Not long after he became chairman and CEO of First Horizon National Corporation in 2008, Bryan Jordan found himself at the doctor. The doctor asked him what he did for a living, and Jordan replied that he was a banker. “Who do you work for?” the physician asked. “I said I work for First Horizon, and I started explaining what I did and he let … Continue reading Eyes on the Horizon
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
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
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
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.”
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
According to Harvard’s Kennedy School, community banks account for more than half of small business loan volume and nearly half of commercial real estate lending. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the health of hometown economies depends on having healthy community banks engaged in robust, properly underwritten small business loans.
Those community banks face many challenges, from growing nonbank competition to a difficult economic environment that drives looser underwriting standards. But their CEOs are building strategies for success that leverage community banks’ unique strengths to maintain their leadership in the small business lending franchise. Continue reading “Small Business: A Competitive Edge for Community Banks”
Do fear and safety go hand in hand?
Consider air travel. An estimated one in 15 Americans has a crippling fear of flying, and a quarter of the U.S. population reports being nervous about flight.
Of course, aviation is just about the safest mode of travel in the world. The average American is 1,330 times as likely to die in a car wreck as in a plane crash. But all the statistics in the world can’t dislodge the deep anxieties many feel about flight. In Greg Ip’s widely covered new book, Foolproof: Why Safety Can Be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe, the Wall Street Journal economics columnist explores why that sense of risk heightens the safety of air travel. Continue reading “Risky Business”
If you had to describe Jim Edwards’ bank, you might say it’s in the sweet spot—in virtually every way.
United Bank is a $1.1 billion bank based in central Georgia. Its footprint stretches from rural farm areas to the Atlanta exurbs. It’s a full-service bank, offering consumer products, mortgages, business loans and services, cash management and investment services, but “we try to do that with that small-bank, high-touch feel,” says Edwards.
United has grown into a classic community bank with a strong future orientation. Edwards’ colleagues and customers agree: as United has grown, Edwards is a model for community bankers in the 21st century. Continue reading “Banking in the Sweet Spot”
In 1928, a pair of heart researchers conducted an experiment. They took several patients with a history of clogged arteries, wired them to an electrocardiograph and asked them to do sit-ups until it hurt. In some cases, the researchers even pushed down on the patients’ chests to make them work harder.
The result: for the first time the ECG showed a clear pattern of reduced blood flow from the heart as the patients worked harder. The ECG allowed the researchers to identify with greater precision just how clogged a patient’s arteries were—and how it would affect his life. It was the first deliberate “stress test,” and it became a fundamental diagnostic tool of cardiology.
Nine decades later, it’s bankers who are wired up and sweating through crunches. Continue reading “Stress Testing: Feeling the Pressure?”