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LIBOR Crosses The Pond
Thursday, September 20, 2012 (11320 reads)


Attorneys general in at least five states are conducting investigations tied to alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR), adding to probes by U.S. and U.K. authorities.
The probes by New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida and Maryland are in different stages, according to the states. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and George Jepsen in Connecticut are working together, and Massachusetts is talking with other states about possible coordination.



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First National Growing Steadily – But Not Foolishly – Under CEO Vittorio
Thursday, September 20, 2012 (4990 reads)


When Michael N. Vittorio took over the helm of the First National Bank of Long Island 10 years ago, the bank looked more like a securities house than a bank.
“We were over-capitalized,” said Vittorio, president and CEO. “We had a very low loan-to-deposit ratio, only 35 percent. Most banks have an 85 percent ratio. With the yield curve flattening, we had to make some strategic changes.”



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Plunging into Social Media? Not Abstinence – Caution
Thursday, September 20, 2012 (5225 reads)


The social media drums are pounding, while voices of caution are being pushed aside – not a great formula for social media’s long-term success in financial institutions.
Just for the record, social media isn’t the first “cool“ technology to appear on the banking scene. Email, Internet websites, even Microsoft Windows were cool in their day. In each case, we realized the security risks after the horse left the barn. Remember the TJX data breach? How many debit cards did your institution reissue at an average cost of $4 per card? How much fraud did you have to cover?
If your institution is contemplating a social media presence, consider the risks that accompany its potential rewards. That way, bankers can participate in the conversation without having to plug the security holes later.



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Technology Spurred by Turmoil, but Driven by Business Needs
Thursday, September 20, 2012 (860 reads)


The financial industry has been mired in turmoil since the start of the new millennium. The September 11 attacks are considered by some to be an inciting factor in major government reforms and subsequent measures to promote economic activity. Shortly thereafter, the United States witnessed corporations like Enron commit large-scale fraud, and many others came under scrutiny and investigation. Market instability, a credit crisis and the government bailout soon followed, leading to widespread calls for change in the regulatory system.



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Dealing With Remittance Transfers and the CFPB
Thursday, September 20, 2012 (1197 reads)


We live in an increasingly connected world, whether for business or because our personal lives transcend national boundaries. Accordingly, the ability to offer international wire transfers is important to many community banks. But new changes contemplated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have many bankers concerned that this important product may become too difficult to offer.
As the leading provider of services to banks throughout the Northeast, Bankers’ Bank Northeast (BBN) has been working diligently on this issue, both with the banking community and with the CFPB. Because bankers are seeking guidance on the proposed changes to the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (Regulation E), BBN has created a brief update and summary regarding this regulation.
Although some details of the proposal may seem onerous, this rule is still somewhat in flux. It is important for banks to realize that, with patience and training they will be able to continue processing international remittances, so they can continue to retain valuable fee income and customer relationships as well as remain in compliance.



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Flood of Lawsuits Over Forced Place Insurance
Thursday, September 20, 2012 (2724 reads)


Sub-prime mortgages. Mark-to-market trading losses. Over-the-counter swaps. And now forced placed insurance joined the list of no-no’s be claimed against the financial industry.
On May 17, 2012, Nichols Kaster, PLLP, filed a class action lawsuit in the Northern District of New York on behalf of plaintiff Gordon Casey and other borrowers with mortgages serviced by Citibank or Midland Mortgage. The complaint alleges that Citibank and Midland Mortgage routinely force-place excessive amounts of flood insurance on borrowers, and improperly arrange for commissions for themselves or their affiliates on force-placed policies.



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Revisit Your Retail Sales Process – And Your Salespeople
Thursday, September 20, 2012 (1571 reads)


Most banks hire “sales training” firms, create incentive programs and set goals – only to find after two years of working hard that they’ve made virtually no progress … if any at all.

If it feels like selling, your people are doing something wrong
The new skills of selling are more about collaborating than competing. These new skills are based on the premise of caring about finding out what the customer needs to be successful and then finding ways to help them accomplish that success.



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Retention is a Two-Way Street
Thursday, September 20, 2012 (982 reads)


Most banks hire “sales training” firms, create incentive programs and set goals – only to find after two years of working hard that they’ve made virtually no progress … if any at all.
Employees are expensive. Salaries, benefits, and training and development all add up. There is a prevalent concern that if you develop your employees it will be wasted money because they will then leave for higher pay.



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Past is not Prologue for Bank Compensation Practices
Thursday, September 20, 2012 (1602 reads)


The fallout of the Great Recession requires changes in community bank compensation philosophies and plan design. Salary, incentives and benefit program features that were appropriate several years ago may now be unrealizable and at odds with current business objectives to increase profitability, become more efficient and better manage risk.



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Sterling National Bank’s Latest Acquisition Is Just Good Business
Thursday, September 20, 2012 (4742 reads)


Sterling National Bank’s acquisition of Universal Mortgage Inc. is more than just a grab for territory, the bank says. It is an opportunity to do long-term business in two of the most attractive neighborhoods of one of the city’s most desirable and dynamic boroughs.



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