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Patriot National Bank Survives Downturn, Reports Small But Significant Profit
Thursday, December 29, 2011 (1605 reads)


Patriot National Bank was as troubled a bank as they come, weighed down under a mountain of suspect real estate loans. But where others may have seen just another bank ready to fold amid the epic downturn in home prices and sales, private equity investor Michael Carrazza saw an opportunity. After all, despite its many problems, the bank also has some things going for it, not the least being location. Based in Stamford, Conn., Patriot is in the middle of one of the world’s most affluent suburban clusters.



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Optimizing the Efficiency Ratio Factors You Can Control to Increase Profitability
Thursday, December 29, 2011 (5646 reads)


High-performing community banks know that the key to growing profitably and building franchise value is to control what they can and strategically manage against market factors they cannot. Banks have recently had a laser focus on the efficiency ratio as they strive to offset the additional expense of loan loss provisions to cover asset quality issues.
The efficiency ratio is comprised of noninterest expense, noninterest income and net interest margin. However, we’re going to focus on expense management and fee income, because community banks have the greatest control over these variables. The management of these two elements is critical to maintaining or optimizing overall earnings performance.



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Look for the Union Label Amalgamated Bank and its $100 Million in Mixed Blessings
Thursday, December 29, 2011 (7698 reads)


It would seem like a propitious time for the nation’s only union-owned bank to make a comeback, with the Occupy Wall Street protests having revived age-old concerns about the costs of unfettered capitalism.
But despite some favorable political headwinds and a badly needed injection of capital, New York Amalgamated Bank faces some serious challenges ahead.



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Locking the Back Door
Thursday, December 29, 2011 (1872 reads)


You know things are bad when the Simpsons cartoon series can instruct us on security. But here we are, considering the example of Montgomery Burns, the Simpson’s maniacal owner of a nuclear power plant, as he runs a gauntlet of body scans and password challenges required to enter his palatial office. Once inside, Burns notices a rickety screen door open to an unprotected field behind the plant.
I mention this in the context of a recent hacker headline – “Google Mail Hack is Blamed on China” (Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2011). After reading through the ominous description of a brewing international incident, I saw that the victims had merely been tricked into sharing their Gmail passwords through a phishing attack.



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Liquidation Diligence and the Importance of Acting Quickly
Thursday, December 29, 2011 (5331 reads)


When the economy is down, bankruptcies are up. Consequently, as protection against the impending costs associated with this increased risk, lenders should be focusing their attention not only on the quality of collateral, but also on just how liquid the collateral offered by their debtors really is. With stagnant business growth, certain assets may be harder to sell, and what once took days to trade may now take weeks, incurring unexpected and sometimes devastating expenses along the way. As financial institutions evaluate collateral,



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Rx for Success: Customer Service Brand Check-Up
Thursday, December 29, 2011 (1326 reads)


As the president and owner of a mystery-shopping service firm that serves the needs of financial institutions, I am always struck by the absence of top-notch quality customer service. At a time when the level of business competition has significantly increased, is it any wonder that customer loyalty is fast becoming an endangered species? Overall, customer service is lackluster and nondescript at best.
Given this epidemic of poor or non-existent customer service, successful business organizations are checking up on their most valuable and important marketing tools – their employees. These organizations know all too well that each member of their customer service team is a critical link and personifies, pleasant or unfriendly, the professional service brand image in the eyes of their customers.



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Strategies for Protecting Your Internet Banking Site
Thursday, December 29, 2011 (1207 reads)


As more and more people go online to do their banking, more and more criminals see opportunities for theft in the form of unwary newcomers to online banking and increasingly sophisticated malicious software. Online theft is often carried out by large, well-organized criminal gangs, not lone hackers. The stakes are large and the threat is real.



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He’ll Do It His Way
Thursday, December 29, 2011 (1029 reads)


Wall Street and New York’s biggest banks may be eager to call it a day on the sorry foreclosure mess and its many scandalous subplots, even at the expense of writing a very big check. But alas, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, is having none of it. Just a year into the job, Schneiderman has succeeded in helping shift the debate, both in New York and nationally, away from efforts to close the book on the foreclosure mess and onto a new and seemingly growing round of investigations aimed at getting at the root causes – and supposed villains – behind the ongoing catastrophe.



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Signature Bank: Relationships Matter
Thursday, December 29, 2011 (7822 reads)


By almost any indicator Signature Bank is doing things differently from most other commercial banks. For one, it doesn’t even like calling itself a bank.
“We’re a professional services firm that does banking,” said Joseph J. DePaolo, president and CEO.
Its 25 locations are not branches, but private banking offices. Most are on upper floors, not street level. Its bankers are “group directors.” Customers are clients. And it does no advertising.



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Benefits of Server Virtualization: There’s Never Been a Better Time
Thursday, December 29, 2011 (1191 reads)


Virtualization is a proven software technology that is rapidly transforming the IT landscape and fundamentally changing the way that people compute. Virtualization allows you to enhance the way your IT environment operates. It simplifies the physical infrastructure, providing centralized management and better flexibility for resource sharing. From data centers to desktops, virtualization lets banks pool and share IT resources centrally and standardize computer deployment and resources so data is more secure.
For years, bankers have been watching and waiting for the definitive direction of virtualization. Although the technology isn’t new, there has been a delay in adoption for reasons ranging from an overall lack of knowledge about the benefits, to banks fearing a shift in their day-to-day operations.



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