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Advocacy: It’s Important
Friday, September 30, 2005 (9898 reads)


While not as time-consuming as waiting for the budget to be voted on in Hartford in the waning hours of the 2005 session of the Connecticut General Assembly, the CBA’s annual two-day Washington visit is of equal importance. Visiting with legislators and their staff, the leadership of the regulatory agencies and representatives of the three national banking trade associations proved to be worthwhile again in 2005.



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Educate or Eliminate
Friday, September 30, 2005 (998 reads)


In previous commentaries, I have championed specialized education and training for bank directors who participate in selected committees of the board. I have also recommended that directors be placed on a committee (or two) and stay on that committee until they leave the board. I do not favor rotation, since the generalist of 30 years ago is no longer relevant as a competent board member. Today, specialization is required in order to meet the challenges of the industry.



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A Better World and a Better Workplace
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1513 reads)


Last month, the Society for Human Resource Management and The Great Place to Work Institute published their list of the 50 Best Small and Medium Companies to Work for in America, 25 of them with between 50 and 250 employees, and 25 with between 251 and 999 employees.



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Corporate Governance
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1402 reads)


Since the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) on July 30, 2002, which applies to publicly held companies, there has been steady discussion on the applicability of selected provisions of the law to all insured depository institutions. Many of the SOX provisions mirror the annual audit and reporting requirements of Section 36 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act that is applicable to insured institutions with $500 million or more in assets.



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Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan Speaks
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1625 reads)


Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan trudged up to Capitol Hill for his last semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress. And he was his usual brilliant self. Indeed, his report is basic reading for anyone who wants to understand (if I can use that word given his prose) the making of monetary policy and how to understand economic factors. 



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Maine Home Prices Up 11.5% in July
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1045 reads)


Maine’s abundant opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation, combined with marketable interest rates, pumped up Maine’s median home prices in July. Fifteen of Maine’s 16 counties reported positive increases in sales prices in the rolling three months of May-July.



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BoSox, September and Faith
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1048 reads)


Wait until September! Pitching, pitching, pitching – where is the pitching! Predictable! Why does this scenario seem to arrive annually without any regard to what year (or decade) this is? Anyone growing up New England faces the same treacherous Days of September – no, not the dog days of August or those lazy, hazy days of July – we are into September and Red Sox countdown. 



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Economic and Internet Banking Trends
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1431 reads)


 A randomly selected, computer-generated, stratified statewide sample of 400 Maine adults was interviewed. SMS (formerly a division of Guy Gannett Publishing) is the quantitative and qualitative marketing research division of Pan Atlantic Consultants, Maine’s largest independent marketing research and business consulting firm. 



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Identity Theft: Your Good Name Gone Bad
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1086 reads)


Identity theft is when someone illegally obtains a person’s identifying information, such as name, address, date of birth, social security number or mother’s maiden name. Armed with this information, an impostor can open new credit card accounts, drain your bank accounts, purchase automobiles, apply for loans, open utility services and on and on.



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Q & A With Mark Mickeriz
Friday, September 30, 2005 (2809 reads)


Mark Mickeriz was named president and CEO of Sanford Institution for Savings in June of this year, upon the retirement of Rodney Normand. Mickeriz was most recently vice president, commercial loans/business development at Camden National Bank’s Kennebunk office. He is former executive vice president/administration of The Ocean National Bank in Kennebunk. Mickeriz is a graduate of the University of Maine at Orono and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking. He is active in Rotary and serves as treasurer and endowment chair for the Senior Center at Lower Village.



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Forming a Strategic Alliance With the HLB Letter of Credit
Friday, September 30, 2005 (9273 reads)


Liquidity is a key strategic issue for financial institutions. Having available collateral is a crucial element for tapping potential liquidity. Often, securities in your investment portfolio are used to collateralize state and municipal deposits. While this may be a valid method of managing your balance sheet, it has a downside – it may curtail your liquidity position and create operational headaches. There is an alternative solution: the Letter of Credit program from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (HLB).



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Moving Our Exploration Forward
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1268 reads)


Along with my fellow board members, I was saddened by the August retirement of one of the industry’s leaders in New Jersey, NJBankers Second Vice Chairman Tom Gregor, PNC regional president. Tom also served on several NJBankers committees. We wish Tom and his family only the best and will miss his many contributions to our industry. Replacing Tom will be no simple task, but we will act in accordance with the association’s bylaws.



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NJBankers, IOLTA and the Supreme Court
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1335 reads)


NJBankers has successfully brought the issue of the mandated interest rate on New Jersey banks back to the table for discussion. As you may remember in my last article, NJBankers had sought a meeting with the Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) board to discuss letters that were sent threatening deauthorization to banks not in compliance with a mandated rate set by the board.



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A Conversation With Richard Barry
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1336 reads)


Richard Barry is president and CEO of Citizens Bank of Connecticut. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Connecticut’s retail and commercial business for Citizens. Previously he was executive vice president in charge of special assets. He joined the company in 1995 as a senior vice president and was promoted in November 2004 to executive vice president.



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CFT Courses Receive Seal of Approval
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1230 reads)


The Center for Financial Training Atlantic States (CFTAS) is among a select group of organizations that have added value to their continuing education courses through college credit recommendations. A review conducted on Dec. 9 and 10, 2004, by the American Council on Education’s (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service equated the CFTAS banking curriculum to college courses.



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Life Insurance: Operate on All Cylinders
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1313 reads)


Effective bank life insurance programs can be accurately compared to an efficient eight-cylinder engine. When all cylinders are clicking, the car moves with purpose, a coordinated series of mechanical events that smoothly propel the car forward. Conversely, if you pull spark plugs from some of these cylinders, the car labors to move ahead, losing power and never gaining enough momentum to keep up with the traffic.



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A Look Ahead
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1254 reads)


As I begin my tenure as your new chairman, I can’t help but remember my first experience with a state banking association in the summer of 1971. It was a one-day conference sponsored by the Vermont Bankers Association at the Killington Ski Resort, which was much smaller than it is today. Little did I know that some 34 years later I would be in this position.



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Bank Branch Design and Build
Friday, September 30, 2005 (3862 reads)


The MBA recently surveyed its associate members in the bank branch design and build business and asked the following question:
 
What are the major trends and recent innovations in bank branch design and building, and what can we expect in the future?


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The Heat Is On
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1053 reads)


It’s summertime, and the living is easy, or so goes the old song. It may be summer, but from a legislative standpoint the living is not so easy. Since our last overview in mid-spring, the Massachusetts Legislature has been very busy and Congress has been very active working on a number of key concerns to the banking community.



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A Singular Success
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1250 reads)


Everett Co-operative Bank is an institution that can indisputably lay claim to the moniker “Community Bank.” What else are you going to label a bank that since the late 19th Century has done business from one location, spurning not only branch offices but ATM networks as well. One office at 419 Broadway, one ATM at the Broadway office, and that’s it. 



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Banking on Travel
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1711 reads)


Since 1991, Mary and Joseph Shay of Hudson have traveled to the Canadian Rockies, the Grand Canyon, Alaska and Hawaii, among other scenic destinations, and they recently got back from California where they took in San Francisco, the Napa Valley and Lake Tahoe. And just about every month they’ll take a day trip into Boston for a play or a museum visit, a ball game or some other event, with a nice lunch and the company of 40 or 50 friends.



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Business Continuity Planning Essentials
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1656 reads)


Business Impact Analysis (BIA) is an important first step in developing an effective business continuity plan. The March 2003 Business Continuity Planning Guidelines published by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) defines BIA as follows...



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Former NJBankers Chairman Bracken Elected State Chamber Chairman
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1024 reads)


Sun National Bank President and CEO Thomas A. Bracken, chairman of NJBankers from 1999 to 2000, has just taken on a new role. Bracken was elected June 23 to a two-year term as chairman of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.



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Inside a Landmark IPO: The Hudson City Bancorp Conversion
Friday, September 30, 2005 (3733 reads)


Six years ago, based solely on its institutional longevity, most industry observers viewed Paramus-based Hudson City Bancorp – with a savings bank charter dating back to the Civil War era – as an unlikely candidate to pioneer one of the most significant financing strategies in the history of U.S. banking.



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New Jersey Banks Find Community Development Is ‘Good Business’
Friday, September 30, 2005 (1609 reads)


 Second of two parts

Banks frequently work on community development projects in partnership with a variety of organizations and agencies around the state.



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Charge It!: An Insider’s History of the Bank Credit Card
Friday, September 30, 2005 (3408 reads)


Third of three parts.

For many banks, losses continued to mount as more and more banks continued to offer charge card services to their customers. Each bank had fully-staffed charge card departments and had installed special computers, bookkeeping machines, imprinters, telephone authorization lines – all geared up to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, holidays included. 



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