BID Daily Newsletter Archives

April 2021

Ever wonder which international land border is the longest? The Russia-China border may come to mind, yet that is only the 6th longest border at 4,209 km. The longest is the Canada-US border at 8,890 km. Not surprisingly, Canada is one of the top countries for American businesses to send and receive cross-border payments as well.Community financial institutions (CFIs) can now offer cross-border payment capabilities to their commercial customers (and not just to Canada) far easier and less expensively than ever — which can spell great opportunity for all as the market is on fire.Indeed, the cross-border payments market, now...
We have read that there are 21 things that are used to ask for a wish. Can you guess all of them? Wishbones, birthday candles, dandelions, and fallen eyelashes made the list, of course. But, did you know about white horses, wishing stones, and acorns? With all of these ways to make your wishes come true, it may not be surprising that bankers saw one of their biggest wishes come to fruition in 2020. At the beginning of 2020, many community banks cited the need to grow deposits as one of their primary business goals. Little did they know that the...
Did you know that it is illegal to use blasphemy in the state of MI? Or that it is against the law to swear at a sporting event in MA, if you are 16 years or older? And that dance halls are not allowed to be open on Sundays in SC? There is no shortage of laws that are still on the books within individual states past their intended use. Of course, many of these laws are no longer enforced. But while states may now overlook some of these more outdated laws, don’t expect that to be the case when...
Did you know that “pips” is the appropriate name for the dots on the dominos game pieces? Still, spots or dots work too, just as long as the players know the terms used. On the other hand, lending terms and their payments can be more tricky these days, as the pandemic continues to affect landlords and their bankers.Past-due rents are still a heavy burden for many landlords. Government stimulus checks have provided some relief to tenants and forbearance assistance has been a help to landlords. But the problem has grown so large that it may not be easily resolved, either...
There are around 4,750 community banks nationwide that local businesses and community members rely on, not just for financial services, but for outreach and assistance. We continue to celebrate every community banker with our second issue for Community Banking Month. Today, we highlight efforts made to assist minority communities, help college graduates, and teach financial literacy. Join us in our celebration, while patting yourself on the back for an ongoing job-well-done! Minority outreachThe Freedom Bank of VA created a new, $50K revolving loan fund, designed to help provide financing and technical assistance for entrepreneurs of color in the Washington D.C....
According to Freeletics, 74% of Americans say they used at least one fitness app during the COVID quarantine and Harrison Co. reported that 40% of survey respondents had never exercised at home before the pandemic. Americans were definitely exercising more as they were limited by their activities. Let’s hope that trend for fitness continues.Evidence is growing that the better a customer takes care of their physical health, the better they take care of their financial well-being too. Of course, this can also bode well for their financial institution; so much so that some institutions are now offering customers rewards and...
In Japan’s Ashikaga Flower Park, a 150Y old wisteria tree resides, which is believed to be the oldest living wisteria in that country. Still, that is a youngster compared to the Japanese Jomon Sugi that some believe is over 5K Ys old! A youngster of the human kind, Gen Z, is making its way in the world, drawing the notice of many bankers.Born between 1995 and 2010, Generation Z not only represents the newest up-and-coming segment of banking customers —  but one of the largest, most diverse, and knowledgeable demographics. Depending on the data, between 73MM and 78MM Americans fit...
The Guinness World Record for the farthest distance for stone skimming is almost 400 ft by a Scotsman named Dougie Isaacs. That stone likely sent multiple ripples along its path. Similarly, we find ripples can be felt along the digital global payment system when glitches or outages occur. One such event happened recently.During one recent appearance before Congress, Fed Chairman Powell was briefing members about the government’s digital payment system, and how important this year would be to its continued development. As he spoke, the Fed’s system was disrupted for about four hours due to an apparent internal hiccup. Apart...
The first patent for a hybrid (gasoline-electric) vehicle was filed in 1889 in IL by William H. Patton and was for a rail-car propulsion system for trams and small locomotives. But it wasn’t until 1997 when mass-produced hybrid automobiles finally hit the market with the Toyota Prius in Japan. Though hybrid vehicles still only represent a small fraction of the automobile industry, they are increasingly popular.Much like hybrid vehicles, the idea of hybrid work arrangements has been around for a while. Yet, with the pandemic and the need for social distancing, hybrid work arrangements were pushed to the forefront, along...
According to the nonprofit organization Feeding America, unemployment during the pandemic has greatly increased food insecurity in the US. Compared with 2018, 2020 saw the number of people considered food-insecure rise by 13.2MM, to a total of 50.4MM. These Americans weren’t certain of getting the nutrition they needed; 17MM of those were children. April is Community Banking Month, a time we celebrate by talking about the various kinds of outreach community bankers do. We begin by highlighting banks that have been working with food banks and meal delivery to help stem the increase of hungry Americans or thank specific segments of...
Published in 1859, “A Tale of Two Cities” is considered by many to be the most famous of all of Charles Dickens’ books, as it has been adapted into plays, radio segments, movies, television shows, and podcasts. These days, we are even seeing glimpses of it in the financial industry.  Lenders looking for cues on what’s ahead for commercial real estate (CRE) lending activity and valuations are finding a story that reads a little like this classic novel — “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” As we review the last year, some CRE sectors...
April 01, 2021 - How Is FedNow Coming Along?
Today is April Fool’s Day. But, we promise not to fool you. We thought it was interesting to read about its origins, but it is somewhat of a mystery. Some believe it had to do with the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, as the weather can be unpredictable. Others think it had to do with the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar — those who didn’t realize the change were considered fools. But, today, we are not fooling when we say that FedNow℠ is ahead of schedule. The Federal Reserve is making such good progress on...

March 2021

03/31/2021 - Learning To Swim In Liquidity – What Can Bankers Do?
We heard recently about a survey, conducted for the Red Cross, that found that while 80% of Americans said they could swim, only 56% of the self-described swimmers can perform all five of the basic skills that could save their life in the water. As you build your post-pandemic plans, this may be up for consideration as many bankers are swimming in cash these days. Thanks to continued injections from government actions and low loan demand, many financial institutions are awash in cash. But for how long will this last? We lay out some of the economic indicators to try to...
03/30/2021 - Community Banks And Credit Unions – New Friendships?
Friendships may not always make sense. For instance, Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, Mel Gibson and Britney Spears, or even dogs and cats. But, they often share similar values to foster these friendships. Similarly, community banks and credit unions (CUs) may not always see eye-to-eye on a variety of issues. But, in spite of this, several community banks are nowadays regarding CUs differently and even reaching out to sell them their banks or specific branches. Reasons to sell. As the financial landscape shifts, so do some of these relationships. Some community banks are struggling with thinning net interest margins and decelerating loan...
03/29/2021 - Four Ways To Progress With Corporate Governance
The term “corporate governance” became official when it was entered into the US Federal Register in 1976. After this addition, regulators and companies had a way to classify business best practices and create benchmarks.Not surprisingly, when it comes to corporate governance, many shareholders want companies to be responsible. But, these days, that often includes environmental and social elements too. Consider findings from Deloitte’s 2020 global risk management survey, in which 47% of respondents say it will be an extremely or very high priority for their institutions to improve their ability to manage ESG (environmental, social, and governance).How should community financial...
03/26/2021 - Put Your Referral Programs In Gear
According to one source, 78% of B2B marketers find that referral programs generate good or excellent leads. While this may seem obvious, with the past year’s focus on health and recovery, it likely hasn’t been top of mind. Now may be the time to put it there. Community financial institutions have utilized customer referral programs for commercial and retail customers for years and often realized great success. Various studies show happy customers can be your institution’s greatest champions and generate a firm’s best leads. In a year with low margins and high volatility, good customers can be your best source of...
03/25/2021 - Trade Finance Can Grow International Business
According to a SurveyMonkey survey, around 80% of Americans drink coffee, with 69% drinking it for its taste, and 62% drinking it for the extra burst of energy. So, when you are drawn to your next cup of coffee, you know you are in good company.  Another area that is drawing people in these days is trade finance. A growing number of funds and institutional investors are drawn to the returns offered by trade finance. The reasons they like this asset class are largely the same reasons that community financial institutions (CFIs) can also benefit by offering trade financing to...
03/24/2021 - Reaching More Customers By Going Viral
Contranyms are interesting. They are words that have two almost opposite meanings, depending on how it is used. While you can screen (hide) your skin from the sun using sunblock, when you screen a movie you are putting it on display for everyone to see. Similarly, when we talk about something going viral, the word is negative when it comes to things like the pandemic, yet when used regarding something on social media or the internet, it is positive. Going viral on social media indicates great demand or a high level of interest. In the case of the latter, there is...
03/23/2021 - Six Steps Your Institution Should Take Towards SOFR
A day on the planet Mercury is actually equivalent to two Earth years. Talk about having more time in the day! Many bankers wish that they had more time in the day to address the many projects on their plate lately.Although the implementation of CECL and the myriad of issues related to PPP loans have dominated bankers’ time, it is important to keep the upcoming transition from LIBOR to SOFR on top of mind as well. It remains one of the regulators’ top areas of focus for this year, with the adoption deadline set for December 31, 2021.Back at the...
03/22/2021 - Three Key Areas Impacting Customer Profitability
According to National Geographic, the land mammal with the longest tail is actually a giraffe, which can reach 8 ft. This was a bit of a surprise to us! Another surprise is that we seem to be at the tail-end of the pandemic. As more vaccines are administered and more businesses open, there are several factors impacting our local and national economies which will affect bank profitability. Better, faster decisions will be made if our data and assumptions are current and if customer profitability is reviewed regularly. To guide you with this review, we provide you with three key areas impacting...
03/19/2021 - Branch Closures – The Influencers & The Future
Interestingly, some trees such as pines, poplars, willows, and maples, shed their branches annually in a “self-pruning” process. While that may work for these trees, shedding bank branches doesn’t always work as well for bank employees, customers, or communities.S&P Global reported that over the past 12 months, there has been a net loss of 2,563 branches — 3,585 branches shuttered while 1,022 were opened. Although the pandemic has definitely had a hand in speeding some of these closures along, how will the post-pandemic world affect branch closures? Bankers and experts alike have been weighing in on this issue. We look...
03/18/2021 - Zoom Fatigue Is Still Here – How It Affects Us And What To Do
It has been calculated that some executives spend up to an average of 23 hours per week in virtual meetings. This has been taking a toll on all of us, according to new research from Stanford University. Even as businesses, including community financial institutions, get back to the office, these virtual meetings will likely continue to a certain degree. So, we wanted to provide you with some insights from Stanford’s study to help your management teams and staff.According to a recent Stanford University study, most people find hours on Zoom, the ubiquitous video conferencing platform — or any other such...
03/17/2021 - Five Ways To Grow Your Business
Today is St. Patrick’s Day which means wearing green, eating corned beef and cabbage, and for those over 21, drinking Guinness beer, as we join the Irish in this cultural and religious celebration. In the US, we have come to adopt many customs of our immigrants, including St. Patrick’s Day. But, immigrants provide much more as they become more intertwined in the American fabric. According to Pew Research, as of 2018, there were 34.5MM foreign-born legal residents (aka immigrants) in the US. Staying true to our origins as a country of immigrants, the percentage of immigrants as a share of...
03/16/2021 - Merchants Optimistic About Contactless Payments
The experts say that if you come in contact with a bear, you should remain still, stand your ground, and slowly wave your arms so that it knows you are not prey. This doesn’t sound like the easiest way to stay contactless, but supposedly it is the best way nonetheless. One contactless option that seems a bit easier is of the payment variety. Merchants are finding contactless payment technologies help keep business flowing. Contactless payment technologies are getting more and more popular among small business merchants, propelled by shifts from the pandemic, and are likely to stay. By the end...
03/15/2021 - Stemming The Exodus Of Women In The Workplace
As of March 2, there have been over 115MM coronavirus cases worldwide, over 2.5MM deaths, and almost 91MM considered recovered. There is nobody left who hasn’t been negatively impacted by the pandemic one way or another. But while job losses due to the pandemic have been felt far and wide across the country, societal factors have led to women leaving the workforce at a disproportionate rate. Thus, there is a risk that the banking industry, among others, could be left with a dearth of senior women once the pandemic finishes. While each institution is unique, it is important to understand...
03/12/2021 - Helping The Underbanked And Unbanked
Most people have heard of the Spanish Steps in Rome. But, did you know that it is comprised of 138 steps, built in the 18th century, and connects the Spanish Embassy and the church of Trinita dei Monti to the Holy See and Spanish Square? It is amazing to think how many people are connected by these steps. In the present day, taking steps to connect to underbanked and unbanked people is something many bankers are trying to do.Banks are taking important steps to help unbanked and underbanked individuals gain access to needed financial services. This is especially important these...
03/11/2021 - What SMBs Are Looking For In International Payment Solutions
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that exports increased by $6.2B to $190B and imports grew by $3.8B to $256.6B from November to  December 2020. This shows that international trade is inching forward, and with it, so is small business international activity.According to the Office of the US Trade Representative, small businesses that export “grow faster, add jobs faster, and pay higher wages.” In an increasingly global world, more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have relationships overseas with customers, suppliers, or both. These firms need to make and receive payments from overseas sources, and they expect to do so at...
03/10/2021 - How To Test For Volatility In A Post-Pandemic Normal
Auguste Rodin’s bronze statue, The Thinker, was originally commissioned in 1880 for a doorway area called, The Gates of Hell. While this area was based on Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”, some would say that with the pandemic and economic disruptions, we have passed through similar gates. Further, just like Rodin’s statue, bankers have been prompted to think deeper about the interplay of risks for their institution. For instance, expected loan losses are particularly difficult to calculate during the pandemic, with many businesses struggling, some thriving, and government assistance programs keeping many afloat. The economy is rapidly showing signs of strength....
03/09/2021 - Three Ways To Add More Board Diversity
Interestingly, Seymour Island had penguins that stood at six feet tall and weighed 250 pounds about 40MM Ys ago, according to bones that were found. As times change, adaptions are made. This is true with bank boards too.Lately, banks have made modest improvements in diversifying their boards, but they’re not where they should be yet. That’s according to a finding from Bank Director’s inaugural 2020 Governance Best Practices Survey, which took place in February and March 2020, just before the pandemic forced many banks to close. A total of 159 CEOs, chairmen, chairwomen, and independent directors of banks with less...
03/08/2021 - Three Ways To Improve The Customer Experience
According to Bain & Co., if you boost your customer retention by 5%, your profits can increase by as much as 125%! While many community financial institutions (CFIs) consider their customers more than just a way to make a profit, this is definitely a nice bonus for a good customer relationship. Knowing this, it is not surprising that even though many priorities have changed amid the pandemic, the customer experience continues to be top of mind. Indeed, it’s second to the top in terms of priorities through 2021, according to the Financial Brand’s Digital Banking Report. More than half of...
03/05/2021 - What Are Banks Saying About M&A In 2021?
While crawling, talking, and walking are typical milestones for young children, it is not always easy to note when there is simply a delay vs. atypical behavior. Observations, assessments, and analyses are all important ways to differentiate the two. Looking at the development of bank M&A in 2021 can be handled similarly. Last year was definitely atypical when it came to bank M&A activity. Once the pandemic took hold, M&A activity screeched to a halt, with a measly 3 deals announced in April and May, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Acquisitions picked up slightly in the summer, yet the...
03/04/2021 - Three Steps To Get Started With Open Banking
The phrase “open sesame” comes from French Antoine Galland's 18th-century story, “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.” Yet, it has been popularized here by the world of animation through Disney’s “Aladdin.” While “open sesame” hasn’t shown up in the banking world yet, open banking definitely has. Open banking, or open finance as it is often called, has attracted a lot of buzz lately due to the rise in digital banking. Open banking is defined as financial institutions sharing customer data digitally with third parties, with consent, to provide a more engaging banking experience. While many community financial institutions (CFIs) may...
03/03/2021 - 50% Of People Would Switch Banks For Biometric Cards
According to a survey by OnePoll, 64% of those surveyed said they are germophobic now, due to the pandemic. Respondents reported washing their hands 10x per day, in addition to using hand sanitizer 8x per day. Though vaccines are now being actively distributed and administered, the public’s concerns about touching public surfaces remain high. This has not only led to a significant boost in electronic and mobile payments over the past year, but also driven demand for contactless payment options such as biometric bank cards. Further, with public demand for contactless payment options expected to increase, community financial institutions (CFIs)...
03/02/2021 - Should CFIs Worry About Peak Oil?
The movie, Grease, debuted in 1978 and became both a commercial and critical success. Brylcreem, a combination of mineral oil and beeswax, and poodle skirts were all the rage for a while again due to its popularity. While oil has definitely worked its way into many consumer products, including cosmetics and haircare, as an energy source, oil may have reached a peak.  As the nation and world turn increasingly to renewable energy, a long decline in oil demand is approaching, and that has broad economic implications. While it won’t happen overnight, it is important to prepare for the effects of...
03/01/2021 - How Do You Identify & Fight Synthetic Identity Fraud?
Synthetic fabrics can trace their origin back to 1855 when George Audemars, a Swiss chemist, discovered how to artificially replicate silk using mulberry bark pulp and gummy rubber. Unfortunately for community financial institutions (CFIs), synthetic reproductions have morphed into multiple channels, including fraudulent ones, as in synthetic identity fraud.  Synthetic identity fraud is when false identities are created and used to make fraudulent purchases and open counterfeit accounts and loans. While not new, financial institutions now lose more than $6B annually to synthetic identity fraud. With this as an increasing problem, CFIs need to understand the latest issues around it...

February 2021

02/26/2021 - Help Your Borrowers With Tax Breaks On Forgiven PPP Loans
Believe it or not, the fax machine was invented back in the 1840s. While it took a little longer to hit the mainstream, bankers used the fax machine in the normal course of lending and other business for decades.Still, with its shiny, easily smudged paper, it is a good thing that fax machines are not the only way to conduct business anymore. As of February 7, 2021, community financial institutions (CFIs) under $10B had granted 653,684 loans totaling $53,430,722,294 under the new 2021 Paycheck Provider Program (PPP), showing how fervently CFIs continue to serve their small business borrowers. For those...
02/25/2021 - Three Ways To Help Small Landlord Customers
The Cleveland Clinic reports that 85 out of 100K US adults report having pinched nerves each year. Most of these cases are for people over 50Ys old; yet, as many of us are still sitting at dining room tables as pseudo office desks these days, that number could increase. Another group that is likely to get more pinched these days is small landlords whose tenants continue to suffer economically due to the pandemic. As a result, the community financial institutions (CFIs) that lend to them could also be pinched.Delinquencies on mortgage loans for one- to four-unit dwellings in Q4 2020...
02/24/2021 - Leadership Traits Are Evolving
Being able to wiggle your ears is an evolutionary trait that started with the need to pinpoint sounds. Once humans started living in groups, it was less important. This may explain why only 15% of the population can wiggle their ears today!Evolution is not just for survival traits like wiggling ears, but also for becoming better leaders. Financial institution CEOs have many important roles to play and these roles have evolved over the past several years as times have changed. Today, more than ever before, they need to interact with a larger group of stakeholders. They are reaching out to...
02/23/2021 - Using Biometrics While Mitigating The Risks
Biometrics use has been growing steadily and is expected to only speed up. The global biometrics market is expected to reach $68.6B in 2025, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4%. It is important for community financial institutions (CFIs) to incorporate biometrics as they provide an important way to protect customer data. Still, there are risks. We give you an update on biometrics and how to mitigate the evolving risks. Biometrics have come a long way. According to the Biometrics Institute, there are currently 15 different types of biometric data. Facial patterns, iris scanning, and hand geometry plus 11...
02/22/2021 - Retain Deposits With Technology
According to Statista, the US savings rate in October 2020 was 13.6%. While this fell from a whopping 33.7% in April, it is still six percentage points higher than the rate in February 2020. The savings rate will get back to normal levels eventually though. When that happens, you will want to be ready. As the economy expands and spending increases, we expect that inflationary pressures are likely to cause the cost of funds to increase. When that happens, having a plan in place to retain deposits will put you ahead of the curve. Here are a few ways to...
02/19/2021 - Your Next Exam & Tough Questions On Climate Change Risks
Since the rainy season is still here, we wondered which US city has the most rainy days? Seattle? Portland? New Orleans? Actually, Rochester and Buffalo in NY tied for the top spot with 167 rainy days per year. However, Seattle residents may refute this!Regardless of the various views on rainy days or climate change, good bankers know to pay attention to shifts in regulatory focus. So, while climate change risks are not yet incorporated into bank examiner supervisory manuals, the topic continues to pick up steam amongst the regulatory agencies as ongoing weather events may have the potential to impact...
02/18/2021 - Helping SMBs Ramp Up Digital Disbursements
Interestingly, 5K year-old tablets show that workers in Mesopotamia were paid in rations of beer. Even back then they had pay stubs! Yet, payment with beer is no longer common practice and payments overall have advanced light years since ancient Mesopotamia.Still, for companies that provide services to small- and midsized-businesses (SMB), getting paid has sometimes taken longer than desired. But, as payments and financial services have become more electronic, digital disbursements are changing the game.Digital disbursements give businesses a smooth and immediate payment process to and from vendors and customers. Consumers have already expressed high interest in digital payments through...
02/17/2021 - From Pandemic To Productivity Challenges
Hard to believe that the board game, Clue, has been around since 1947. Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlett, and Professor Plum have seen millions of mysteries solved in the hall, conservatory, and kitchen with the candlestick, wrench, and rope since then.It is no mystery that the working world has changed in the last 12 months. Gone are the days of the standard eight-hour workday. In its place is a new reality where people have a hard time disconnecting from work, especially as many still work remotely. While 83% of employees don’t believe working remotely affects their productivity, and 94% of employers...
02/16/2021 - Three Secrets Of Successful Fintech Partnerships
You may not know this, but 28% of IT professionals conceal the fact that they work in IT from family and friends to avoid having to give free tech support. These days, though, more community financial institutions (CFIs) than ever are reaching out to fintechs for tech support to keep up with customer demands so they don’t have to bother family and friends anymore. More and more community financial institutions are partnering with fintechs to bring even more value to their customers, especially after the digitization spurred from the pandemic. According to Cornerstone Advisors, 86% of credit unions and banks cite...
02/12/2021 - How Will CECL Affect Your Institution’s Securities?
It has been estimated that on a clear night away from city lights, as many as 5K stars would be visible to the naked eye. Bankers are more likely to be looking at their loan loss estimates these days than up the stars. Still, we thought it was interesting nonetheless.The financial press is full of news about CECL’s effect on loans, as well as how the effects of the coronavirus will affect CECL’s implementation. Yet, community financial institutions (CFIs) will need to understand and strategize around the effect the new standard will have on their institution’s investment securities too. These...
02/11/2021 - Relationship Value Pricing And Customer Profitability
Since Valentine’s Day is on Sunday, we thought it interesting to share that it only takes about 4 minutes to decide whether you like someone or not. Supposedly, this has to do with body language and the tone of your voice. That said, it takes a bit longer for bankers to know how the relationship with their customer will work out. One thing that can help — relationship value pricing. Relationship value pricing can be an effective strategy for improving a community financial institution’s (CFI) fee income and determining the worth of the overall customer relationship. This is especially important...
02/10/2021 - Passwords – Are Their Days Numbered?
Experts say that the best time for the brain to learn is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and then again from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. This timing could be helpful to know when learning new passwords. Yet, many bankers and experts alike are looking at other options for passwords as well.  Financial institutions have always been a top target for cybercriminals. But as online compromises have spiked the past year in the face of the pandemic, many experts are questioning whether the ubiquitous password is enough in securing work-based access. The human element. Entering a user name and...
02/09/2021 - Using Influencer Marketing To Engage Customers & Talent
Apparently, people speak an average of about 7K words a day, with some speaking even double that number. So, it is not surprising that trying to break through the stream of words to reach your customers can be a challenge. Today, we look at influencer marketing as a way to do this. Influencer marketing in social media is hot right now and community financial institutions (CFIs) are getting in on the act.Influencers typically have a dedicated following because they are perceived as experts in their particular field or activity. As such, their followers trust their recommendations about brands. Influencers can also...
02/08/2021 - Security Operations Center – Is It For You?
Apparently, disappearing socks is no longer a mystery. One family took apart its washing machine when it was not functioning properly and found that socks had slipped through the thick rubber ring that allows you to tightly seal the door. According to a GE quality engineer, this can happen at high spinning speeds. While not a mystery, another type of SOC, Security Operations Center, is helping financial institutions deal with the head-spinning cost of cybercrime. With new cyber threats emerging daily, you may be hearing more about SOC as a way to batten down the cybersecurity hatches. While this approach may...
02/05/2021 - Startups Find Opportunities – Your Institution Could Too
While we don’t advise doing it at home, coconut water has apparently been used “as a short-term intravenous hydration fluid” according to the National Library of Medicine. Many businesses are definitely in need of similar life-saving provisions these days, but the current environment has created amazing opportunities for startups as well.When it comes to COVID-19, community financial institutions should not forget that there is another side of the proverbial coin. There is no question that the global pandemic has taken a negative toll on businesses across the board, leaving many people unemployed or under-employed and struggling to make ends meet....
02/04/2021 - FedNow℠ Service Is Making Progress – What You Should Know
According to Acumen Research and Consulting, the worldwide B2B payments transaction market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% from 2019 to 2026 and is expected to reach over $63T by 2026. Many factors are affecting this rapid growth, including the advancement of payment technologies along with the continuing demand for faster payments by consumers and businesses alike. All payment platforms have seen increased demand, especially during the pandemic. So, it is exciting to see that the Fed’s faster payments solution, FedNow ServiceSM, is making great strides.While the FedNow Service isn’t expected to fully launch until...
02/03/2021 - Credit Migration Trend – Where Is It Heading?
Birds have been known to migrate up to 16,000 miles and reach speeds of 30mph to reach their destination at the right time. That means it could take some birds 66 days to reach their destination. Talk about perseverance! Bankers also need perseverance in dealing with their own migration — credit migration.Bankers are always on the lookout for credit migration trends, even more so now as deferrals are less prevalent and lenders hone in on loans that show more persistent performance issues. With a new round of stimulus coming, the full impact of the ongoing pandemic may be tamed; however,...
02/02/2021 - The COVID-19 Vaccine And Your Employees
Americans collectively watched more than 57B minutes of “The Office” in 2020, making it the year’s most heavily streamed television show, according to Nielsen. Between social distancing and cabin fever, it’s not surprising that so many would seek out a little comic relief. Or maybe the show’s popularity reflects the fact that people yearn to return to shared workspaces. But, before that can happen, businesses will have to determine whether or not they will require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccination and, if so, how they will handle the details.While the availability of coronavirus vaccines is still primarily limited to...
02/01/2021 - Educating Your Customers About SIM Swap Fraud
The only insect that can turn its head is the praying mantis. Its average life span is 1Y and there are 1,800 species around the world. Gardeners often welcome these insects since they eat many garden pests. Criminals that prey on bank customers through their phones are another kind of pest we focus on today.Criminals who take over your customer’s phone can tap into their bank accounts and make off with their funds. Unfortunately, instances of SIM swapping have risen sharply over the last few years. Defining the problemSIM swapping occurs when a thief impersonates a user and attempts to...

January 2021

01/29/2021 - Employee Diversity Boosts Engagement & Performance
Today is National Puzzle Day and most of us have done a puzzle or two during the pandemic. Demand has soared to the point where one handcrafted puzzle went for as much as $4,500! Increasing diversity within an organization can also be puzzling. But, today, we shed some light on why and how to do this.  In the wake of the past year’s inclusion-focused rallies and events, community financial institutions (CFIs) are increasingly embracing a more committed effort to add gender and racial diversity to their internal organization. This is being done not only to increase employee engagement, but also...
01/28/2021 - The Year Ahead In Anti-Money Laundering Compliance
According to an assistant astronomy and astrophysics professor from UC Santa Cruz, the Earth is worth about $5 quadrillion. He used the Earth’s mass, temperature, age, and other factors that directly affect its ability to support life. If planet investing was possible, no doubt money launderers would try to use it to their advantage. Yet, this year could be a monumental one for money launderers and financial institutions. Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulatory efforts that have been percolating for years are starting to take shape. Given the change in administration and the fact that AML reform has had bipartisan support in...
01/27/2021 - LIBOR To SOFR – Next Steps To Keep You On Track
We thought it was interesting to find out that the term “scuttlebutt” has its origins from 1800s naval history, as this was what contained drinking water for those on the ship. A ship’s version of a company water cooler where sailors gathered to share information. The end of LIBOR is definitely more than just water cooler talk or scuttlebutt. So, today, we give you the latest update.  The end of LIBOR matters to financial institutions all over the world, because so many interest rates are pegged to the sunsetting standard. But community financial institutions have a particular reason to care...
01/26/2021 - How Can Wire Automation Help Your Institution?
Automation is not new. This term was first coined around 1946 in the automotive industry “to describe the increased use of automatic devices and controls in mechanized production lines.” It is attributed to D.S. Harder, a Ford Motor Company engineering manager at that time.Even though it is not new, automation in banking was definitely advancing prior to COVID-19; but, the pandemic put it in high gear. One of the areas that specifically saw increases in automation was wire processing. As businesses looked for commerce opportunities across geographic boundaries, several community financial institutions (CFIs) stepped up with wire automation. Here are...
01/25/2021 - Categorizing PPP Customers For Customer Profitability
It may not be surprising to hear that Star Wars is considered the most profitable movie of all time. This is not just due to the 1977 movie itself. Its success stems from 12 released films in the series, its Disney rides, and merchandise galore. Likewise, bank customers could have other sources of income that make them more profitable. Finding that out is part of the process for bankers.Now that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has started up again, it is a good time to look at PPP customers and their profitability, possibly finding other areas of income. Based on...
01/22/2021 - Opportunities Emerge As Digital Banking Increases
Do you remember hearing about putting pepper on a toddler’s thumb to stop them from sucking it? Sometimes it takes a negative event or experience to trigger certain behaviors. In today’s case, the pandemic certainly triggered specific customer behaviors. The pandemic accelerated industry trends and changed consumers’ banking and payment habits, says a study done by Javelin Strategy & Research. Despite their beginnings in a time of tremendous stress, these changes have created openings for financial institutions to bring in more business. Digital banking increased. Banking customers were already doing less of their banking in person, but lockdowns and quarantines...
01/21/2021 - PPP Lending Is Back . . . And There Are Changes
The letter “P” is not used very often. In fact, it is only used 1.9% in texts, which is less frequent than “W” with 2.4% frequency and even “Y” with 2%. Yet, this letter has meant a lot to small businesses, in the form of PPP loans. The good news is that PPP funding is back! PPP has been an invaluable source of funding for many small businesses. The first round that ended in August 2020 provided 5.2MM loans worth $525B and helped cover 80% of small business employment. As our nation’s small businesses continue to struggle, the availability of...
01/20/2021 - Making Meetings More Productive
One of the five Great Lakes, Lake Superior, is a freshwater lake with the world’s largest surface area. Due to this massive amount of water, you will even see waves! While you may not want to make waves at work, meetings may need to be reviewed for their level of productivity.In 2019, American businesses lost $399B to unnecessary and badly organized meetings. The pandemic increased the hours that workers spend in meetings by about 10%. If the math holds, that means poorly run meetings cost the US $440B last year.With some rethinking of organizational frameworks, using goals as a litmus...
01/19/2021 - Four Ways To Help Your Customers Fight Fraud
Denmark has 2x the number of bicycles as cars and almost every road has a bike lane. Unfortunately, the abundance of bikes leads to an opportunity for thieves — 17% of Danes have stolen a bike at some point.Similarly, thieves abound in the banking world. Community financial institutions (CFIs) continuously develop ways to fight fraud internally, but their efforts can be greatly enhanced if they also offer resources for customers to detect possible fraudulent activity or attempted social engineering scams. We found four ways that CFIs are helping their customers fight fraud. Likely, you are doing most of these already,...
01/15/2021 - Bank Landscaping For Greater Engagement
Apparently, plants have a way of communicating with each other. We are not exactly sure how, but we found this interesting to hear nonetheless.Community financial institutions (CFIs) may not be thinking of talking plants when they think of the landscaping around their branch, yet, landscaping can do more than just make things pretty. We have heard from a few CFIs that have used it to engage with their community and convey a message.Branch design often defines landscaping as an afterthought to the physical structure, reduced to a few shrubs and plants to add a touch of curb appeal at modest...
01/14/2021 - Embedded Banking Is Expanding
 According to Merriam-Webster, the definition for embed is “to make something an integral part of.” While you may not mind this with some things, like computer code that allows your online banking to work, others are concerning. This is the case with embedded banking.The growing trend of embedding banking services in other, non-financial applications has the potential to chip away at community financial institutions (CFIs) and their customer relationship model. Here are some of the details so that you can be prepared.Goldman Sachs just began offering companies a newly developed software that “embeds business bank account experiences within their own...
01/13/2021 - Merchant Businesses Generate 2.6x More Revenue
Founded in 1889, the Japanese company, Nintendo first sold playing cards, not video games. Long-standing businesses have had to reinvent themselves as the needs of customers changed. Many merchants have had to do this lately as the pandemic shifted customer preferences and behavior. According to the Commerce Department, consumers spent $199.44B online with American retailers in Q3 2020, an increase of over 37% from $145.47B for Q3 2019. Not only that, but almost a quarter (23.8%) of all sales in 2020 were online. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could support those businesses as they continue to thrive?Leading with merchant...
01/12/2021 - Automation Keeps Your Institution Competitive
Today is National Pharmacist Day. So, we decided we needed to send a special shout out to all those pharmacists that are working hard to keep us all healthy during the pandemic. While COVID-19 wasn’t the impetus for the banking industry’s acceptance of the need for automation, it has certainly expedited things. Community financial institutions (CFIs) are now turning to automation for a variety of things — from enhancing customer experiences to streamlining functions such as reporting fraud and speeding up wire transfers. In the year ahead, financial institutions are expected to not only pick up the pace of their...
01/11/2021 - How One Of Your Peers Succeeded With Mobile Wallets
The mobile payment market is expanding rapidly. According to Facts and Factors research, the global mobile payment market is expected to reach $5.5T in 2026 from $290B in 2019.This growth has definitely been stimulated by the flurry of contactless payments and mobile wallets usage spurred by consumer demand and merchant adoption during the pandemic. Debit card transaction growth has been especially robust. The Federal Reserve Bank of SF’s Diary of Consumer Payment Choice report finds debit cards are used the most and they have the highest levels of stated preference at 42%. Both Visa and Mastercard reported a 20% growth...
01/08/2021 - Staying Compliant With Artificial Intelligence
Have you noticed that many of the AI-driven assistants (Alexa, Siri, Erica, etc.) are female? Apparently, that is not accidental. Research has shown that people prefer hearing a female voice over a male one. There seems to be more to learn about artificial intelligence (AI) these days than ever before.As the banking industry delves into all the ways that AI and machine learning (ML) can be used (e.g., detecting fraud, creating efficiencies, tailoring products), bankers are also trying to understand the regulation and oversight of these tools. First of all, according to the Financial Stability Board, AI is defined as...
01/07/2021 - Three Ways To Manage 2021 Lending Challenges
On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary became the first person to reach the 29,035 feet summit of Mt. Everest and return back home. Similarly, there are many lenders that are waiting to return back to a sense of “normalcy” after climbing the heights of the coronavirus. The lending industry has been in flux as the pandemic has created a number of lending opportunities as well as challenges. Bottom line: most community financial institutions (CFIs) need to book more loans, as deposit-taking far outstripped loan originations last year throughout the industry. According to the FDIC, total bank deposits increased 22.3% in the...
01/06/2021 - Four Banking Technology Spending Trends In 2021
In his 2000 book, “The Tipping Point,“ Malcolm Gladwell describes a tipping point as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.” The pandemic may well have created a tipping point in banking technologies.The coronavirus pandemic fundamentally changed certain aspects of banking and made digital engagement an even bigger priority for many FIs. Even post-pandemic, FIs will likely focus on making their operations more efficient, effective, and seamless. To that end, here are a few areas where FIs are likely to focus their technology dollars this year.Digital upgrades in the branch. A recent global survey from Deloitte shows...
01/05/2021 - Your Data Privacy Program Can Be A Competitive Tool
Amazingly, in 2020, people were creating 1.7MB of data every second. With all that data, data privacy has become more important than ever.Because of that, community financial institutions (CFIs) work hard to maintain their data privacy policies. If approached the right way, it can not only protect your customers, but also provide your institution with a way to deepen relationships by tailoring services. According to a recent Deloitte report, "Redesigning Customer Privacy Programs to Enable Value Exchange," managing data privacy can actually be an effective way for organizations to differentiate themselves from their competitors. With the right privacy policy, your customers...
01/04/2021 - Top 5 Areas Of Regulatory Focus For 2021
According to one source, there are a million bubbles in a champagne flute. That sounds like a lot. But, if that is true, many of us have had our fill of a few million champagne bubbles to usher in a new year and a fresh start.To start off right, we wanted to bring you some regulatory areas to focus on for 2021. While this is just a partial list, we hope it will get you on the right track. COVID-19 flexibility. Regulators will likely continue to give leeway for underwriting decisions on loans to struggling businesses that were thriving before...

December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

05/01/2018 - A Taste For C&I

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

06/01/2017 - Re-envisioned Branches

May 2017

April 2017