the reason for the meeting is to fire his or her fanny!

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Maine Home Sales Up 9.3 Percent
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1003 reads)

Home sales in Maine made a steady climb during the month of July 2004. The Maine Real Estate Information System reported a 9.3 percent increase in real estate sales this July when compared with the July 2003 statistical data. Realtors within Maine’s 16 counties sold a total of 1,422 homes last month.

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Under Penalty of Law
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1610 reads)

I’ve always believed that everyone understood that the warning tag attached to your pillow was an idle threat, or at least not something to be concerned about. But we all know it’s always a point of at least a chuckle when someone snips it off and violates “Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law.” But the idea of “penalty of law” as a threat makes me think of an alternative message to stem voter apathy.

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Reaching New Heights by Stewardship
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1305 reads)

The association continues to reach new heights as it serves the banking community. This comes as no accident as the board of trustees, many bank volunteers and the staff are working diligently to make a difference.

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DOL Issues New Overtime Regulations
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1663 reads)

After more than a year of commentary, revision and political squabbling, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized and issued significant revisions to the 50-year-old regulations defining overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These final revisions went into effect Aug. 23.

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Gov. James McGreevey Resigns From Post
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1371 reads)

As you know, Gov. James E. McGreevey resigned from office effective Nov. 15 due to personal reasons he termed could prevent him from carrying out his duties as governor of New Jersey.

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NJBankers Goes to Washington
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1036 reads)

NJBankers returned to Washington, D.C., for the first time in 11 years for what proved to be a very meaningful visit. For two days a New Jersey delegation of bank presidents were briefed by elected officials, regulators and the leadership of the American Bankers Association regarding developments on “the Hill” affecting banks. The delegation also reflected a number of industry concerns from “back home.”

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Real-Time Enterprise for the Real World
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1124 reads)

For bankers, making appropriate information technology choices is like trying to hit a moving target – you need to aim where you think the target is going to be in three to five years. 

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Vendor Contracts Grow More Complex
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1289 reads)

Each year vendor contracts become ever more the minefield. New regulations can be attributed to this as they place deeper responsibilities on financial institutions to protect the information of their customers while continually validating their accuracy. Contracts must therefore become more detailed to reflect compliance obligations.

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Security Restricting Bank ATM Options
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1134 reads)

The right of financial institutions to choose their own ATM service providers is now seriously under threat. Leading ATM manufacturers are taking advantage of Triple DES upgrade requirements to restrict access by other service companies.

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Fed Helping Banks Embrace Check 21
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1315 reads)

Evolving technologies and customer preferences have made quite an impact on the payments system. The Federal Reserve vigorously supports this evolution through our advocacy of a legal and regulatory framework enabling greater innovation in the marketplace and greater efficiency and reliability in payments. Check 21 is an example of such legislation. 

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Back of the Envelope Banking - DuPont Formula Paints Clear Profit Picture
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (3794 reads)

5Formula Factors
1. Net Interest Income
2. Non-interest Income
3. Net Income
4. Average Assets
5. Average Equity

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New Call Reporting Becomes Clearer
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1335 reads)

Coming this fall: a new, more efficient Internet-based system for submitting and processing quarterly bank Call Report data.

The Sept. 30 launch of the Central Data Repository will mark a revolution in the way that Call Report data is collected, validated, managed and distributed. Through the use of new open data exchange standards (known as Extensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL), this new innovative system will facilitate faster delivery of accurate Call Report data. All users of the data – financial institutions, the public and banking regulators – will benefit from this improved, timelier flow of financial institution information.

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E-Learning Courses Expand
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1192 reads)

The Massachusetts Bankers Association is now offering online and interactive Web-based education seminars through agreements with several new providers including: Sage Online Learning, Acadient, Independent Community Bankers of America, Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Boston Learning.The new training courses, coupled with the MBA’s traditional live programs and popular telephone seminars, provide member banks with a broad range of topics, content, levels and delivery, guaranteeing total staff training in a convenient, cost-effective and timely manner.

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Strata Bank Hits Its Stride
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1522 reads)

In 1999, after 128 years as Medway Savings Bank, bank management decided that expansion goals would best be served if the venerable institution adopted a name change. So what etymological pathways led to the name Strata? What symbolism and linguistic roots were tapped? Strategy? Stratosphere? Stradivarius?

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The CEO and the MONK: One Company’s Journey to Profit and Purpose
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1993 reads)

The CEO and the MONK
One Company’s Journey to Profit and Purpose
By Robert B. Catell and Kenny Moore with Glenn Rifkin
In these days of corporate greed, unethical, if not dishonest behavior, and a seemingly blatant disregard for the well-being of most corporate constituents other than shareholders and senior management, this book refreshingly reminds us that you can do well by doing well. This is not a how-to book in the sense of there being some magic number of steps, which if followed will guarantee some particular result. Catell, the CEO, and Moore, the monk, with the help of professional journalist Rifkin, thoughtfully and patiently recreate the evolution of Brooklyn Union Gas Co. from a relatively small, local utility into what is today KeySpan Energy, the fifth largest energy provider in the United States.

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New Jersey Bankers Are Ready for Check 21
Thursday, September 30, 2004 (1336 reads)

It is fast approaching – the time when Check 21 will be a reality – but despite all the discussion surrounding the check-clearing legislation, most New Jersey bankers say the new law will not impact them much and call it the next logical progression in the banking industry.

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