‘We Were Economic First Responders’

On March 25, 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating nationwide and stalking Washington, U.S. senators unanimously passed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. Two days later, the House passed the measure and President Trump enacted it. Embedded in the law was a Paycheck Protection Program—a $349 billion rescue program for small business owners facing the prospect of having to immediately shut down their firms and … Continue reading ‘We Were Economic First Responders’

Making the Feeling Mutual

What if you gave a party and nobody came? Or to put a finer point on it, what if one of your bank’s biggest selling points—often one that’s right there in the name—flies right over the head of the people you’re hoping to sell to? Mutual community banks face a conundrum. What they consider one of their biggest selling points—the concept of mutuality—most of the … Continue reading Making the Feeling Mutual

Avoiding a Risky Customer Conundrum

Imagine a consultant based in Puerto Rico. She deposits mostly checks from her different clients, and she wants to open an account at a Great Lakes area bank. Would the bank consider her risky as a customer, and if so—how risky? It all depends on how the consultant and her business fits into the bank’s broader customer risk framework. To start with, the system would … Continue reading Avoiding a Risky Customer Conundrum

The Bank in the Background

Here we are, three adults, sitting in toddler-sized chairs in a former church basement. High-pitched laughter and kid chatter wafts in from the next room, where snacks are about to be served. I’m in the pre-K classroom of Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care, a new daycare center in Mercer County, N.D., and I’m chatting with Dana Santini, who manages the center, and local bank leader … Continue reading The Bank in the Background

Compliant Digital Marketing: Making the Most of Today’s Tools

In March, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development filed a landmark lawsuit against Facebook, alleging that the Silicon Valley giant was violating the Fair Housing Act by filtering housing-related advertising to potential viewers based on protected characteristics, such as race, sex and disability. In the case, which is still pending, HUD alleged that Facebook enabled housing advertisers to exclude—for example—parents, foreign-born individuals and customers interested in … Continue reading Compliant Digital Marketing: Making the Most of Today’s Tools

Confessions of a Conservative Cyclist

Earlier this week, George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen asked a provocative question on his popular economics blog: “Should we ban bicycles in major urban areas?” You might think calling for a new regulatory prohibition to be an odd question for someone who also leads a libertarian research organization known as the Mercatus Center. Mr. Cowen was calling attention to recent figures showing that 14 … Continue reading Confessions of a Conservative Cyclist

Can You Hear Me Now?

Voice in banking isn’t exactly a new concept. After all, we’ve engaged with bankers using our voices since the first borrowers approached Renaissance Italy’s 15th-century “mounts of piety” to ask for loans. When, 500 years later, telephone banking became an option, bank customers embraced that channel too. But while using our voice to connect with banks isn’t new, digital voice technology has been accelerated by … Continue reading Can You Hear Me Now?

What We Talk About When We Talk About ‘Deregulation’

A casual observer might be forgiven for thinking that when Congress passed—and President Trump signed—the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, or S. 2155, in 2018, that financial institutions were being “deregulated.” That’s what hundreds of news headlines and ledes said. “What’s in the Bank Deregulation Bill” —Wall Street Journal “Senate Bill Part of Deregulation Wave” —Bloomberg “The House easily cleared the Senate … Continue reading What We Talk About When We Talk About ‘Deregulation’

Bank City USA

Here’s a financial trivia question: What does Tupelo, Miss., have that some of America’s largest metro areas, including Atlanta, Phoenix and San Diego, don’t? The answer: at least two midsize or larger banks headquartered there. Tupelo—a town located in the gently rolling hills halfway between Memphis, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala., and with a population a little shy of 40,000—is the smallest U.S. city to have … Continue reading Bank City USA

High School Branches Pay Dividends for Banks and Students

Banks have done a lot to become less physically intimidating over the decades. The Doric stone edifices and teller cages have been replaced by floor-to-ceiling glass windows and roving universal bankers who work on a tablet. Some banks have even turned branches into coffeehouses. But for someone who has never had a bank account, a bank can still be an intimidating place. Financial products and … Continue reading High School Branches Pay Dividends for Banks and Students