BID® Daily Newsletter Archives

December 2022

This year has seen record inflation, ongoing interest rate hikes, and economic recovery, followed by anxiety over a possible recession. In this first installment of our three-part review of 2022, we look at this turbulent market and how it has impacted lending.
According to an analysis done by the Financial Brand, half the banks that exist today will disappear during the next 20Ys, leaving fewer than 2K banks in the US by 2042. Small banks will be particularly hit hard. We discuss what CFIs can do to help ensure that they are among the ranks of the survivors.
The concept of cold calling has fallen out of favor. But there is a way to use the phone for sales prospecting that may be more acceptable. It is called “warm calling,” and it could help your CFI generate new sales and profits.
Cyber criminals lurk in a murky digital netherworld just beyond a CFI’s security wall. Knowing how to monitor those cyber spaces can help protect against breaches. We discuss a few growing cyber threats as well as strategies to enhance your CFI’s digital protection to prevent potential attacks.

November 2022

11/30/2022 - Where to Find Your First Embedded Banking Partner (Part 2 of 2)
Embedded banking allows CFIs to provide financial products and services through non-bank, third-party partners such as retailers and service providers. In this second part of our embedded banking series, we explore ideas of how CFIs might partner with non-bank organizations to offer embedded banking services. We also address some of the legal, compliance and technology challenges associated with launching embedded banking.
11/29/2022 - Embedded Banking: A Potential Growth Avenue (Part 1 of 2)
Embedded banking could help CFIs expand into new markets, acquire new customers, and increase deposits. While there is huge potential for embedded banking, some CFIs are hesitant to give it a try due to perceived complexity and high cost. In the first of a two-part series, we discuss benefits and trends related to embedded banking.
11/28/2022 - Partnerships May Be Key to Affordable 401(k) Offerings for SMEs
As SMEs seek to attract and retain employees by offering enhanced benefits such as 401(k) plans, financial institutions predict major growth in this business line. Some CFIs have already begun partnering with retirement service providers to put together affordable and streamlined offerings.
11/25/2022 - Six Ways to Make Month-End Close More Efficient
An understaffed or overburdened back-office accounting team means the month-end close can drag on for days or weeks. We provide you with six effective strategies that can help CFIs save time on month-end activities.
11/23/2022 - Small Business Digitization Leads to International Payment Needs
The pandemic caused many smaller companies to adopt digital technologies that expanded their ability to reach customers across the US and in other nations. Many of the companies say that cross-border commerce is a way to grow businesses and keep up with the competition. As a result, CFIs with international payment solutions may have opportunities to strengthen relationships, add new customers, and grow fee income.
11/22/2022 - Pros and Cons of Basing Early-Stage SBA Loans on Gross Income
Borrowing a page from the Paycheck Protection Program, some banks have begun offering microloans to early-stage businesses based on their gross income. We consider the pluses and minuses of this underwriting method.
11/21/2022 - The Cybersecurity Risks of Remote Work
Hybrid work arrangements are here to stay. Given this reality, CFIs should be aware of the cybersecurity risks created when people work from home and how to protect against them.
11/18/2022 - The Importance of Fairness Testing on Artificial Intelligence
As financial institutions increasingly rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning to determine lending worthiness, fairness testing software is becoming an important component in verifying that the algorithms lenders are relying on don’t have their own biases built in.
11/17/2022 - Unique Benefits to Enhance Recruiting and Retention
Employee benefits are constantly changing as the things that people want from their employers change. Bolstering traditional benefit offerings with some of the newer trending benefits can help CFIs and other organizations attract and hold on to key employees in a difficult hiring environment.
11/16/2022 - How the Housing Market Slowdown Could Impact CFIs
Following yet another interest rate hike, economists are predicting that the housing market will not only continue to slow, but will hit a major downturn in 2023. We discuss how CFIs can pivot and demonstrate their value to potential borrowers, when it occurs.
11/15/2022 - Choosing the Right Electronic Bill Payment Platform
Businesses and consumers prefer the convenience of electronic payment methods. So, an electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) platform is helpful for CFIs to retain customers, compete for new clients, and stay viable. Not all EBPP platforms are alike, so we discuss how to choose the one that benefits your institution the most.
11/14/2022 - Why Branding and Marketing Should Be Approached Differently
Branding and marketing overlap, but approaching them as one and the same is likely to prove ineffective and fall short with customers. Successful marketing requires first establishing a brand that resonates with customers’ experiences and values.
11/10/2022 - Password-Less Authentication Offers Safety and Convenience
A recent survey indicates that 89% of IT security leaders at financial services firms think authentication systems that use biometrics, push notifications, and other alternatives are more secure than passwords. Though CFIs will have challenges implementing password-free systems, the reward could be safer data and better customer satisfaction.
11/09/2022 - CFI Priorities: Growing Loans and Increasing Tech Spending
CFIs say their top strategic goal is growing loans. They also say they plan to increase tech spending. Targeting more of that increased tech spending on products demanded by small businesses can help advance loan growth.
11/08/2022 - Why Businesses Still Use Paper Checks
Understanding why paper checks are still a popular way of paying business invoices can help CFIs assist their customers in making the transition to electronic payments. We discuss the reasons businesses still use paper checks for B2B payments and the benefits of switching to EFT.
11/07/2022 - Is It Time to Join the BNPL Bandwagon?
BNPL has become increasingly popular and is expected to grow in the years to come. The market, currently dominated by fintechs, is ripe for regulation, opening the door for traditional financial institutions. CFIs may want to react quickly to this latest disruptor. We discuss the key considerations for CFIs entering this space.
11/04/2022 - Is a Hard-to-Navigate Website Costing You Opportunities?
Continuous reviews of your website’s user-friendliness can be the difference between a positive customer experience and a lost opportunity. A study by Forrester concludes that a well-designed and easily navigated website can increase your conversion rate — the rate at which visitors take actions, like submitting a contact form, that directly solicit your services on your site — by up to 400%.
11/03/2022 - Skills-Based Hiring Can Improve Diversity and Performance
When employers have four-year college degree requirements for open positions, they exclude more than 60% of the working population. By focusing on the skills required to perform a job rather than on applicants’ education and credentials, employers may be able to improve diversity and performance while filling open positions.
11/02/2022 - Money Management Tips for Small Business Customers
Money management and forecasting are top concerns for small businesses. CFIs can help small business customers deal with those issues by offering regular feedback and suggestions for improvement, thus helping avert more serious problems later.
11/01/2022 - A Handy Guide to Dealing with CFIs’ Top Risks
While there is no shortage of risks that CFIs face, one way to enhance your risk management strategy might be in reshaping your board of directors. We give you tips on how to strengthen your board and reexamine the way the group approaches risk.

October 2022

10/31/2022 - The Newest Ford Model: A State Chartered Bank
The bid by Ford to gain approval from the FDIC for an industrial bank is the latest attempt by a major company to gain a state banking charter. Smaller banks are wary, while other large corporations like Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot are no doubt watching closely.
10/28/2022 - State of the European Payment Initiative
The European Payments Initiative is moving forward and is poised to change the global banking landscape if it is successful. We discuss what those changes look like and how they could affect US financial institutions.
10/27/2022 - Keeping Up with the Mobile Banking Crowd
Mobile banking use increased dramatically during the pandemic and its growth is projected to continue for years to come. CFIs need to respond to the evolving mobile needs and wants of customers and small businesses. We cover current trends in mobile banking that customers are looking for.
10/26/2022 - Guidance for Engaging in a Responsible Fintech Partnership
Fintechs — once viewed as an existential threat to community financial institutions — are now increasingly seen as offering institutions an opportunity to innovate and thrive. However, fintech partnerships carry risks and the regulators are watching closely. We summarize six key areas from the latest due diligence guidance to ensure a successful and responsible partnership.
10/25/2022 - Starting an Effective Referral Program for Your CFI
Referral marketing is one of the most affordable and effective marketing strategies, but not all referral programs are created equal. We cover what CFIs should know about these programs, including examples to inspire you and six tips to improve your referral program.
10/24/2022 - Is Voice Banking the Next Must-Have for CFIs?
With voice technology gaining in popularity, there are signs that voice banking may be catching on. Many financial institutions are investing in this area, providing further choice for consumers to access banking services. We give you an overview of the voice banking space and three considerations on how CFIs could approach this emerging channel.
10/21/2022 - Helping Small Businesses Detect and Prevent Fraud
Organizations with fewer than 100 people account for 22% of all fraud cases and a median loss of $150K. Preventing financial fraud is easier when small business owners and employees know how to spot signs of trouble. CFIs can help their commercial customers by educating them about fraud — we provide several fraud-prevention steps for you to share.
10/20/2022 - Six Strategies to Navigate Credit Stress
Between inflation and higher interest rates, businesses need to charge more for goods and services, while also worrying that they’ll lose price-sensitive customers. As a result, CFIs are likely to see increased credit stress soon. We discuss six strategies CFIs can use to manage credit risk challenges in a volatile environment.
10/19/2022 - The Tech Giant That Wants to Launch a Bank
Apple is launching even more financial services features within its Apple Wallet. The tech giant is on its way to becoming a fintech, or possibly one day an actual bank. Industry insiders have varying opinions on why that is, along with what it could mean for the banking industry.
10/18/2022 - A Strong Dollar Hurts US Companies’ Overseas Business
The US dollar is at parity with the euro for the first time in 20Ys, and up against numerous other foreign currencies. That’s not necessarily a good thing for companies that do business overseas. American goods are more expensive, and the dollar’s strength deflates the value of funds earned overseas. We discuss ways you can support your commercial customers who have international business ventures.
10/17/2022 - Untapped Markets Right in Your Backyard
Underappreciated or undiscovered industry or customer niches can be areas of expansion for CFIs. Here are two banks that are hoping to grow by responding and catering to the specific business needs in their own communities.
10/14/2022 - How to Get Your Website to Boost Your Sales Leads
When potential customers search for financial services online, where does your brand show up on the results page? Whether your brand comes up first or twenty-seventh, it’s important to stay up to date on what determines this ranking and make changes to your site accordingly. We’ve compiled a list of tips for enhancing your website with original, compelling content, as well as practices you should avoid.
10/13/2022 - Risk Management for Swaps & Derivatives
Financial institutions are turning to interest rate swaps and other derivatives to hedge against rising interest rates and to offer customers greater flexibility when structuring loans. As customers try to fix borrowing costs amid rising interest rates, swaps are something your CFI might want to consider.
10/12/2022 - Unique Strategies to Overcome Cybersecurity Talent Shortages
The financial sector is facing a debilitating cybersecurity talent shortage. In a proactive response, many companies are broadening candidate pipelines and cultivating talent on their own terms. We dive into several examples of unconventional, yet practical, talent sourcing methods.
10/11/2022 - Make Your Mobile Banking App Into a Swiss Army Knife
How many features should a mobile banking app contain? According to one survey, the sky’s the limit — provided the app remains easy to use. We delve into the seven must-have features that customers are seeking, as well as five additional features to help your institution’s app stand out.
10/07/2022 - Employee Financial Wellness Affects Your Bottom Line
When employees are financially stressed, their productivity may fall while absenteeism and turnover rates rise. A recent workplace survey found that most employees in the United States are feeling financial pressure. Introducing financial wellness tools and resources in the workplace can help reduce employee financial stress and deliver tangible gains in focus and productivity.
10/06/2022 - Carbon Calculators: Good for Customers and the Planet
Financial institutions are increasingly using carbon calculators and other carbon footprint features to help customers better understand the environmental impact of their purchases and behave more sustainably. We provide an overview of these technologies and look at some of the benefits they offer CFIs.
10/05/2022 - Harnessing the Power of Your Data Through Analytics
Data analytics offer community financial institutions an opportunity to increase customer engagement, improve profitability, and grow revenue. We take a look at some of the analytics capabilities that can deliver on this promise and give you some tips on how to build them.
10/04/2022 - Today’s Unpredictable Economy Creates a Teachable Moment
With inflation high and credit use rising, your customers may be more open to learning about sound financial practices. Community financial institutions can capitalize on these teachable moments by offering financial wellness education through an app, in a virtual classroom, or in-person.
10/03/2022 - Information-Sharing Networks Identify Financial Crimes Faster
As the amount of online fraud continues to rise, there is mounting evidence that information-sharing initiatives around the world could provide a glimpse into the future of how financial institutions can most effectively identify and combat cybersecurity attacks.

September 2022

09/30/2022 - Keep Your Eye on AI in Your Hiring Process
AI can help you handle your CFI’s hiring process by efficiently finding qualified job candidates. Keep in mind, though, that it learns what you teach it. Plan to check AI’s results regularly, respond personally to the candidates you interview, and keep the data AI gathers secure.
09/29/2022 - The Gap Between Tech Enthusiasm and Actual Customer Use
A recent study by McKinsey found that bank customers voiced overwhelming support for digital transformation, with three of four saying they would be willing to try digital account opening. But only 15% said they had actually opened an account digitally. What accounts for this difference between thoughts and actions, and how can CFIs bridge the gap?
09/28/2022 - Planning an Effective Executive Retreat
Following two years of remote and hybrid work, executive retreats are more important than ever as a way of creating unity among leadership and identifying collective goals. But creating an effective executive retreat necessitates more than just gathering people together for a few days and requires looking at such gatherings in a whole new way.
09/27/2022 - Leveraging Customer Data to Increase Profitability
CFIs would do well to collect and analyze data on customer behaviors and spending habits — not only from their own systems, but also online portals and apps, as well as their partners’ APIs in an open banking model. We discuss some opportunities.
09/26/2022 - Using CTV Advertising to Micro-Target Consumers
Connected TV (CTV) is rapidly becoming the medium of choice for a growing number of consumers — a shift that provides CFIs a cheaper and more effective way of marketing. We dive into why CTV is so effective and what to keep in mind, if you want in on the trend.
09/23/2022 - Gen Z’s Thirst for Financial Education
Personal finance and financial health is top of mind for both Gen Zers and their parents. We look at some of the ways in which Gen Z learns about finances — and how CFIs can provide the financial education and advice that these customers want.
09/22/2022 - Keeping the “Community” in Banking During Digitization
Digitization is a critical component in CFIs’ efforts to remain competitive with fintechs and their largest peers, but the personalization of smaller banks is their most valuable asset. We explore how to reconcile these seemingly competing forces to achieve a digital experience that works for your customers and your CFI.
09/21/2022 - Preparing Small Businesses for Universal Retirement
Universal retirement benefit plans are on the horizon for many states in the US, with proposed congressional legislation meaning potentially big changes for small business customers. CFIs can aid those small business customers with preemptive educational offerings to help prepare them for what’s to come.
09/20/2022 - Managing CRE Exposure in an Uncertain Market
After two years of post-pandemic recovery in the CRE market, there are signs of a cooling off, driven by rising rates and fears of a recession. This leaves leading financial institutions with high CRE concentrations exposed and subject to greater scrutiny by regulators. We provide four strategies to manage CRE in this current market uncertainty.
09/19/2022 - CFIs are Taking a Bite Out of Apple Pay’s Dominance
An Iowa credit union has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple over features built into its phones that limit the payment options people can use outside of Apple Pay. We detail how the lawsuit could impact other big tech companies entering the payment space and the overall banking industry.
09/16/2022 - Risk-Based Pricing Can Boost Profitability
CFIs can lower their exposure while boosting their profitability by pricing commercial loans commensurate with the borrower’s risk. We delve into the details of a risk-based pricing model.
09/15/2022 - Making More by Spending More
Top-performing financial institutions had higher expenses last year, but also higher revenues and profit, as well as more loan growth. While their frugal peers may have been better at holding down costs, the higher performers got more bang for their buck.
09/14/2022 - Ways to Respond to Rising Interest Rates
Financial institutions enjoyed client deposit surges through the end of last year, but extreme rate hikes from the Fed may change that. As CFIs feel pressure to raise their rates on deposits to keep customers, it’s important to consider what other strategies CFIs can deploy to retain deposit levels and client relationships.
09/13/2022 - Marketing Isn’t “One Size Fits All”
Every CFI wants to attract new customers, and many have a marketing plan in place to help them accomplish this. The only problem is that CFIs don’t need just one marketing plan. They need multiple marketing plans to help them attract the different demographics within their customer bases. We explain how to develop customer segments and market to each one.
09/12/2022 - Educating Customers on the Risks of Gaming Platforms
Online gaming platforms have become extremely popular in recent years, with 76% of children under 18 playing regularly and connecting their parents’ credit cards and bank cards to their gaming accounts. Financial education about the risks of online gaming payments can add value for young and older customers alike.
09/09/2022 - Self-Service Banking Is Here to Stay
Pandemic shutdowns accelerated the adoption of self-service technologies. Now, more and more customers at CFIs expect such services in both digital channels and inside branches. We explore some of the most popular DIY technologies.
09/08/2022 - Spoofers Target CFI Customers
A June 2022 report from Allure Security, a cybersecurity firm that specializes in protecting financial institutions, says that about 20% of CFI’s are the targets of website impersonation attacks. Rather than simply assume that website impersonation attacks are something that happens to larger banks, CFIs should be proactive about protecting themselves and their customers from this kind of fraud. We explore a few tactics to keep your CFI and your customers safe.
09/07/2022 - Can an M&A Deal Help You Compete with Big Banks? (Part 2 of 2)
Merger and acquisition activity soared last year and this business strategy could be the answer your CFI needs. Financial institutions are teaming up not only to create more scale, but also to broaden their scope as they seek ways to increase their stability in the face of challenging industry winds.
09/06/2022 - Taking Online Chat for Customer Service to the Next Level
Online chat customer engagement solutions have been expanding rapidly among banks. But when customers need to switch to a voice conversation, the transition can be frustrating if it requires closing the chat box and then dialing in to connect to an agent again. We discuss ways to take the headache out of online chat for customers and your CFI.
09/02/2022 - How to Future-Proof Your Employees with Reskilling
By 2025, more than half the world’s workforce will need to reskill, according to the World Economic Forum. Offering training opportunities and recognizing the contributions of employees are among the best ways for organizations to address skill gaps and to hold on to key talent.
09/01/2022 - Is a Subscription Model Right for Your CFI?
Could a subscription model take the place of à la carte bank fees? We explain the pluses and minuses of that business strategy, as well as different options to bring the subscription model experience to your customers.

August 2022

08/31/2022 - Trends Driving M&A Activity (Part 1 of 2)
The banking sector recently saw a strong resurgence in M&A deals, although activity is now slowing down. We look at the key drivers and trends shaping banking M&A in 2022, along with industry-specific factors including the acquisition of digital capabilities, the downward trend in net interest margins, and the ongoing blurring of the lines between fintechs and banks.
08/30/2022 - Preparing for the Possibility of Stagflation
Economists predict that global stagflation could hit before the end of 2022. Now is the time for CFIs to determine what risks stagflation could create for their organizations and identify steps to minimize any negative impact. We offer three actions to consider as the potential of stagflation looms large.
08/29/2022 - Thanks to Investors, the Mortgage Business Is Shrinking
The US housing market has been red-hot for a good while. However, overvalued home prices, rising interest rates, and the growing number of home purchases by private equity firms mean that, for many financial institutions, the traditional mortgage business is shrinking. CFIs that want to compete in this space should market specifically to traditional homebuyers, and all CFIs should be aware of how this will impact the makeup of the communities they serve.
08/26/2022 - To Retain New Hires, Focus on an Employee’s First 90 Days
For CFIs struggling to compete for talent in the tight labor market, retention of new hires is especially important. Paying close attention to the first 90 days on the job can help improve retention rates, because those who stay at least that long are more likely to remain on the job.
08/25/2022 - The Risks of Monitoring Employees & How to Do It Right
Many employers are considering monitoring employees to ease their fears of security risks, compliance violations, and lower productivity. While the goal of monitoring employees is to create greater accountability, the practice of monitoring can actually have an entirely opposite effect. We explore how technology is used to monitor employees, the potential pitfalls, and tips for making it a positive experience for both you and your employees, if you do implement it.
08/24/2022 - Can a Back-to-Basics Sales Approach Help You Gain SME Loans?
In the competitive small business lending market, a clear understanding of business owner needs can go a long way to drive an institution’s loan portfolio growth. Gaining that edge takes hard work and sophisticated data mining. Here are four steps to make your SME loan strategy more holistic, ultimately resulting in increased revenue.
08/23/2022 - How to Empower Women to Start Investing
The majority of women expect to be solely responsible for their own finances at some point in their life and a large number are stressed about money. Yet, a lack of knowledge and concerns about risk are major barriers that keep women from making financial preparations. We look at how and why CFIs should tailor products, services, and marketing to women’s unique needs.
08/22/2022 - Driving Value Through Internet of Things Technology
The Internet of Things (IoT) is driving innovation in the financial services industry. There is potential for CFIs to use IoT technology to enhance the customer journey and grow their business. We look at these opportunities and give three tips to consider for successful deployment.
08/19/2022 - Loans as an Employee Benefit Boost DEI Recruiting Efforts
With one-third of the country unable to secure traditional lending, some employers have begun adding loans for employees with adequate income but low credit scores to their benefit offerings. This allows employees to borrow funds and rebuild credit responsibly, while avoiding fees from siphoning off retirement savings.
08/18/2022 - Retaining Customers as Rates Move Higher
The next great boom in refinancing probably won’t be in mortgages. Instead, it will likely be in CDs and other deposits, which are vulnerable to customers who decide to pay penalties and reinvest at higher interest rates. A rising-rate environment is also a potentially fruitful hunting ground for fintechs, neobanks, and other startups to lure deposits away from traditional financial providers. CFIs should consider these three strategies to help hold their best customers and stress test their businesses for CD and deposit losses.
08/17/2022 - How CFIs Can Maintain Adequate Capital in a Downturn
The Federal Reserve just concluded its annual capital adequacy annual stress test with 33 participating banks. While regulators don’t require CFIs to run stress tests to assess their capital adequacy, the federal banking supervisory agencies indicate that they should have the capacity to analyze the potential impact of adverse outcomes, and particularly encourage this for CFIs with CRE portfolios. We provide four steps to help form the foundation of an effective capital planning process.
08/16/2022 - Small & Mighty — the Value of Microcasts
As the world’s attention span increasingly diminishes, microcasts — mini-podcasts — have become a popular and effective way of marketing to customers . These short audio segments can drive your SEO rankings and social media following while helping establish your CFI as an industry expert.
08/15/2022 - Digital Transformation Lessons from Early Adopters
Many community financial institutions are not yet seeing strong returns on their digital transformation investments. As most are still undergoing a transformation, it’s not too late to rethink your strategy and incorporate some of the lessons from the early adopters.
08/12/2022 - Can Playing Games at Work Make You More Engaged?
Community financial institutions (CFIs) can increase the engagement of both customers and employees through gamification — rewarding people for completing educational training or tasks via “games.” The results can significantly boost the bottom line as well. We take a look at some examples of gamification strategies CFIs are using to attract and engage new customers and employees.
08/11/2022 - Attracting Women Back to the Work World (Part 2 of 2)
Roughly half of working mothers will scale back their careers for family at some point, or will leave their jobs entirely. As organizations scramble to plug expertise gaps amidst a dearth of qualified candidates, many are turning to “returnships” as a way to coax mothers back into the workforce and to get them up to speed on technological advancements that occurred during their absence.
08/10/2022 - Fed ISO 20022: Key Deadlines for 2022 & Beyond
The Federal Reserve has revealed the final timeline for its ISO 20022 standards, a new global messaging standard for financial transactions, which will now be implemented on a single day. As countries around the world embrace the protocol, cryptocurrencies are among some of the earliest adopters. We provide info on compliance deadlines and what steps your CFI may need to take to stay competitive.
08/09/2022 - Small Business Sentiment on Borrowing
Small business owners are more pessimistic about the economy than they have been in nearly half a century, according to a new survey. But they remain somewhat optimistic about their own future. In this muddied outlook, CFIs need to move cautiously in how they work with small business borrowers.
08/08/2022 - Career Relaunch Programs Can Be Beneficial (Part 1 of 2)
Workers who took extended time off to focus on caregiving or other concerns may now be looking to restart careers. These returning workers are very often women, and a relaunch program can help attract them to banks. This allows institutions to fill vacant positions, while also advancing gender equity in upper management in the financial industry.
08/05/2022 - Hobbyists Are Pricing Out Some Farmers and Ranchers
The boom of hobby farmers is driving up rural real estate prices and driving traditional farms out of the market. With aesthetically attractive farms being the most in demand, here are the best ways to advise traditional farmers and ranchers so they can find viable, affordable land.
08/04/2022 - Designing Branches in the Post-Pandemic Era
The pandemic may have driven more people to digital banking channels, but CFIs shouldn’t go overboard overhauling all of their branches to strip away essentials — particularly human staff. Branch design going forward should be a mix of styles, depending on customer makeup and geography, with a “hub and spoke” approach that is flexible to accommodate changing characteristics.
08/03/2022 - Local School Partnerships Can Mean Future Customers & Employees
CFIs can help students gain financial literacy through partnerships with nearby school districts. They team up with high schools to develop classes in banking and personal finance and even operate in-house “banks” in schools, which increases awareness and loyalty with the next generation of accountholders and workers. We feature some noteworthy examples.
08/02/2022 - Increasing Shareholder Value in Today’s Economic Environment
Banks should be benefiting from the interest rate increase, but bank stock prices aren’t following the trend. There are actually many other factors that impact bank stock prices that are keeping current share prices down. Here are the root causes of the current prices and what CFIs can do to turn the market in their favor as rates continue to rise.
08/01/2022 - Successfully Expanding PPP Relationships
CFIs have been successful in expanding relationships with small business owners who came to the institution during the pandemic for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. Indeed, some PPP borrowers even moved their entire banking relationship over to the CFI. We look at some of the ways CFIs have been able to deepen those relationships.

July 2022

07/29/2022 - Predictive Analytics Help Personalize Customer Relationships
According to a recent report from McKinsey & Co., 71% of customers expect companies to personalize their interactions. Community Financial Institutions (CFIs) have traditionally delivered personalized experiences through their customer interactions and building strong relationships. But now, it’s vital to aggregate, integrate, and analyze customer data in ways that let CFIs anticipate and predict future needs.
07/28/2022 - Inverted Yield Curve May Bring Hedging Opportunity
This past spring, the US bond market flashed a key recession warning with the yield curve briefly inverted and short-term debt paying more than longer-term loans. No one can know for sure when the next economic recession will begin, but CFIs may be able to take advantage of two potential opportunities that the inverted yield curve offers.
07/27/2022 - Automating the Back Office is Critical, Too
Don't just automate tasks to make your customers' lives easier — automate your institution’s back-office operations as well. Not only will you create more efficiencies, reduce errors and save costs, but you will also free up your employees for higher-level tasks. You can also better coordinate with the sophisticated automated solutions you’re offering to customers. We delve further and offer three tips to get you started.
07/26/2022 - Why Cloud Computing Adoption is Sky High
Eighty percent of financial institutions plan to move away from mainframes and embrace cloud computing within the next two to five years. From lower costs to greater capabilities, the switch to cloud computing is something CFIs can no longer ignore or leave on the back burner.
07/25/2022 - Should Your Institution be Prepared for Foreclosure Déjà vu?
As mortgage foreclosures begin to inch up and federal foreclosure moratoriums draw to a close, financial institutions should prepare themselves for a worst-case scenario. It’s unlikely that the bursting of the current real estate bubble will play out the way things did when the last couple of real estate bubbles burst. Should a worst-case scenario emerge, CFIs should be prepared to show regulators they took adequate precautions.
07/22/2022 - Lower-Pain Core Conversions
CFIs' relationships with their core providers tend to last for decades, if only because a change is such a hassle. If you do need to make a core conversion, however, here’s how to do it with the least possible pain.
07/21/2022 - Build an Effective Board by Following Best Practices
Boards of directors have essential monitoring and advisory responsibilities that affect their organizations’ performance. In an ideal world, a corporate board would have a strong culture and contribute to the success of the organization. A recent survey of smaller banks found that less than half of their boards met that standard.
07/20/2022 - Key Credit Risk Challenges for the Year Ahead (Part 2 of 2)
In this second part of our summary of the FDIC 2022 Risk Review, we take a closer look at the FDIC’s findings on potential credit risks for the banking industry and community financial institutions. While credit conditions for banks have improved in 2021, we examine the increased credit risk in certain sectors and markets linked to pandemic-related challenges, rising inflation and the war in Ukraine.
07/19/2022 - What the Lingering Chip Shortage Means for CFIs
The global microchip shortage is now anticipated to continue longer than expected, possibly throughout 2024. This translates into community financial institutions feeling the impact of this shortage in bank card and credit cards.
07/18/2022 - Identifying Customer Attrition
CFIs can’t rely on inertia to keep their customers. It can cost around $300 to acquire a single customer. By paying attention to the reasons that clients switch providers, you can help ensure that attrition doesn’t erode your customer base. We explore the key reasons that customers leave their banking institutions.
07/15/2022 - Combatting Burnout Among Female Employees
Despite hybrid work arrangements, 53% of women are burned out and considering leaving their jobs within the next two years. Retaining female employees within your organization may mean revisiting how your organization approaches hybrid work.
07/14/2022 - Partnering with Neobanks — Yes or No?
CFIs can grow loans, deposits and non-interest income through partnerships with neobanks. It's a potentially smart partnership, but one that CFIs should consider carefully before cementing. We give you some ideas to consider before deciding to partner with a neobank and how to increase the chances that this new relationship will thrive.
07/13/2022 - Emerging Risks for the Banking Industry (Part 1 of 2)
The FDIC recently published its 2022 Risk Review. We summarize some of the report highlights relating to market, operational, and climate-related risks emerging within the banking industry, and discuss their potential impact on community financial institutions.
07/12/2022 - Serious Hack-Attack-You Have 36 Hours to Report It
CFIs and other banks now have 36 hours to report serious hacks, including those that may disrupt operations, cause material losses or even threaten the stability of the entire financial system. Is 36 hours enough time for CFIs?
07/11/2022 - Capturing Client Attention in the Blink of an Eye
Consumers have very short attention spans. According to one consultant, a marketing pitch has a dauntingly short window in which to connect to an audience – literally, the blink of an eye. CFIs that have a good “blink factor” stand a better chance of capturing interest. We offer you a quick cheat sheet.
07/08/2022 - Focus on the All-Important “Why” in Staff Training
When training staff on an institution’s procedures, it’s critical to go beyond the what, when and how – to really get employee buy-in. Community financial institutions must also explain the “why.” We delve further.
07/07/2022 - The Big Picture on Synthetic Image Fraud
Synthetic images have become so sophisticated that people and facial recognition systems are no longer able to tell the difference between AI-generated faces and real ones.
07/06/2022 - Is CHUCK the P2P Answer for Community Financial Institutions?
Zelle’s dominance and cost spurred the development of an alternate payment system designed for CFIs, called CHUCK. The question is, will its open architecture be enough to woo users and secure a place in the competitive P2P payment realm? We take a look at what CHUCK is and its place in the P2P world.
07/05/2022 - Talking Your Way to Profits
High-quality conversations between employees and customers can be very beneficial for the bottom lines of community financial institutions. According to Gallup, effective conversations initiated by employees are four times more likely to result in sales. We provide three tips to achieve better customer engagement.
07/01/2022 - Boost Earnings with New Lines of Business
In the current low-rate environment, almost one in five community financial institutions plan to add new lines of business to boost earnings, alongside leveraging their existing business. Here we look at six potential revenue streams that CFIs may want to explore.

June 2022

06/30/2022 - Commercial Loan Demand Picking Up Steam
Demand for commercial lending is heating up. CFIs have an opportunity to expand into new markets, add talented lenders, launch new niches, and team up for bigger deals – all while maintaining stellar credit quality. We delve into the details.
06/29/2022 - How Paid Social Media Can Pay Off
With social media platforms constantly altering their algorithms, CFIs can find true value moving beyond free content on social media channels. To boost your brand recognition, consider developing a budget for social media advertising. We will share a few things to consider to help navigate and execute more effective social media that reaches your target groups.
06/28/2022 - Should Your Bank Invest in Fintech-focused Private Equity?
Partnerships between CFIs and fintechs are an increasingly important part of any CFI’s business model. However popular, it’s not a given that fintech-directed private equity is a good fit for every CFI. We provide you with some things to consider before you decide to invest.
06/27/2022 - Adapting Loyalty Programs in a Shifting Customer Landscape
The $200B loyalty program market has long been shown to drive business for merchants and financial institutions. However, around $16B in loyalty points are unredeemed each year, suggesting this approach to retaining customers may need change. We suggest seven ways in which CFIs can adapt their loyalty programs to retain retail customers — as well as help boost merchant customer business.
06/24/2022 - How to Manage Understaffed Teams Effectively
As organizations continue to grapple with soaring job resignations and insufficient staffing, doing more with less has become the norm. Managing understaffed teams more effectively is important not only for enhancing productivity, but for keeping key employees from jumping ship.
06/23/2022 - Four Strategies to Attract Small Business Customers
There are 32.5MM small businesses in the US, generating 44% of economic activity — an attractive opportunity for financial service providers of all sizes. CFIs have a strong connection with small business customers and could leverage their understanding of the customers’ unique needs in order to create compelling propositions for them. We give you four strategies to help get you off to a good start.
06/22/2022 - Frictionless Authentication is the Key to Personalization
It’s a common problem. Customers want personalized service, but are reluctant to share their personal data to power that. A smooth authentication process, as the first point of contact between a CFI and a customer, can help build the trust that customers need to forge a new or ongoing banking relationship, and offer CFIs access to their information.
06/21/2022 - Potential Clouds on the Horizon for Office Loans
The outlook for office loans is less than rosy. The US is set to have a glut of office space for a number of reasons, not the least of which is increased utilization of remote workers. For CFIs starting to experience stress in their office loan portfolio, we share several ways to mitigate potential problems.
06/17/2022 - What It Takes to Be a Top-Performing CFI
Key ingredients make a top-performing CFI. We share a number of them, from finding lucrative lending niches and additional sources of income, to maintaining a lean outfit and nurturing your most valuable asset: your talent.
06/16/2022 - Looking to the Past for Lessons on Weathering a Recession
Economists predict that a recession is on the horizon. Given the difficulties that many CFIs experienced during the last recession, now is the perfect time to look at some of the tactics used by those that prevailed in the last recession.
06/15/2022 - Documenting Conversations Over Multiple Communication Platforms
In addition to email and telephone, businesses began using video conferencing and instant messaging at high volumes, as a result of the pandemic. Fast-forward to today and financial institutions are faced with the problem of adequately documenting employee communications across all of these channels. To begin addressing the problem, it’s important to understand the challenges that these platforms present and how to solve it.
06/14/2022 - Outsourcing Talent in an Instacart World
In the wake of the ongoing talent shortage across the country, outsourcing has become increasingly popular as companies struggle to find qualified candidates. In 2020 alone, nearly 70% of businesses turned to outsourcing. Though outsourcing may not be for everyone, the changing nature of work has made it a more appealing option that CFIs may want to consider — we go into detail.
06/13/2022 - Strengthening Small Business Customer Relationships
CFI’s are exceptional at attracting new business. But according to a recent J.D. Power study, there is still room to improve in maintaining those customer relationships after they’ve been onboarded. We provide 3 tips for your institution to consider to help foster those relationships from the beginning.
06/10/2022 - Accident Ahead – Insufficient Security Leads to IVR Fraud
Many financial institutions rely on interactive voice response to provide customers secure access to information about their accounts. While extremely efficient for customer service, insufficient security measures can also make them a gateway for fraud. We highlight several areas that bankers should be aware of regarding IVR fraud.
06/09/2022 - The Emerging Crypto Lending Landscape
As adoption of cryptocurrencies grows, cryptofinance and crypto lending are extending their reach and proving alluring to some borrowers and lenders alike. We give you an overview of this developing trend — certainly one for community financial institutions to watch.
06/08/2022 - Creating a Green Niche to Bank On
When CFIs create “green niches” that support fast-growing companies with environmental-friendly business models, it can prove to be quite profitable. Then add the bonus of delighting investors and satisfying regulators, well then, the trifecta can bring great dividends indeed. We share several ways that your institution can create a green niche through real industry examples.
06/07/2022 - Grow Your Customer Base Through Community-Focused Initiatives
CFIs are well-positioned to understand what is important to the communities they serve. By focusing on initiatives that are important to those communities, CFIs build strong relationships, grow loyal customer bases, and amplify the voices of those they serve. We provide three examples of how CFIs can do just that.
06/06/2022 - Six Strategies to Bolster Your Cybersecurity
According to the 2021 CSBS National Survey of Community Banks, cybersecurity risks remain the leading operational concern for community financial institutions. Here we look at six strategies institutions could deploy to contain the threat, protect their data and retain their customers’ trust.
06/03/2022 - Digital Dead Ends Highlight the Importance of Live Agents
CFIs that heed the call to expand digital offerings may overlook the extra pressure digital places on backup live agents. According to one study, more than half of self-service digital encounters by bank customers end in failure and wind up with a live agent.
06/02/2022 - Can Rural Banking Deserts Become Banking Opportunities For CFIs?
Mergers and branch consolidation have accelerated in recent years, leaving an increasing number of rural communities without access to bank branches. Could CFI’s turn these banking deserts into banking opportunities?
06/01/2022 - Seven Steps To Combat Meeting Fatigue
Staying connected in a hybrid work world can mean more meetings. Yet, too many meetings can burn employees out. Now is the time to evaluate how effective your meetings are and how many are needed. Here are seven steps for more effective and inclusive meetings.

May 2022

05/31/2022 - Interest Rate Swaps Help Retain Customers
Some community financial institutions may not know the benefits of interest rate swaps. Not only do they help you manage interest rate risk, but they also help you retain customers. Your customers want fixed rates, especially as rates rise. You can help them with interest rate swaps — and you gain noninterest income too. We explain how.
05/27/2022 - How Can Virtual Mentorships Help Retain Employees?
Mentorships have been around for thousands of years. But, with remote or hybrid work schedules, virtual mentorships take a little more thought and planning. Nonetheless, community financial institutions looking to keep employee turnover rates low will want to consider jump-starting these programs. We explore this topic further.
05/26/2022 - Five Strategies To Engage the Unbanked & Underbanked
According to the FDIC, there are approximately 7MM US households that remain unbanked and over 50MM that are underbanked. These groups have received more attention from regulators lately. While we know you are reaching out to them in your communities, we give you five strategies to help engage these potential customers.
05/25/2022 - Risk Mitigation Reminders for Construction Loans
Is construction ebbing or flowing? It depends. Commercial construction spending was down in March. Yet, architecture backlogs are full. Community financial institutions having construction loans in their portfolios will need to firm up risk mitigation, as they closely watch economic indicators. Here are three reminders to lower the risk with these loans in your portfolio.
05/24/2022 - Four Ways To Evolve Your Branch
Bankers know that the role of the branch and its staff has shifted and continues to evolve. With many customers accustomed to digital banking, technology is ever-more important. Yet, one in five bank customers still wants easy access to a human staff member. How can your branch support your customers’ expanding needs?
05/23/2022 - How Will Continuing Geopolitical Events Affect Ag Customers?
Many farmers have been reaping the benefits of rising commodity prices, some higher than 140% over the past 18 months. Yet, the Russian invasion of Ukraine changed the direction of the wind for many farmers. How will your agricultural customers fare through the geopolitical turmoil?
05/20/2022 - Three Ways To Generate Income
With increasing interest rates, community financial institutions stand to enlarge their net interest margin. Yet, lending competition is fierce in many areas, so it won’t always be easy. We give you three ways to generate income in the current rate environment.
05/19/2022 - Reminders to Strengthen AML and OFAC Practices
Anti-money laundering practices have been under more scrutiny as the pandemic ushered in more digital payments and cryptocurrency activity. Now, with the invasion of Ukraine, anti-money laundering measures and OFAC compliance tops regulators’ lists. Here are important risks to look out for and reminders on how to continue strengthening your practices to mitigate these risks.
05/18/2022 - The Future Power of Blockchain
Blockchain technology promises many benefits to financial institutions, as they adapt to meet changing customer and stakeholder expectations, as well as regulatory requirements. Some experts argue that, while there are still many logistical challenges to overcome, blockchain has the potential to completely revolutionize the future of finance. We look at four applications of this technology that may be advantageous to community financial institutions in the future.
05/17/2022 - Cybersecurity is High – How to Keep Fighting
Cybersecurity is a top priority these days. Cybercriminals are crafty and can find their way in. Last year, all forms of cybercrime showed an increase, resulting in $6.9B of losses. Today, we cover five forms of cybercrime that particularly stand out.
05/16/2022 - How to Please Dissatisfied Zillennial Employees
Zillennials are a micro-generation between Gen Z and millennials that have grown by five million employees in the past 5Ys, according to the US Bureau of Labor. They have also grown highly dissatisfied with their jobs. We provide highlights from a new study and guide you on how to appeal to this micro-generation.
05/13/2022 - Will Changing M&A Regulations Affect Your Strategy?
With July’s executive order to review and likely modify M&A regulations, the Federal Reserve, FDIC, and OCC are beginning to review the current process for bank mergers. While this is still in its early stages, we evaluate how this development could affect the M&A strategies of community financial institutions.
05/12/2022 - Attracting New Customers With ESG
Financial institutions are increasingly under pressure from stakeholders to demonstrate their commitment to addressing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. We look at four ways in which ESG initiatives could result in benefits for community financial institutions, such as attracting new customers, as well as contributing to a more sustainable future for their communities and beyond.
05/11/2022 - Be Prepared for Rising Rates
Bankers have long been waiting for interest rates to increase so that net interest margins would rise. Yet, there are other factors in play today, such as high inflation, labor shortages, and credit risk. We review the current rising rate landscape and provide approaches to manage through it successfully.
05/10/2022 - How Can Mobile Ads Help You Find New Customers?
Community financial institutions may not consider mobile ads when defining their advertising strategy. However, with the average American using their smartphones over four hours a day, you could have a captive audience for mobile advertising. We explore mobile ad spending, the types of mobile ads, and what kind of content to use.
05/09/2022 - Virtual Payment Cards Are Picking Up Steam
Virtual payment cards have been around for a while. But, their use is increasing. Global virtual card spending is expected to reach $355B in 2022. Businesses are finding several uses and benefits in using virtual payment cards. Community financial institutions will want to take note, so that they can be prepared to best support them.
05/06/2022 - How To Enter The Hot Mobile Home Lending Sector
Community financial institutions are looking for lending opportunities. Yet, they may not naturally think about mobile home lending as a means to grow their loan portfolio. But, this sector had a stellar performance last year. In 2021 alone, more than $3B in mobile home loans were issued, which is higher than anything experienced in this market in the past 5Ys. We explore this hot lending segment further.
05/05/2022 - How To Instill The “I” In DEI In Your Institution
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are priorities for community financial institutions. Attracting and retaining diverse talent is essential to long-term success, but fostering a culture of inclusion can be difficult and requires ongoing effort. We give you some tips on how to create an inclusive workplace to maximize employee engagement and retention.
05/04/2022 - What Does The Metaverse Mean For CFIs?
There is lots of hype around the metaverse at the moment, with various observers forecasting an $8T opportunity. While this is an evolving space and much is still unknown, we look at various potential opportunities for the financial services industry.
05/03/2022 - Hotels Are On The Upswing – But For How Long?
Hotels have seen their ups and downs in the past couple of years. Now, as consumers are flush with savings and ready to venture out again, hotels are seeing a welcomed burst of activity. This is good news for bankers supporting these businesses. Trepp’s CMBS delinquency rate for hotels sank to 6.87% in March, a decrease of 95 basis points MoM. But the real question is — will this high level of activity continue?
05/02/2022 - Managing Online Reviews Can Strengthen Customer Relationships
Online reviews are gaining importance. In fact, 79% of people trust the online reviews of strangers, as much as they do recommendations from family and friends. Community financial institutions need to actively monitor and manage their online reviews, in order to continue developing and deepening customer relationships. So, we explore how to get online reviews and manage this process.

April 2022

04/29/2022 - Need Fee Income? Try Hedging
While the yield curve is flat to inverted, community financial institutions are looking for fee income. Hedging loans for your customers provides you with upfront fee income, immediately recognized as earnings. Is this a good time to consider hedging for your institution and gain extra income? While some may feel hedging could be cumbersome, it can be easier than you think. Join us as we explore how it works.
04/28/2022 - Playing An Important Role In Spreading Financial Literacy
Financial literacy is crucial for banking customers’ financial well-being and it is an ongoing issue that community bankers are tackling head-on. Most recently, community bankers, together with state businesses and political leaders, spearheaded successful financial literacy legislation in Nebraska. We review how they did it along with the current situation in other areas to inspire other community bankers.
04/27/2022 - Return On Experience Metric Drives Financial Institution Growth
Return on Experience (ROX) is a fairly new metric for financial institutions. Yet, one survey has found it to be a powerful metric. The study found that financial institutions that grew 10% or more had stronger ROX programs than those that didn’t. We explore this new performance metric.
04/26/2022 - CRE’s Industrial Sector – Will It Stay Solid In 2022?
A full economic recovery in the various CRE sectors is crucial both for community financial institutions and their customers. The overall CRE market seems to be making a recovery after the pandemic's impact, especially the industrial sector. We highlight this sector and explore whether it will stay strong through the end of 2022.
04/25/2022 - Special Issue 4 – Community Bankers Always Make A Big Impact
During Community Banking Month, we have shared many stories of community outreach by our BID readers. From disaster recovery to financial literacy to grants and donations, community bankers make a big impact every day. With today’s last issue, we showcase their efforts in fighting homelessness and helping children.
04/22/2022 - Tap Into The Benefits Of Hedging During A Flat Yield Curve
Community financial institutions are looking for opportunities to increase income, mitigate risk, and retain customers in this current flat to inverted yield curve environment. Look no further. Hedging can provide your institution with these opportunities. We explain how.
04/21/2022 - Integrating Hybrid Work With Strong Company Culture
Hybrid working has fast become a reality, with nearly six out of 10 Americans who are able to work remotely already doing so. With the immediate technological and operational challenges largely met, community financial institutions now need to consider how to adapt recruitment, career development, and employee training to support hybrid working demands, while preserving solid company culture.
04/20/2022 - Are Checking Accounts Going To Be Extinct?
The decline of checks has been happening for years. But, with the explosion of digital payments during the pandemic, will checking accounts cease to exist? We explore this topic further and provide community financial institutions with four approaches to keep checking accounts relevant for their customers.
04/19/2022 - BIN ISO Rules Are Changing For Payment Cards – How To Prepare
The switch from 6-digit to 8-digit BINs has been in the works since 2015. But now, the first deadline is here. Community financial institutions need to check on their accounting systems to determine if they are sufficiently prepared. Here are a few items to assess the impact on your institution and communicate with customers, especially business customers.
04/18/2022 - Special Issue 3 - Community Bankers Continue Making A Big Impact
Community financial institutions affect their communities in many ways, one of which is donations. They donate their time and funds to help with programs, recognize important contributions within the community, and sustain businesses.
04/15/2022 - Embedded Compliance Controls – Should You Consider Them?
Compliance-related costs account for about 7% of noninterest costs, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. It is critical to stay compliant, but community financial institutions are also looking for ways to reduce costs. Are embedded compliance controls a way to do both?
04/14/2022 - How To Keep Championing Minority-Owned Businesses
Minority-owned businesses play an increasingly important role in the US economy, generating $1.7T in revenue and providing more than 8.9MM jobs. Yet many are still finding it tough to access finance to grow and expand. Recently, the government increased its efforts to improve the situation. Here are five efforts that community financial institutions can do to help address this challenge.
04/13/2022 - Top Five Technologies To Leverage And Stay Competitive
Faced with shifting customer expectations, new business models, and increased competition, community financial institutions are turning to technology to remain competitive. We round up five of the key trends that continue to reshape the industry and explain how your institution can use them to stay competitive.
04/12/2022 - How To Stem Dissatisfaction When Employees Leave
With the workplace upsets of the pandemic and the Great Resignation, it is important to keep your finger on the pulse of your workforce. An employee exit can disrupt more than just work responsibilities. So, we explore four areas to address when an employee leaves, in order to mitigate the spread of discontent and retain remaining employees.
04/11/2022 - Special Issue 2 - Community Bankers Keep Making A Big Impact
Community bankers help their communities every day in many ways. In article two in the Community Banking Month series, we continue to highlight some of the ways that community financial institutions are making an impact by supporting financial literacy and other educational endeavors.
04/08/2022 - Independent ATMs – Do They Provide An Opportunity?
Around $90B was withdrawn from over 200K independent ATMs across the country in 2020. As financial institutions continue to merge, close branches, and remove ATMs, these independent ATMs, found in convenience stores among others, are a lifeline to many consumers where banks have closed branches. They are also a revenue generator for many small businesses. Is this an opportunity for community financial institutions?
04/07/2022 - Microlending – Is It Worthwhile?
The Small Business Administration provided $85MM in microloans to 5,890 people in 2020. Many community financial institutions assisted in that business as intermediaries. These loans help startups and smaller businesses that might not be eligible for traditional loans. Are they worthwhile for your institution? We explore this lending sector.
04/06/2022 - Benefits Of Rehiring Boomerang Employees
Have you heard of boomerang employees? After the Great Resignation, the latest trend is boomerang employees — returning employees. LinkedIn reported that 4.5% of all new hires in 2021 were boomerang employees. Let’s explore this new source of employees and how it might benefit your institution.
04/05/2022 - Educating SMBs About Increased Cyber Risks
Cybersecurity is a constant concern. Yet, with the latest Russian cyber threats, it is becoming even more important. Your small business customers could be affected, directly and indirectly. So, we dig deeper to provide you with the current top threats and critical protective measures.
04/04/2022 - Special Issue 1 - Community Bankers Making A Big Impact
It is no surprise that community bankers are making a tremendous impact in their communities. So, today, we proudly highlight some of the efforts made during this month of Community Banking Month. We share stories of disaster aid, acts of kindness, and food drives from various institutions.
04/01/2022 - Should Surging Fertilizer Costs Worry CFIs?
As farmers enter planting season, they are faced with surging fertilizer prices. Prices are expected to increase 80% YoY, which affects 15% of their total costs. We dig deeper into what this means for farmers with different crops and how they can weather this type of hefty increase, so that you know how to best support them.

March 2022

03/31/2022 - Essential Leadership Traits In The New Hybrid World
In the post-pandemic world, community financial institutions are facing shifting customer expectations and hybrid working models. We explore the key traits that make leaders successful in this changing environment and give you some tips on how to find and nurture these leaders in your institution.
03/30/2022 - Mitigating Employee Stress For Higher Productivity
In October 2021, 74% of Americans said that stress was affecting them. Even now, there are still many people that are stressed and burned out. This has resulted in employee disengagement and lower productivity. Our Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Sonia Portwood, discussed this issue with Dr. Susan Bernstein in our podcast, Mind, Body & Banking. Here are some highlights.
03/29/2022 - Best Practices To Apply Q Factors For CECL
The deadline for CECL has not been extended and January 1, 2023, is coming up fast. Are you ready? One specific area of focus for many bankers is using Q Factors consistently. While Q Factors aren’t new, their expected application in CECL is more involved. Here are four Q Factor best practices to prepare you.
03/28/2022 - Lending Opportunities Rise In 2022
Consumer spending was up 2.1% in January, which has prompted several businesses to increase their inventory and turn to their community financial institutions for loans. What exactly is driving this need for more funds right now and how can bankers capitalize on them?
03/25/2022 - Is Selfie ID Verification Here To Stay?
Did you know that 15MM Americans experience identity theft annually? In an effort to help stem this tide, several organizations are using selfie authentication, which uses biometrics to validate a person’s identity along with other information. We outline the growth of this practice, along with consumer pushback, data privacy laws, and more.
03/24/2022 - AI To The Rescue: Solving Customer Service Staff Shortages
Many financial institutions are managing staffing shortages, due to the Great Resignation and COVID. In July, 44% of contact centers said staffing issues were an obstacle to good customer service. We explore how artificial intelligence can support your customers and relieve some pressure on your frontline staff, during these shortages.
03/23/2022 - How Your Institution Can Hedge Without SOFR
LIBOR was retired for new contracts at the end of last year. But, many community financial institutions have not started using SOFR, the recommended guidance of the Alternative Reference Rates Committee. Are you one of those institutions? Let’s explore why some institutions are hesitant to transition to SOFR and examine another replacement index option.
03/22/2022 - Evaluating Your Board’s Effectiveness For Continued Success
The board of directors plays a crucial role in steering community financial institutions and helping them shape their local economies. To ensure continuous improvement, institutions should measure their board’s effectiveness regularly. We give you some tips on how to review your board’s composition, structure, and performance, and identify opportunities for improvement.
03/21/2022 - What Does America’s Shrinking Branch Network Mean For CFIs?
A record net 2,927 US bank branches closed in 2021. Is this all bad news? We give you the important facts on branch closures and look at the impact on community financial institutions. We also share some stories of how your peers have been dealing with this trend.
03/18/2022 - Meeting The Cybersecurity Challenge With NIST’s Tool
With 58% of C-suite and senior business leaders reporting that cyberattacks increased by 10% or more in 2021 vs. 2020, cybersecurity is increasingly vital. We review the top cybersecurity concerns from the 2021 CSBS National Survey of Community Banks and share an important tool to use in protecting your institution against surging cyber risks.
03/17/2022 - Four Precautions On QR Code Fraud
The use of QR codes has skyrocketed since the pandemic. This year, one billion smartphones are expected to access QR codes globally, according to Juniper Research. This increased use has gotten the attention of cybercriminals. Here are four ways you and your customers can protect yourselves.
03/16/2022 - Payment Cards With Vertical Designs Help A Variety Of Customers
Vertically-oriented payment cards have been around since 2018. Yet, they have seen a burst of issuance since last year. Will more financial institutions use payment cards with a vertical layout? We explore which institutions are issuing them, why, and the benefits to your customers, especially those with disabilities.
03/15/2022 - The Appeal Of Text-To-Pay For Small Businesses
Ninety-five percent of text messages are read within three minutes. With consumers’ reliance on texting, it is no wonder that the latest payment option, text-to-pay, is gaining momentum. It gives users the ability to pay through a link on a text easily and quickly. Let’s see why your small business customers may start finding it attractive.
03/14/2022 - Lessons Learned From Your Peers On Customer Profitability
With interest rates set to rise in the coming months, some banking customers may be tempted to shop around for the best deals. Effective customer profitability analysis allows community financial institutions to better retain and target new customers, while increasing overall customer profitability. We share some lessons from institutions that have successfully implemented these models along with three ways to increase customer profitability.
03/11/2022 - RFID Increases Operational Efficiencies & Customer Service
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is used in retail and manufacturing, but the applications are now reaching the financial industry too. No wonder, Statista puts the RFID technology market at $26.3B in revenue for this year. We explain what RFID technology is, what it can do for community financial institutions, and also report the disadvantages.
03/10/2022 - Three Steps To Get Ready For Faster Payments
Discussion over the rules governing faster payments is still ongoing at a federal level. Meanwhile, customer adoption of existing real-time payment solutions continues to increase, with many new products on the horizon. Community financial institutions have a lot to think about before providing faster payment capabilities. Here are three steps to get you ready.
03/09/2022 - Cryptomania Is Here – Should CFIs Respond?
Cryptocurrencies have been around since 2009 and their popularity is growing. Not only are fintechs and neobanks providing these services to their customers, but so are community financial institutions. In a recent study, nearly 30% of community banks said they were very likely or extremely likely to add crypt services this year. Still, risks remain and regulatory guidance is evolving.
03/08/2022 - Remittances Are Rising – Is It Time To Jump Onboard?
Some community financial institutions may not think that cross-border remittances are in demand in their communities. Yet, in its November report, the World Bank projected growth of 7.3% of remittance payment volume in 2021. Could some of this spill over into your footprint? Here are three ways to successfully provide remittance services.
03/07/2022 - How To Mitigate Rising Mobile Fraud
It is not surprising that mobile fraud is surging, as the US has over 294MM smartphone users. Community financial institutions need to stay aware, meticulously authenticate customers’ identities, and communicate the latest scams to their customers to stay out of harm’s way. Here are three of the latest mobile phone scams and how to stay out of trouble.
03/04/2022 - Minimizing Customer Effort Leads To Customer Retention
Customer loyalty is considered the key to customer retention. An important part of that loyalty is customer effort. Do your customers have to work hard to access your products and services? Unhappy customers cost companies $75B globally, so it is important to minimize your customers’ efforts. We show you five areas to be especially watchful.
03/03/2022 - Are Overdraft Charges A Thing Of The Past?
Overdraft fees provided almost $33B in income for financial institutions in 2021. This was especially important in a low-interest rate environment. Yet, consumers are pushing back on these fees and neobanks have responded by providing accounts without these fees. Should community financial institutions eliminate these fees to stay competitive?
03/02/2022 - Should CFIs Use TikTok For Marketing?
TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms and community financial institutions should strongly consider using it for marketing. With 689MM users worldwide, opportunities abound to reach new customers and expand brand awareness. We offer more reasons to consider this platform, along with TikTok’s content creation guidelines.
03/01/2022 - Finding New International Business Customers In Your Midst
Looking for international business customers? You don’t need to look far. Many reside in your communities, but in places that you may not consider. According to JPMorgan Chase, 14% of SMBs plan on expanding beyond US borders in the next 3Ys. We uncover three places to find SMBs needing international services.

February 2022

02/28/2022 - Deepfakes Are Increasing – Top Three Scams To Watch
Deepfakes have been around for a while, but they are now increasing dramatically with costly effects. Deepfakes are fabricated pictures, videos, or audio using advanced technologies to replace a person in an image or alter a person’s voice. Let’s explore the latest insights from industry experts, how much damage deepfakes are causing, and how to protect your institution from three related scams.
02/25/2022 - Reaping The Rewards Of SMB Optimism
As small and midsize businesses are optimistic, 90% anticipate their business will expand successfully. Many of these businesses will need funding to fuel this expansion, especially with increasing costs. Here are three ways to tap into business optimism and growth.
02/24/2022 - Key Takeaways From Former FDIC Chair McWilliams
Outgoing FDIC Madam Chairman Jelena McWilliams recently discussed several milestones from her time at the FDIC on a webcast with the Bipartisan Policy Center. A few of her reflections were related to redefining loan modifications during the pandemic and establishing FDITECH. Let’s explore this progress and several other areas too.
02/23/2022 - Where Are CRE Investors Investing?
After initially suffering a severe setback as a result of the pandemic, some areas of the commercial real estate (CRE) market are recovering more strongly than others. Notably, offices, multi-family, and certain niche sectors are looking optimistic. The outlook for subsectors like hotels and retail remains less certain.
02/22/2022 - GAO Guidance On High-Risk-Transfers For Humanitarian Funding
Despite an unprecedented need to help victims of natural disasters and wars around the world, humanitarian aid nonprofits and other organizations — along with their financial institutions — often face challenges transferring funds for aid to certain countries. This is primarily due to the risk of money laundering or terrorist financing. We review the government’s findings on how to improve this situation and what this could mean for community financial institutions.
02/18/2022 - Volunteer Data Can Help Nonprofits In Your Community
All community financial institutions support their communities. But, wouldn’t it be nice to multiply those efforts? To do this, you don’t need to work harder. You can leverage the work you are already doing. Here are four ways you can facilitate greater outcomes for those nonprofits you support.
02/17/2022 - Three Steps To Prepare For A US Digital Dollar
Summary: Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) have been in the news for a while now. Yet, as some countries advance more dramatically on this front, misconceptions have sprung up regarding the progress, impact, and representation of a US digital dollar. We address some of these misconceptions and provide three steps to prepare for a US CBDC.
02/16/2022 - More Ways To Connect With Gen Z As Future Customers
Gen Z is the fastest growing market segment and will make up almost one-third of the workforce by 2030. These young consumers are tech-savvy, value-driven, and financially cautious. Here are four strategies for community financial institutions to engage Gen Zers early on in their financial journey.
02/15/2022 - Defend Your Stored Data Against Cybercriminal Attacks
With big threats of ransomware, financial institutions rely on their back-up systems to avoid paying a ransom and indemnify them, if their systems are not unlocked by the thieves. This has prompted cybercriminals to go straight to the source and target stored data. With 69% of financial institutions stating that an attack on their stored data would have a catastrophic effect on their business, data protection is critical. Here are three ways to do it effectively.
02/14/2022 - Protecting An Aging Population From Elder Financial Abuse
The number of SARs filed by depository institutions regarding elder financial exploitation rose 67% between 2017 and 2020. As community financial institutions strive to stem senior financial abuse, this issue will only continue as the population is aging. We explain other factors in play and provide three defenses to combat elder financial abuse.
02/11/2022 - Planning For Succession Success
Succession planning has been a part of community financial institutions’ strategic and contingency planning for some time. Yet, 67% of bank CEOs are baby boomers between 56 and 75, so retirements may be coming sooner than expected. Still, 37% of banks have reported they have no clear CEO replacement. We give you five tips to help with your succession planning.
02/10/2022 - Four Strategies To Boost Board Diversity
According to a report from the US House Committee on Financial Services, big bank boards are still roughly 80% white and 70% male. While the banking industry is working on board diversity, it takes time to diversify boards, even if there is increasing regulatory scrutiny. Here are four strategies to help boost your board’s diversity.
02/09/2022 - Enticing Younger Customers With Wealth Management
Gen X and millennials will receive $68.4T in transferred wealth over the next 25 years. Making sure that you have nurtured household relationships to retain these critical customers could provide community financial institutions with a long-term profitable customer base. Wealth management services offer a unique opportunity to target these age groups. Here are five strategies to help.
02/08/2022 - Key Reminders To Protect Your Institution From Money Mules
Last year, the FBI reported it had pursued 2x the number of people involved in money mule activities vs. those in 2020. While they were able to recover $3.7MM in fraud funds, money mules are still actively recruited, wittingly and unwittingly. Here are three critical tips to protect your institution.
02/07/2022 - Running CECL In Parallel – What You Should Know
While most big and mid-sized banks have already implemented the new CECL standard, many community financial institutions are waiting until their deadline of January 1, 2023. Yet, there is a lot to do this year to ensure you are compliant, including running CECL in parallel. Here are three guiding principles that we recommend to keep you on track as you perform your parallel runs.
02/04/2022 - Three Strategies To Ensure Your Website Is ADA Compliant
Website ADA compliance is not new. However, with new technologies to accommodate those with disabilities, community financial institutions need to keep up to speed. In 2021, the number of accessibility-related lawsuits involving websites, apps, or videos increased 15% YoY. Here are three strategies to ensure your website is accessible for everyone.
02/03/2022 - How To Use AI Effectively And Mitigate Bias
Community financial institutions are turning to artificial intelligence to help manage risks, improve customer service, and save costs. If you are wondering how they do it, we share a few success stories, while tackling the main issue of algorithmic bias and providing three strategies to help mitigate bias.
02/02/2022 - Risks Capturing Regulatory Attention & Potential Mitigations
Recently, the OCC released its annual report on the federal banking system’s condition. Although the average capital levels were good and the federal banking system’s liquidity ratio was more than 3x the historical average, certain risks in the industry have increased. We give you some of the report highlights, including three important areas of focus for increased risk.
02/01/2022 - Appealing To 60MM Self-Employed Businesses
With the explosion of gig workers, the needs of some small businesses have changed. Many self-employed business owners are looking for time-efficient, digital financial services so that they can focus on growing their businesses. Here are five important areas to address in successfully appealing to these businesses.

January 2022

01/31/2022 - USPS Banking Services Have Resurfaced
Around 55Ys ago, the USPS ended its postal banking services. Yet, a new USPS check-cashing pilot program seems to be indicating a possible resurgence. The stimulus checks from the pandemic shined a light on the issues for the unbanked in accessing these funds. Now, with some bipartisan momentum, USPS could become a competitor to many community financial institutions. We unpack the details and give some insights.
01/28/2022 - Five Steps For A Successful Universal Banker Model
Universal bankers, who can handle a myriad of customer needs, are not new. According to Zippia, there are over 121K universal bankers in the US. If you don’t have any universal bankers, you may want to revisit this particular role. As many transactions are handled online, traditional teller roles are evolving to meet customer needs more effectively and efficiently, boosting an institution’s ROI. Here are five steps to get there.
01/27/2022 - Metaverse Marketing – A New Way To Reach Customers
With gaming revenue reaching over $180B worldwide, some companies are tapping into the virtual worlds of online gaming to market their brands and engage with new customers. While this marketing channel is still in its early stages, some creative and forward-looking community financial institutions may do the research and take the leap. We share an update on metaverse marketing.
01/26/2022 - An Update On Cloud Services For CFIs
Community financial institutions have been hesitant to use cloud services due to regulatory and security concerns. However, there may be changes on the horizon. More than nine out of ten financial institutions recently stated that they are either using cloud services or plan on doing so within the year. We give you the latest developments on cloud services within the financial industry.
01/25/2022 - Three Strategies To Prepare CFIs For Rate Increases
Community financial institutions have seen low interest rates for a long period of time. This caused net interest margins to be squeezed tightly, yet it allowed bankers to reduce their dependence on wholesale funding. Now, when interest rates are expected to rise, it is crucial to have strategies to balance increasing net interest income with rising funding costs.
01/24/2022 - Drive-By Skimming & Supply Chain Attacks Can Affect Your Website
Are you protected against drive-by skimming and supply chain website attacks? These can be hard to detect even with the usual cybersecurity measures such as firewalls, penetration tests, and security assessments. We explain how these attacks happen and what community financial institutions can do to mitigate the risk of these occurring to them.
01/21/2022 - Will CFIs Have Enough Reserves For CECL?
CECL is coming and yet myths abound on what that actually means. This can be confusing for many financial institutions, causing some to delay adoption unnecessarily. With most community financial institutions having to adhere to CECL, we bust 4 common myths, based on our discussions with early adopters.
01/20/2022 - Four Ways To Prepare For Faster Payments
According to a Federal Reserve survey, 90% of businesses said they expect faster payments within three years. Many businesses see this as a way to automate operations and satisfy their customers. Community financial institutions should be preparing for faster payments now as competition is intense. Here are four recommendations to prepare for faster payments.
01/19/2022 - Mitigating Stress Levels For Compliance Employees
Over 50% of full-time workers are stressed at least 60% of the time during the workweek. Compliance is one area that bankers find especially stressful as it is very important and yet very complex, especially with changing regulatory guidance. To mitigate the stress of your compliance employees, here are two important steps to take.
01/18/2022 - Using Technology To Better Respond To Your Customer Needs
Community financial institutions know their customers well. Yet, this is no time for complacency as competitors abound. Technology is an important tool in understanding your customers’ shifting needs. Here are three key areas to use technology to more effectively respond to your customers.
01/14/2022 - Is Augmented Reality Now A Necessity For Financial Institutions?
Augmented reality (AR) has been around for a while, but the market is expected to grow a hefty 31.5% between 2021 and 2026. With the drive towards all things digital, financial institutions are now looking more closely at AR as a way to continue engaging with customers and training employees. Here is the latest update on this growing technology.
01/13/2022 - Mobile Messaging – A Key Banking Communication Tool
What is the best way for bankers to communicate with their customers digitally? Given the option between web-based chat features and mobile messaging apps, 48% of consumers prefer mobile messaging. Not only that, but also Net Promoter Scores increase almost threefold for those companies that use mobile messaging. Here are seven reasons why customers want mobile messaging.
01/12/2022 - Three Strategies To Harness Career-Changers
According to a Harris Poll, half of American employees want to change careers. Not only that, but 33% of this group also plans to change industries. Can community financial institutions entice some of these talented employees, while retaining their own? We give you some tips on how to do this through this relentless labor crunch.
01/11/2022 - Lessons Learned From The Exodus Of Challenger Banks
A number of challenger and foreign banks have recently exited or scaled down their presence in the US. N26 is the latest casualty. What’s behind these less-than-successful attempts to come to terms with the US retail banking landscape? We look at the lessons community financial institutions can learn from this apparent exodus.
01/10/2022 - Could Charitable Foundations Provide A Lasting Community Impact?
Community financial institutions serve their communities well in many different ways. They provide guidance, donate their time, and provide financial support. But, could they leave a more lasting legacy by establishing a charitable foundation? We try to answer that question by exploring the idea and providing you with three important reasons to consider.
01/07/2022 - How CFIs Are Managing Remote Work
Arizent reports that financial institutions say 53% of employees will be either working remotely full time or in a hybrid capacity in 2022. With a tight labor market and Omicron cases going up, how are community financial institutions adapting their work schedules? We share some examples and give you three remote work reminders, as you review your institution’s work schedule.
01/06/2022 - Will The Agricultural Recovery Last?
The agriculture industry appears to have experienced a turnaround during 2021. The USDA expects 2021 net farm income to increase by 23% YoY. We take a look at what has driven the recovery this past year, review the outlook for 2022, and suggest three ways in which community financial institutions could reap the most from this boom.
01/05/2022 - How CFIs Can Maintain Customer Stickiness
The hike in inflation to 6.8% in November and the arrival of the Omicron variant have applied pressure for the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates. What will this do to deposits? While rates are still low, it’s critical for community financial institutions to retain their customers and their position as primary bank. Here are some tips to help increase customer stickiness.
01/04/2022 - Contactless Commerce Technologies Could Help SMBs
Many consumers are shopping online, but many value the in-store experience with contactless shopping options. Contactless commerce is growing with the advancement of new technologies. “Pay-by-face” and RFID are two of these technologies that are finding more traction these days. We cover the latest in contactless commerce technologies.
01/03/2022 - Top Five Trends For 2022
As we kick off 2022, let’s look ahead at some of the key economic, regulatory, and market trends that may affect community bankers and their clients this year. The uncertainty surrounding inflation, potential interest rate hikes, and the outlook for M&A activity all are likely to play an impactful role this year. Others that we believe could begin to grow even more prominently are the digital race and ongoing changes to the ways of working. Here is our assessment of things to come in 2022.

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