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A Conversation With Richard E. Taber
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1255 reads)

Richard E. Taber is chairman and chief executive officer of First County Bank, based in Stamford. With assets of nearly $1 billion, First County Bank operates 12 branches in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk and Westport.

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Managing With Rising Rates
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1758 reads)

Asset/liability management is the art of structuring a bank’s balance sheet to take advantage of the current environment, and anticipated changes in the future environment.

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The Imminent Demise of the Great American Housing Boom
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1148 reads)

Is Your Community Bank Ready for It?
An Interview With Dr. Edmond Seifried, Chief Economist, BNK Advisory Group
BNK Chairman Jay Brew and Chief Economist Edmond J. Seifried are convinced that the housing bubble is on the verge of bursting. Seifried has prepared an article in Q&A form that examines the problem and the fallout from the demise of the great American housing boom.

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Customer Loyalty: The Service Factor
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1208 reads)

Most of us have been on the receiving end of poor customer service many times. How often have you found yourself seething because of a long wait at your doctor’s office, a grocery store cashier carrying on a personal conversation while you stand in line, or being left on hold while on a “help line”? Chances are you can rattle off several instances of poor service you’ve received – this week. On the other hand, great service feels like a gift. A smiling, caring employee makes us want to continue to do business with an organization. That is the secret of success.

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Rate Your Bank’s Customer Service
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1717 reads)

Thousands of community banks across the country tout their great customer service; they believe they’re prospering because they offer the best customer service in town. But how well does your bank do at providing outstanding customer service that will keep your regulars loyal – possibly helping bring in new clientele? To figure out where you might stand, ask yourself the following checklist of questions to help evaluate your bank.

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Economic Outlook: Growth Is Continuing
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1087 reads)

The advance report estimate of third-quarter real gross domestic product growth came in above market expectations at 3.8 percent, annualized. The U.S. economy appears to be fundamentally strong despite the substantial damage wrought by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Of course, then Wilma came along on Oct. 24 and gave South Florida a piece of her mind, and more than 300,000 customers of Florida Power and Lighting were still without power about two weeks after the storm.

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Interest in Online Banking Is Flattening
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1512 reads)

After years of dramatic growth in online banking penetration, the percentage of Americans who conduct personal banking activities online remained unchanged during the 12-month period ending August 2005. According to results from a new survey of 1,000 American adults conducted by Ipsos Insight, the global market research firm and member of the Ipsos Group, the reasons behind the stall are concerns about hackers stealing and using personal information and fears that some companies may be selling client records to third parties. Thirty-nine percent of Americans conduct banking online. The results mark the third year of Ipsos Insight’s study of online banking behaviors.

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Outlook for the Legislative Session
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1594 reads)

The second regular session of the 122nd Maine Legislature will convene on Jan. 4, 2006, at 10:00 a.m. Here is a sneak preview of some legislation expected at this second, shorter session.

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Home Sales Dip Slightly in October
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1435 reads)

Maine’s quality of life and affordable interest rates continued to draw buyers of real estate in October, despite a small dip in sales. According to the Maine Real Estate Information System (MREIS), single-family existing home sales prices were up 8.39 percent in October when compared to the same month one year ago. 

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Outlook 2006
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1306 reads)

Prior to the “Season of New Year’s Resolutions,” we have the “Planning (and Budgeting) Season.” Bankers everywhere have been trying to prepare their budgets for whatever the economy has planned for the next 12 months. What are some of those issues on the minds of bankers as we approach 2006?
First, we have the national economy. Interest rates are creeping north, and at the same time the refinancing boom has cooled (as everyone on the planet has refinanced at least twice)! Tax policy issues are debated at both the state and federal level while at the same time predictions are compounded by changing revenue and expense forecasts. In addition, the difference between a bank’s income and expense is narrowing and, at some institutions, leading to lower earnings. Clearly, for most, unpredictability is the forecast for 2006.

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The Imminent Demise of the Great American Housing Boom
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1222 reads)

Is Your Community Bank Ready for It?
An Interview With Dr. Edmond J. Seifried, Chief Economist, BNK Advisory Group
BNK Chairman Jay Brew and Chief Economist Edmond J. Seifried are convinced that the housing bubble is on the verge of bursting. Seifried has prepared an article in Q&A form that examines the problem and the fallout from the demise of the great American housing boom.

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Court Spares Mortgagee Foreclosure Costs
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (4198 reads)

The old adage, “time is money,” is as true in a foreclosure proceeding as anywhere. The New Jersey foreclosure process often requires adherence to hypertechnical rules and tolerance for delays caused by obstructing mortgagors. During a foreclosure action, an astute defendant/mortgagor can throw up many roadblocks to impede the progress of the action.

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Jon Corzine Is Our Next Governor
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1567 reads)

Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine defeated Doug Forrester in the gubernatorial election on Nov. 8, 2005. Corzine had 54 percent of the vote while Forrester pulled 43 percent of the vote in what was considered one of the more bitter races in recent history. 

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Norman E. Beatty Named Treasurer of NJBankers
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1693 reads)

Norman E. Beatty, chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president of First Hope Bank, has been named treasurer of NJBankers.

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On the Road to Recovery: The New Jersey Banking Industry Responds to Katrina
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1372 reads)

As the devastation wrought by hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma in the Southeast played out before our eyes on national television in recent months, the banks, companies, employees and customers of the New Jersey banking industry have reacted swiftly and generously.

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FFIEC Guidelines: Choices and Costs
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1891 reads)

The exponential growth of online banking has introduced a tremendous challenge: how to reliably and efficiently identify customers online. Today’s most common method is the standard username and password or personal identification number (PIN), issued to any customer who registers. 

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New Rules on Executive Compensation
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1524 reads)

Financial institutions in New Jersey and across the country need to pay careful attention to new rules and regulations on executive compensation programs. There is, to be sure, still great opportunity to use deferred compensation and other nonqualified retirement plans to help retain and attract quality executives. 

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Obtaining Immediate Judicial Intervention Upon Discovery of a Check Kite Situation
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1170 reads)

Many banks are faced, at one time or another, with overdrafts caused by a check kite. Fortunately, in New Jersey, powerful steps can be taken to obtain swift judicial intervention, including an immediate injunction freezing funds associated with the kite and other assets of the kiters.

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Still Moving Forward
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1320 reads)

In the fall issue of New Jersey Banker, I provided an overview of several initiatives underway in the association. I am pleased to report that they are still moving forward, and in some cases, our objectives have been met.

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A Whitman Sampler: Mutual Federal Is a Sweet Success
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1778 reads)

First things first: you know those chocolate chip cookies you like so much with a cold glass of milk? Well, they first saw the light of day at the Toll House Restaurant which operated in Whitman for many years. The story goes that the restaurant proprietors were cooking up a batch of regular cookies when they mistakenly spilled some chocolate chips into the batter, a culinary goof that gave birth to the Toll House cookie.

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Check 21: One Year Later – A Case Study
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1337 reads)

Check 21 was going to change the world as we bankers know it. That may still be the case but, as so often happens, change happens slowly. According to the Fed, fewer than 150 financial institutions nationwide have signed up with the Federal Reserve to exchange images, and that’s on the transit side of the business. Far fewer are yet accepting check images as their inclearing work.

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Serious Business
Saturday, December 31, 2005 (1099 reads)

In many ways, fall is the real start of the new year. Summer vacations are over, schools are back, businesses are focusing on service, sales and next year’s budgets, and legislative bodies resume deliberations on public policies. While both the Massachusetts Legislature and Congress recessed formal sessions during August, their staffs and committees have been busy working on a number of major issues. And of course, two hurricanes and one remaining vacancy in the U.S. Supreme Court have forced some adjustments in the national agenda.

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