Still Moving Forward
By Theodore D. Bessler
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.
IOLTA RESOLVED; JEBPAC RAISES RECORD AMOUNT
In late November, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an Administrative Determination establishing a new Best Customer Standard that replaces the Reasonable Return Standard as the method for IOLTA to evaluate the reasonableness of returns provided by banks. The court’s determination is a compromise reached by all three branches of state government with input from NJBankers and other involved parties, and resolves a long-standing issue.
I want to personally recognize Dennis DiLazzero, president and CEO of Minotola National Bank; NJBankers Vice President and Director of Government Relations Rob Tartaglia; and our legal counsel, Mary Kay Roberts of Riker Danzig, for their outstanding efforts.
Be sure to read the details of this and other government relations issues in Rob Tartaglia’s Action in Trenton column on page 6.
We had a very successful 2005 JebPAC campaign. Congratulations to Jim Hyman, chairman of our JebPAC Committee, for raising more than $80,000.
MERGER DISCUSSIONS ADVANCE
Additional discussions with representatives of the New Jersey League of Community Bankers were held in the fall, and some initial general concepts have been agreed upon. Most importantly, we have agreed to continue pursuit of a merger, making this round of talks the furthest merger discussions have ever progressed between the two organizations. I intend to keep all CEOs updated as events unfold. I look forward to additional progress being made in 2006.
A BUSY FALL In my column in the last issue of the magazine, I previewed some of the events that would be happening in the months ahead. It promised to be a busy fall then, and that promise was more than fulfilled. Here’s a quick look back at of some of our events:
SENIOR MANAGEMENT SEMINAR
More than 100 senior bankers attended our annual Senior Management Conference and Golf Outing Sept. 25-26 at the Marriott Seaview Resort in Absecon. One of the high points of the conference was a candid presentation by State Treasurer John E. McCormac on the state of New Jersey’s budget and how the budgeting process could be improved.
Our Financial Management and Trust Division held a very successful conference Oct. 6. A hands-on workshop on “Aging Awareness and Identifying Signals of Elder Abuse” put participants in the unique position of simulating what it would be like to be vision-impaired and elderly.
HUNDREDS ATTEND ‘BANKING NEW JERSEY’
Formerly named the Bank Technology Expo, the Banking New Jersey Management and Technology Conference brought in nearly 300 exhibitors and attendees Oct. 17 and 18 at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison. Nearly 60 exhibitors and an impressive roster of more than 20 speakers participated in the event, which was run in conjunction with the New Jersey League of Community Bankers. In-depth photo coverage of the event can be found on page 15 of this issue.
COMPLIANCE STILL DRAWS A CROWD
Based on the turnout of nearly 180 members of both NJBankers and the New Jersey League at the annual Bank Secrecy Act seminar Nov. 2, regulatory compliance remains an important topic. This year’s seminar also covered another hot topic, anti-money laundering. The two issues attracted the attention of banking reporter Marty Daks from njbiz, who interviewed seminar instructor Phil Gay of Profit Protection Inc.
JOINT MORTGAGE LENDING CONFERENCE
The Joint Mortgage Lending Conference Nov. 8, held in conjunction with the New Jersey League of Community Bankers and the Mortgage Bankers Association of New Jersey, featured a luncheon speech by Patrick J. O’Keefe, executive vice president and CEO of the New Jersey Builders Association. In his address, O’Keefe examined the telltale early signs that the state’s housing market was beginning to slow down.
EAST MEETS WEST NJBankers had an unusual opportunity Nov. 10 to host a visiting group of 15 Japanese bankers from the Regional Bankers Association of Japan. With the aid of an interpreter, they spent more than two hours discussing banking and asking questions of President Stu Cameron and me before they had to leave for their next appointment. It was a fascinating experience and unfortunate that we did not have more time with them, as we probably could have spent several more hours exchanging information.
KATRINA VICTIMS AIDED Although many of our members put forth their own independent efforts, a number of banks chose to join the association’s joint effort with the American Red Cross to aid the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort. Having held our last convention in New Orleans gave us special empathy to those ravished by this natural disaster. I am happy to report that we were able to provide the Red Cross a sum of $16,500 to date. Further contributions are always welcome, as people are still trying to recover from this calamity. Be sure to read the complete story of the New Jersey banking industry’s response to Katrina that begins on page 18 of this issue.
MORE TO COME
These are just a few of the dozens of events and online training seminars conducted this past fall by your association. And there’s plenty more to come. Remember, you can always find a complete list of our educational offerings on our Web site, www.njbankers.com.
I also wish to thank By-Laws Revisions Committee Chairman Bob Meyer and his committee for their work toward modifying our bylaws. Their work is scheduled for final completion in February. We held two CEO Focus Group meetings in the fall and are planning future meetings in addition to the continuation of President Cameron’s bank visitations.
JOIN NJBANKERS EXCITEMENT IN SCOTTSDALE
Be sure to register now for our annual convention, March 15-19, 2006 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz. We have a few surprises planned, along with a great program and a line-up of outstanding speakers. Those who have heard our keynote speaker, Jim Morris, on whom the movie “The Rookie” was based, have said we are in for a special treat. In acknowledgement of the convention’s Southwestern location, we’ve also planned some great events, including performances by Native American dancers, a dinner and tour at the internationally acclaimed Heard Museum and a superb round of golf at the Phoenician.
GET INVOLVED IN YOUR ASSOCIATION
As I review these past few months and look ahead to the next quarter, I am proud of this association and what it offers the New Jersey banking industry. If you are not attending our events, including Fed visits, the Washington trip, ABC legislative council breakfasts and committee meetings, or utilizing our Web site to battle credit unions, enrolling in AIB/ABA e-banking online courses or taking advantage of our other products and insurance services, you are missing out on a lot. So I urge you get involved in your association, use our endorsed vendors and affiliates and reap the rewards of participation. You’ll be glad you did.
Theodore D. Bessler is president and chief executive officer of Shore Community Bank, Toms River.