Nine Young Bankers Who Changed America

Early in 2016, while tracing the history of U.S. savings banks for an article I was writing on their bicentennial, I was intrigued by the stories of two of the founders of the savings bank movement: Philadelphian Condy Raguet and Bostonian James Savage. Both were 32 when, in 1816, they founded the first American savings banks in their respective hometowns. In addition to their contributions … Continue reading Nine Young Bankers Who Changed America

Beyond the Cross-Sell: Deepening Relationship Banking

Twenty-seven years ago, Micah Bartlett was a first-time bank teller at a small community bank in central Illinois. A few months in, the bank CEO gathered the staff to discuss the topic of the day: cross-selling. “Going forward, we were all going to be about cross-selling,” he remembers. The idea never had a chance. “I never changed my habits at all, and most of my … Continue reading Beyond the Cross-Sell: Deepening Relationship Banking

Regulatory Compliance? Elementary

Jeopardy! viewers in 2011 witnessed a first in game show history: a computer not only competed in the show, but wiped the floor with its opponents. Watson, a cognitive computer system, left Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter—previously Jeopardy!’s top champions—in its dust over a three-round matchup. IBM built Watson specifically to compete in a trivia show, but the potential applications proved highly commercial. Watson is … Continue reading Regulatory Compliance? Elementary

A Handcrafted Banking Turnaround

The year was 2011, and Blaine Jackson faced a tough choice. The then-34-year-old and his young family were seeking to relocate from Atlanta’s northwestern suburbs to Charlotte, N.C. Jackson was the chief financial officer at a struggling community bank in Woodstock, right in the “ring of death,” as the circle of failing banks around Atlanta was known in the years shortly after the financial crisis. … Continue reading A Handcrafted Banking Turnaround

Blue-Collar Banking

A cool November day in 1816 Philadelphia found Condy Raguet strolling down Chestnut Street, reflecting on ideas he had just read about the “friendly societies” and mutually owned savings banks popping up all over Great Britain to promote thrift among the poor.

A handsome, well-traveled, well-read 32-year-old merchant, Raguet bumped into a few friends and asked if they had heard of the concept. “Would you unite with me,” he asked, “to establish one?” The friends—one of them a scion of Philadelphia’s wealthy Biddle family—had indeed heard of the savings-bank concept and wanted to cooperate with Raguet. They decided to call their new institution the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society. Continue reading “Blue-Collar Banking”

Compliance Issues to Watch in 2017

The regulatory front offers the possibility for meaningful regulatory relief, but the timetable for obtaining that relief is uncertain. Although ABA staff are working now with members to identify regulatory changes that will encourage economic growth, we may not see results immediately, says ABA SVP Virginia O’Neill, who leads the association’s Center for Regulatory Compliance.

This is because the top officials of the independent banking agencies have terms that do not expire with the inauguration of a new president. Continue reading “Compliance Issues to Watch in 2017”

Pillar of Her Community

Dorothy Savarese tells a story about a humbling discovery she made shortly after moving to Cape Cod and how it reflects the heart of community banking.

She already had 16 years of experience in economic development and at a large regional bank in the Midwest. She had taught credit analysis on a national basis. So when she arrived on the Cape and started work as a commercial lender at the Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, “I looked at the credits here and the way they had been written up in the past, and they certainly didn’t meet my standards of documentation or credit underwriting,” she says—noting that they were short on financial analysis and long on character analysis.

“One of the things they had used long before I arrived to judge the creditworthiness of a customer was how neat their woodpile was,” she says. “If they did not have a neat woodpile, they would not make a loan to that customer.”

Continue reading “Pillar of Her Community”

Capturing Mobile Banking ROI for Community Banks

Offering mobile banking is often described as the “price of admission” or “table stakes” for retail banking today. Surveys bear that out—according to a recent survey by the Federal Reserve and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, 95 percent of community banks offer mobile banking or will do so in the near future.

But while mobile banking is becoming universal, it can still cause heartburn for bankers uncertain about the return on investment. How can bankers quantify the efficiencies, savings, sales and ultimately profits that they hope mobile will bring? Continue reading “Capturing Mobile Banking ROI for Community Banks”

How Banks Drive Growth in American Manufacturing

Manufacturing is having a moment. From custom 3-D printed cars to bandages that can provide health readings to photonics technology that is making Hollywood sci-fi fantasies real, manufacturers are deploying cutting-edge technology to improve their processes, offer better products and boost the productivity of the American economy. This revolution in manufacturing, which has emerged as the industry has recovered a million jobs post-recession and charged … Continue reading How Banks Drive Growth in American Manufacturing