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Banks Should Strive to Be a ‘Best Company’
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (851 reads)


In nearly every survey we’ve seen where corporate leaders are asked to name the No. 1 issue facing their organizations, the nearly unanimous reply is “attracting and retaining good people.”



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Lessons From the Marketing Wars
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1301 reads)


Over the past decade, new product launch success rates have been abysmal. Product failure rates have ranged between 70 percent and 90 percent. For banks and other financial service companies, this carries an even heavier weight, since confidence in an institution and trust in its products is the cornerstone of the customer relationship. However, with careful planning and a clear understanding of the marketplace and opportunity, success can certainly be achieved. We can learn a number of things from product introductions and re-launches that have gone badly over the past 35 years.



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Permanent Estate Tax Relief Act of 2006
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1058 reads)


In yet another development in the ever-changing estate tax saga, on June 19, Congressman William M. Thomas, R-Calif., chairman of the House Ways and Mean Committee, introduced H.R. 5638 – the Permanent Estate Tax Relief Act of 2006 (PETRA). Although PETRA’s fate is uncertain, Chairman Thomas’ action is significant because, until now, the Republican House leadership has refused to consider anything except total repeal of the death tax.



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They Didn’t Start out as Bankers
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (6879 reads)


It might seem unlikely that a state trooper or military aviator would have any interest in working in the banking industry, but several New Jersey bankers have left former careers that had little to do with the banking and lending world and now immerse themselves in it every day. Meanwhile, there are others who have left their jobs as bankers but found alternative ways to stay in touch with the industry that launched their careers.



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Legislature Unveils Property Tax Reform
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1136 reads)


Gov. Corzine Encouraged, but Seeks Bolder Reforms



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NJBankers 180 Days After the Convention
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (989 reads)


The present administration is in the home stretch of the 104th year of the existence of NJBankers. This quarter has been a challenging time for the members of the board of trustees and the officers of the association. In September, you were informed that a leadership change was taking place within the organization. Changes are never easy but are often necessary. It was apparent to the trustees and officers, after a 30-month discussion, that this decision had to be executed and that it was in the best interest of the association’s membership.



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SEC Revamps Executive Compensation Disclosure
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1268 reads)


The SEC’s longstanding goal to revamp executive compensation disclosure is now a reality. Reporting companies must comply with the new rules during their 2007 proxy season. There is now a much higher visibility and an increased focus on senior management and director compensation, benefits and costs, and validation as to what constitutes “competitive compensation” by both publicly traded, as well as non-publicly traded institutions.



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Who You Are Is Your Business
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1004 reads)


We’ve all seen those high-tech, futuristic security features, such as fingerprint, retina and voice pattern scans in movies such as the “James Bond” and “Star Trek” franchises. But they are no longer just a Hollywood movie trick.



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A Conversation With Robert V. Macklin
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1414 reads)


Robert V. Macklin is president and CEO (since 1999) of The Milford Bank. His banking career currently spans 36 years.



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Integrating Compliance and Technology
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1028 reads)


It’s Friday afternoon, ending a quiet week in the IT Department. As the executive in charge, you anticipate a short presentation to the executive committee on Monday: the usual summary of system reliability, a briefing on new installs and a short discussion on the upcoming regulatory exam.



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Pension Protection Act of 2006
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1101 reads)


On Aug. 17, President Bush signed the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA-06), a comprehensive pension reform bill that has been the subject of negotiations between the House of Representatives and the Senate since early in 2006. Certain provisions of PPA-06 take effect immediately. Other provisions will become effective in 2007 or later.



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Time to Retire Defined Benefit Plans?
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1157 reads)


Defined Benefit Pension Plans have played a very important part in the past for tens of millions of American workers’ retirement plans. The “three legged stool” of retirement has historically been Social Security, company pension plans and individual savings. However, the news is filled with companies shutting down their Defined Benefit Pension Plans because they cannot afford them and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) is in a growing deficit position of $22.8 billion as of Sept. 30, 2005 (only approximately 29,000 Defined Benefit Pension Plans remain in effect now in the United States).



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Connecticut Banker Macomber Becomes ACB’s Chairman
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (971 reads)


Mark Macomber, a leader in banking organizations in Connecticut and nationally, is the new chairman of America’s Community Bankers.



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Introducing Go Direct
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1014 reads)


Go Direct is a national campaign sponsored by the United States Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank to promote direct deposit use among people who receive Social Security and other federal benefits. It’s widely understood in the financial community that electronic payments are a safer, easier alternative to paper checks, yet growth in direct deposit enrollments has stalled in this population. Go Direct aims to reverse this trend with the help of key partners – including financial institutions.



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Proactive and Reactive People
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (2018 reads)


Some things are so crystal clear to me that I don’t have any problem saying them in bold italics: It’s a lot better to be proactive than reactive. It’s better for you, for those you care about and for the people with whom you do business.



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Banks Should Strive to Be a ‘Best Company’
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (912 reads)


In nearly every survey we’ve seen where corporate leaders are asked to name the No. 1 issue facing their organizations, the nearly unanimous reply is “attracting and retaining good people.”



Read More
Lessons From the Marketing Wars
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1137 reads)


Over the past decade, new product launch success rates have been abysmal. Product failure rates have ranged between 70 percent and 90 percent. For banks and other financial service companies, this carries an even heavier weight, since confidence in an institution and trust in its products is the cornerstone of the customer relationship. However, with careful planning and a clear understanding of the marketplace and opportunity, success can certainly be achieved. We can learn a number of things from product introductions and re-launches that have gone badly over the past 35 years.



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It Was a Very Good Year
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1135 reads)


One of Frank Sinatra’s many hit recordings, “It Was a Very Good Year,” reflects on a few times that were special. From a legislative perspective, the year 2006 was one of those years for the Massachusetts banking industry. The Association successfully steered a number of bills through the Legislature that Gov. Mitt Romney signed into law. Equally significant, no negative bills became law.



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Regulatory Compliance Consultants
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1701 reads)


Financial service institutions, increasingly burdened with state and federal regulatory requirements, often find themselves in need of outside consultants; this is happening even when both large and smaller banks are adding in-house compliance officers. We asked some compliance consultants the following two questions to get their idea of the key issues that banks are dealing with and the best way to stay on top of them – outside compliance consultant, inside compliance officer, or both?



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Infinite Infinex
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1301 reads)


Massachusetts community banks already have a third-party investment advisory vendor that the banks, as well as the Massachusetts Bankers Association, actually own and operate.



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Mt. Washington Ascending
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1190 reads)


Right off the bat, you have to wonder: How does a financial institution in South Boston come up with a moniker like Mt. Washington? 



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Wealth Management: The Burgeoning Opportunity for Community Banks
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (9989 reads)


It’s the sheer numbers that have everyone in the financial services universe buzzing.                               First, there’s the so-called Baby Boom Generation, the 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964. In coming years, these millions of men and women as they enter retirement will spawn an enormous wave of liquid assets. And these funds inevitably will search out income-producing investment vehicles touted by financial advisors of every stripe, from major institutions like Bank of America to independent financial planners with offices in suburban strip malls.



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Of Course Your Bank’s Not for Sale
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (963 reads)


Selling a bank is often the strategy-of-which-we-do-not-speak and thus difficult to keep fresh. Yet a selling strategy can keep an executive team aware of possibilities, prepared if suitors come knocking and better positioned to navigate optimally into the future.



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Safeguarding Elders From Financial Abuse
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1128 reads)


The Maine Reporting Project for Financial Institutions



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Spotlight on Maine Young Professionals
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1490 reads)


On a sunny afternoon in May 2001, I received a call from my father, a long-time Risk Management Association board member. He was calling to congratulate me on winning the RMA Maine Chapter Scholarship that year. Of course I was excited (I was getting money for school, which otherwise would have had to come out of my pocket), yet I really didn’t know much about RMA or what it stood for. I graciously accepted my award at the annual dinner at the end of May and went on with my life.



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Partnering to Protect Seniors
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (1308 reads)


The challenge began at the Maine Legislature over a year ago, when a state Senator found a number of constituents had stories of elderly relatives being victims of financial scams. His legislative proposal was a wake-up call to numerous parties (banking included) who have now banded together to help right these wrongs and protect our seniors from future losses. He identified a dormant effort from the late 1990s that needed to be resurrected, remodeled for the 21st century and then invigorated by committed professionals on the front lines in our bank branches.



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Sales Down, Median Prices Dip
Sunday, December 31, 2006 (898 reads)


The colder winter weather tends to slow the northeastern U.S. real estate sales even during the hottest market; October statistics show the winter season of 2006 is no exception. According to the Maine Real Estate Information System Inc., Realtors sold 1,186 single-family existing homes statewide during the month, down 9.88 percent from last October’s total of 1,316 sales.



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