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State Cracks Down on Loan Mod Fraud
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 (1356 reads)


A homeowner’s worst nightmare: a pattern of late or missed mortgage payments initiates a stream of calls from the lender, demanding payment. Without financial resources, the owner falls farther and farther behind, until the loan is in default and foreclosure looms.



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Will Commercial Real Estate Bring Down the Bank?
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 (1355 reads)


This is the question asked by CEOs, rating agencies, investors and politicians. Simply, there are three answers: “Yes,” “Maybe,” and “No.” Banks in each of these three groups should take a different strategy.



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The Case Against Social Media in Banking
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 (1499 reads)


How cute and cuddly is social media for banking? Not as sweet as the headlines claim for banks looking to attract new customers while protecting their personal information.



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The Back Office: The Next Competitive Battlefield
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 (1757 reads)


Customer service centers have long been the front line for building customer loyalty and defending a bank’s competitive position in the market. Yet customer service centers are increasingly reliant on back-office operations to fulfill their goals of delivering the expected quality of service at the lowest possible cost, while maintaining employee and customer satisfaction. 



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Driving Immediate and Sustainable Revenue in a New Environment
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 (1463 reads)


In the last 18 months, the financial industry has undergone unprecedented changes. Credit quality, margin compression, technology advancements, loss of core deposits and increasing competition from non-financial intermediaries are only a few of the challenges banks continue to face. Achieving revenue and profit growth in a slow economy is challenging but by focusing on key areas, banks can increase core deposits, account openings and profitability.



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Balancing the Overdraft Debate
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 (2819 reads)


Congress is considering bills to ensure fair overdraft coverage, yet there are thousands of community banks and credit unions already offering fair, consumer-oriented overdraft protection programs. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said, “Don’t do favors for people without asking them.” These institutions do ask. They fully disclose to their customers and members the overdraft protection services they provide when accounts are opened. They provide simple explanations of coverage and fees, notifications of program use and they ensure consumers are aware of their right to opt out of this service at any time, easily and immediately.



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The Debt That Ate Manhattan
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 (2743 reads)


The 2006 purchase of Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village by Tishman Speyer Properties and the real estate arm of BlackRock for a record-setting
$5.4 billion was one of the
highest-profile commercial real estate deals ever to take place.



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Commercial Real Estate: Looking Ahead
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 (1467 reads)


As 2009 comes to a close, there are initial signs that financial stability may be returning, but the system remains fragile. We are still bracing ourselves for what may come next in a financial crisis that has proven difficult to contain, with sector after sector being impacted in waves. There is reason to be concerned about mounting pressure in the commercial real estate (CRE) sector. Billions of dollars in CRE loans are coming due over the next few years. The amount of maturing CRE loans in 2009 is estimated to be between $300 and $500 billion, with another $2.6 trillion in maturing debt through 2012.



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Holding Tight to Community Ties
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 (1668 reads)


Salvatore “Sal” Marranca took a rather circuitous route to the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. Marranca began his banking career out of college as an examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). He was with the FDIC for 14 years, including several he spent “playing soldier,” as he says, in Vietnam. He returned from the war to continue his work at the government agency, but much like the Army, it soon became apparent that “you’re either a lifer or you get out,” he says. “And I didn’t want to be a lifer.”



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