Going for the Gold
BankWorld 2004, Prospecting New Heights in a New Economy
By Alison Cohen
There are banks so large that sports arenas bear their names and banks with so few branches that a toddler can count them. Large or small, the gold standard by which every bank is judged is its reputation for excellence and integrity. The ability to bring customers the best innovations, products and cutting edge technologies doesn’t hurt either.
Bank executives and managers, mortgage bankers and other financial services professionals prospecting for information about new trends, techniques and systems will find the mother lode at BankWorld 2004. This annual banking exposition, now in its ninth year, brings the industry’s leading consultants and vendors to offer seminars and showcase their services, equipment and new technologies for the financial services industry. Attendees also have a golden opportunity to network with their peers and explore new opportunities in a tailor-made forum brought to them by the Connecticut Bankers Association and The Commercial Record/The Warren Group. It always proves to be a big draw.
“Almost 1,000 people attended BankWorld 2003,” says Colleen Clancy, vice president of Connecticut Bankers Association. “We should equal that if not surpass it this year.” And as of Ground Hog Day, only two slots remain open for would-be exhibitors.
The “Gold Sponsors” of BankWorld are planning a rich array of seminars and workshops for attendees. These sponsors include BNK Advisory Group; COCC; Diebold, Inc.; Fiserv Solutions; Impact Financial; Kaeding, Ernst & Co.; Open Solutions Inc.; People’s Bank, USI Consult Group’s Executive & Professional Benefits Division and Wolf & Co., P.C.
Mickey Goldwasser of Open Solutions Inc. says Check 21 is revolutionizing the way financial institutions collect, exchange and settle checks with the payment processing system. His firm is offering attendees the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of Check 21 legislation, its ramifications and its impact on the industry in an interactive presentation by Fred Higgins, Account Manager, Federal Reserve Bank, entitled “Check 21, a Federal Reserve Bank Perspective”
Open Solutions, a Glastonbury-based organization, has been a regular sponsor of BankWorld to show its support for the Connecticut Banking Association and the services it offers its members. Goldwasser encourages everyone in the finance industry to attend the convention.
“This one day event is designed to be informative and serve as a peer-to-peer gathering of Connecticut banking professionals,” he says. “There is a topic for everyone on the agenda and some of the best companies and products in the industry will be demonstrated in the exhibit hall. We look forward to the opportunity to see and meet everyone at BankWorld.”
What lessons can your bank learn from top-performing banks versus more “average” banks? BNK Advisory Group promises to give you the answers uncovered by their market research.
BNK continuously analyzes community banks, dissecting their business models to see what is working and where performance is falling short of management goals. In a lecture aimed at senior level management, BNK’s Managing Director John Walker, Ph.D., CFA, will focus on producing a strong net interest spread, balancing credit quality and loan performance, managing net overhead, tax management, optimizing capital and key issues for managing interest-rate risk.
Senior Bank executives will get a better understanding of the information resources they need to drive fact-based decision-making in changing economic times in the COCC-sponsored lecture by Matthew D. Pieniazek of Darling Consulting Group and senior COCC staff. Pieniazek will focus on the use of next-generation financial systems that can collect and analyze data resources to develop product, service and investment strategies that will lead to improvements in overall performance, profitability and longevity.
Diebold promises to deliver everything you ever wanted to know about ATM trends, leveraging Check 21 in the ATM channel and deposit automation in its presentation. Jim Hughes, director of Solutions Development for Diebold will discuss current research, financial institution priorities and consumer priorities, making it the perfect venue for those wanting more information about leveraging technology, legislation, market needs and trends in the industry. Hughes’ background in banking, bank-related technology sales, retail delivery system optimization consulting, and marketing support for Diebold – and his emphasis on representing the “voice of the customer” — gives him a unique and diverse perspective.
Change is the order of things, and Fiserv plans to examine change within the EFT industry and describe ATM, POS and network technology developments. In addition, Tony Catalfano, president of Fiserv EFT/CNS, will present an in-depth look at the future of the industry, including scenarios for enhanced consumer product and service delivery.
“Our mission is to deliver products and services that help our clients grow their businesses and enhance service to their customers. We feel our presence at BankWorld will prove our mission,” explains Fiserv Marketing Executive Kathleen Watts. “With its wide array of industry-specific products, Fiserv partners with its clients to support their business with technology and support services. We offer service bureau and in-house processing systems, e-commerce solutions, facilities and resource management, and a wide range of complementary solutions to meet clients' diverse business needs.”
Performance management is the topic chosen by sponsor Kaeding, Ernst & Co. and their presenter, John Brantley, director of Performance Management and Compensation Consulting for Benmark.
Brantley will focus on maximizing the performance of the most valuable asset a bank has – its associates. In what promises to be a practical, interactive and entertaining seminar, Brantley will show participants how to implementation of a performance management system, resulting in an improvement in the overall performance of associates and the bank as a whole by using very practical, easy-to-apply tools and techniques.
USI Consulting Group’s Executive & Professional Benefits Division will offer a seminar on “Executive Compensation and 21st Century Governance.” According to spokesman Dianne Aldrich, the presentation will provide CEOs and board members with an updated perspective on executive compensation and how the current environment has changed in light of Sarbanes-Oxley.
“Special attention will be paid to the effect of SEC and bank regulatory agency pronouncements following Sarbanes-Oxley and changes brought about by revisions of accounting standards and other Corporate Governance considerations,” Aldrich says. “Attendees will leave with a better understanding of how best to retain and reward key executives while avoiding potential legal and compliance pitfalls.”
Gene A. Blumenreich, JD, a partner in the Business Department of Nutter, McClennen & Fish, will be the presenter. He will aim his presentation at CEOs and directors who need to establish executive compensation programs that adequately compensate executives while taking full consideration of recent changes in federal legislation, good governance, and the role of directors.
Is your customer information secure? Presenters Gerald R. Gagne, Stephen R King and Scott C. Baranowski, all of Wolf Risk Management Group, will show senior bank management how to avoid the operational, technology and regulatory compliance risks and pitfalls relating to the collection, maintenance and destruction of customer information.
Wolf & Co., a regional firm of certified public accountants and business consultants, has selected three presenters with different backgrounds to ensure a richly nuanced workshop.
“Wolf & Co. is one of the only firms in New England that provides internal audit, technology and regulatory compliance services,” Gagne said. “We deliver customized, practical risk management solutions such as stopping hackers, executing Internal Audits, and assisting customers in complying with new legislation like the USA PATRIOT Act. Our solutions help prevent both regulatory violations or just plain expensive mistakes.”
Once again, People’s Bank will have a strong—and welcome—presence at BankWorld. In addition to being one of BankWorld’s Gold Sponsors and an exhibitor, People’s Bank will be sponsoring the CEO/CFO luncheon.
People’s representative throughout the event will be Joseph Balzo, a bank vice president who manages the correspondent banking line of business. Balzo has more than 30 years of banking experience and has managed correspondent banking for People’s since the department’s inception in 1995.
Organizers expect a full complement of exhibitors again this year with an different mix of companies bringing their goods and services to the Exhibit Hall.
“We’ve picked up a dozen first-time exhibitors this year, including a producer of bullet-proof enclosures,” says Stephen Sousa, senior vice-president at The Warren Group and one of the convention organizers. “With BankWorld exceeding our expectations every year, it may be time to investigate other venue possibilities since we continue to have companies on a waiting list to exhibit.”
BankWorld 2004 will be held April 27, 2004 at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Cromwell, Conn. Information and registration forms will be available at http://www.nebank world.com/