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Community, Regional Banks Look to Sale-Leaseback
Friday, October 03, 2008 (1301 reads)


With current economic conditions presenting unique challenges, community and regional banks are turning to sale-leaseback transactions to monetize real estate assets and drive incremental earnings.
The fact that real estate ownership (as opposed to control) is not strategically important to financial institutions makes the concept of eliminating these non-earning assets still more appealing.
The subprime mortgage crisis, stock price declines, a restricted consumer loan market, and tighter funding sources are all causing banks to rethink their approaches to balance sheet management. Sale-leaseback transactions provide a route to diversification of funding sources and potentially increased shareholder value.



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It’s a Timing Thing … Analyzing Credit Data
Friday, October 03, 2008 (1710 reads)


A friend once defined proactive as “being reactive sooner rather than later.” In truth, action always comes down to a matter of timing.
Looking for answers in a bank’s vast data repositories follows the same theory. Today most credit risk personnel go after data to find answers either in a proactive manner or a reactive manner. What drives your approach is the timing. 
In other words, do you need an immediate answer such as in a crisis situation?  (the bottom has dropped out and I need to know my concentration now!)    
Or is it in anticipation of things to come? (what happens if the bottom drops out?) As you pull together the necessary data to create reports to fulfill a particular request for information, knowing what is driving the request will help you identify the right data for the right situation. In turn, this will ultimately deliver stronger, more accurate results with which to effectively manage risk.



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Get the Best Protection for Your Insurance Dollar
Friday, October 03, 2008 (1122 reads)


Risk management isn’t just for big banks. Small and medium-sized banks  should also apply risk management principles.
There are three methods of risk management:
Avoidance of risk
Assumption of risk (either knowingly or unknowingly)
Allocation or transfer of risk           
Risk avoidance limits growth potential. This article will discuss the last two options.
Assuming risk should be done knowingly. When a company grows, it assumes risk, but it should do so prudently by comparing its exposure to loss to its potential gain.
Allocation or transfer of risk lets a bank assume more risk without entirely bearing the exposure to loss. The bank transfer can transfer most of the risk to an insurance company while retaining part of the risk through the use of deductibles, coinsurance and limitations.



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Walden Federal: Continued Growth in Troubled Times
Friday, October 03, 2008 (1630 reads)


Can a bank produce stable growth in today’s choppy lending environment? Walden Federal Savings & Loan Association of Walden, NY proves there is room for growth through an innovative mix of hometown charm and high tech alliances. After growing by 161 percent in the past 10 years and earning a five star rating from Bauer Financial, the bank is poised for further growth.
“We are investing in products and branch locations to serve our customers,” said Thomas F. Gibney, president and CEO, Walden Federal Savings & Loan Association. “We have doubled our branch network, and are now expanding the bank’s business product line. We are capitalizing on our technology partners to deliver the features that our business customers need and the automation to keep us efficient and profitable as we continue to grow.”



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The Housing Rescue Law: Boon to Borrowers, But Bane to Taxpayers?
Friday, October 03, 2008 (1602 reads)


On Wednesday, July 30th, President George Bush signed into law sweeping housing relief legislation that, at 694 pages, many industry participants call the most significant housing reform in decades. By doing so, he enacted a massive series of actions intended to benefit many economic constituencies who have been negatively impacted by the current credit crisis, including current homeowners, first-time home buyers, mortgage lenders, local communities, federal agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and even tangentially-related sectors like the construction and appraisal industries.



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What Banks Must Do To Stem Criminals Hacking Sites
Friday, October 03, 2008 (1086 reads)


Is the Internet safe? Bankers have had reasons a-plenty to ask that question over the years. Phishing, hijacking, and botnet armies have undermined the perceived security of this growing business channel.
No doubt, bankers were asking the question yet again when they read the July 9 headline “Critical flaw rocks the Internet.” The article revealed that major hardware and software developers had been secretly working for months to fix a fundamental Internet error that would have turned control of Web traffic over to the hackers.



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Financial Institutions Keep Pace with A Walk-in Payment Solution
Friday, October 03, 2008 (1125 reads)


Whether it is the current state of the economy forcing consumers to live paycheck to paycheck or the growing number of consumers who simply prefer to pay in cash, it is clear that walk-in payments are becoming more prevalent. Financial institutions, big or small, need not be left out of the opportunity to provide consumers with this flexible, convenient payment option and should consider a walk-in solution to keep pace with consumer demand and remain competitive.
As an alternative payment solution, walk-in payment services enable financial institutions to offer a valuable service for their own customers and also serve the growing unbanked and underbanked community. Walk-in payments also aid financial institutions in the collections arena, providing another convenient option to collect and, thus, generate ever important fee-based revenue.



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Tellers Can be a Powerful Tool to Fight Fraud
Friday, October 03, 2008 (1303 reads)



Several weeks ago, in a stunning announcement, the Department of Justice uncovered the largest identity theft case in U.S. history.  According to the initial report, 11 people were arrested,  accused of stealing 41 million credit card numbers by hacking into nine major US corporations’ wireless networks. 
Along with credit card numbers, prosecutors claim the fraudsters took passwords and personal account details and then sold it all online. It’s apparent America’s biggest retail corporations have not implemented adequate information technology security measures to protect consumers from identity theft. More appalling is the fact that, according to a June InformationWeek study, 21 percent of U.S. companies have never even conducted an initial risk assessment to prevent situations like this from occurring.
As consumers are scrambling to find an identity theft solution, financial institutions are faced with a unique situation; now is the perfect opportunity to supplement service offerings with identity theft protection packages. The financial community can literally save the day by implementing policies and procedures that make safeguarding a customer’s identity a top priority.



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New York Delivered the Mortgage Reforms We Need
Friday, October 03, 2008 (1079 reads)


Over the past 18 months, I have been supporting a number of proposed mortgage reforms at the state and national levels that I believe are critical to protect consumers, strengthen the industry and aid in market recovery. On August 5th, New York took broad and decisive action on many of these reforms when Governor Paterson signed the subprime mortgage reform legislation. The federal Housing and Economic Recovery Act and revisions to Reg. Z complement the new state law, and I am encouraged that so many of these changes have become a reality.



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