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Don’t Blame Us!
Thursday, November 01, 2007 (1320 reads)


"Don’t blame us” has been the response of community banks, large and small, when lumped into the credit crunch/subprime lending morass. Yes, banks make subprime loans, but this time the majority of the problems lie with the non-bank mortgage brokers and the investment bankers on Wall Street, anxious to securitize and sell product to any and all comers.
Community bankers know they aren’t to blame, but are frustrated because of the media hype over this past summer’s credit crisis and the unexplained differences between competitors in the financial services arena.



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The Current Crisis in Subprime Lending
Thursday, November 01, 2007 (1192 reads)


There has been much discussion on what could have been done or whether additional regulation of banks could have prevented the current subprime lending meltdown. There are suggestions that the federal banking regulators could have taken actions that would have mitigated, if not prevented, the problems. Some members of Congress and community groups believe that if the federal banking regulators had a regulation prohibiting unfair and deceptive acts or practices, that many adjustable-rate mortgage borrowers would not be facing interest rate resets they cannot afford and possible foreclosure.
Would such a regulation have addressed the cause of what has emerged as a significant problem in the mortgage market today? Such a regulation would have had some effect; however, it could not have prevented all of the problems. Many of the loans now facing foreclosure were made to consumers who might have benefited from additional, different disclosures. It is unclear whether the terms of the loans were accurately explained. This is because many of the loans were made by third-party brokers, not by community banks that take the time to work with customers.



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Good Ideas, Unintended Results
Thursday, November 01, 2007 (1180 reads)


An exercise at a recent seminar on strengthening sales cultures generated a fascinating conversation about a sales initiative and its failed execution. The disconnect impacted most of the bankers in the group. The exercise required the class to evaluate approaches for handling telephone requests for CD rate information. The bankers detailed the approach they expected their staffs to follow. Everyone designed an approach that supported the initiative to offer a higher CD rate, coupled with the primary checking account. Their approach included the sale of associated services that would generate fee income and strengthen the relationship, including direct deposit, overdraft protection, automatic payments, and transfers and online banking.



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New FDIC Ombudsman for New York Region
Thursday, November 01, 2007 (2246 reads)


The New York region of the FDIC, which includes Connecticut and surrounding states, has a new regional ombudsman, Linda F. Beavers. Her background makes her well-suited to address the variety of concerns brought to the ombudsman role.



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Customers Want Better Education
Thursday, November 01, 2007 (1652 reads)


The impact that fraud and identity theft have had on customers is more profound than originally believed and has caught many bank executives by surprise. Banks need to ramp up customer education offerings to address concerns, provide accurate information and reduce defections to non-bank competitors.
In a survey released in July 2007 by the Opinion Research Corp., customers were asked to identify their No. 1 concern. The results were as follows:
Fraud or identity theft: 54 percent
Over-the-limit bank charges: 12 percent
Unhelpful service centers: 10 percent
Unhelpful or rude tellers: 9 percent
Bureaucracy: 8 percent
Expensive ATM charges: 6 percent



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Convergence, Payments & Security: Bank Technology Trends
Thursday, November 01, 2007 (9116 reads)


Want to understand the biggest trend in technology today? Look no further than your cell phone. It’s that single, ultra-portable device that has converged in a mind-bending multitude of features and functions – digital photography, video capture, Internet access, e-mail, television, movies, music, shopping and GPS navigation … to name just a few.
Not so long ago, watching television required a TV, receiving e-mail a PC and listening to music a CD player. Now, of course, you need only a cell phone (“smart phone,” if you’re hip) thanks to technology and the convergence of everything.



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