Lincoln and the Banks

It is a testament to the scale of Abraham Lincoln’s place in history that his notable accomplishments in the financial sector are little known today. Alexander Hamilton’s financial innovations are celebrated in a Broadway musical, and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s banking reforms are packaged with the rest of the New Deal policies as a legacy. But Lincoln—whose policies on banks were as transformative as either Hamilton’s … Continue reading Lincoln and the Banks

Making Miracles in Memphis

Viewed from Pitt and Barbara Hyde’s office perched on the bluffs of ­Memphis, the Mississippi River appears to meander lazily on its way. But appearances can deceive. The river’s smooth, muddy surface hides a powerful flow of more than 300,000 cubic feet each second, moving boats along at a rate of up to three miles per hour amid threatening eddies and undercurrents. Barbara and Pitt—winners … Continue reading Making Miracles in Memphis

From Katrina to Harvey: Five Ways Banks Are More Resilient to Disaster Today

The haunting images this week of Houston’s flooded highways and neighborhoods bring to mind the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina twelve years ago—almost to the day. The experience is certainly déjà vu for bankers who lived through Katrina, although thanks to the lessons of 2005, the financial industry is better positioned today to fuel recovery along the western Gulf Coast. After Katrina flattened … Continue reading From Katrina to Harvey: Five Ways Banks Are More Resilient to Disaster Today

Plug and Play: Four Ways to Level Up Your Mobile Banking App

For a growing share of bank customers—especially millennials and their successors, Generation Z, mobile banking is where they will engage with their customers most frequently. According to Federal Reserve figures, 43 percent of bank customers use mobile banking, including 67 percent of millennials. According to a TD Bank survey, mobile is the fastest-growing channel for bank customers. Today, bank mobile apps offer a great deal … Continue reading Plug and Play: Four Ways to Level Up Your Mobile Banking App

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”