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  • Member and customer service is now defined digitally

    By Mark Arnold, president, On the Mark Strategies In the “good old days” of financial services (about 10-15 years ago, given the speed of technological advancement) the way banks and credit unions served consumers was defined more or less in terms of personal interaction. The majority of people still visited…
  • Summit Poll: Which area of the loan portfolio is your focus for growth?

    In September, Sageworks hosted the 5th Annual Risk Management Summit at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin, Texas. The Summit was the largest Sageworks event to date and featured presentations from industry leaders, interactive roundtable discussions, panels and networking opportunities. During Banker Appreciation Night, a dinner event…
  • 2016 Risk Management Summit wrap-up

    Sageworks hosted the 5th Annual Risk Management Summit September 14-16 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin, Texas. The Summit was the largest Sageworks event to date and featured presentations from industry leaders, interactive roundtable discussions, panels and networking opportunities. Key to the discussion this year were…
  • What is keeping your financial institution from growing?

    A common problem impacting productivity and the ability to serve customers is inefficient processes. Many of these are inherited and accepted as “just the way we do things.” But in order to work smarter, not harder, and provide a good experience for customers, inefficiencies should be challenged in favor of…
  • 3 Things impacting consumers' satisfaction with financial institutions

    According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Monthly Complaint Report, consumer banking complaints increased by 26 percent from 2015 to 2016. This three-month rolling average compares the number of complaints reported from May to July in 2015 against the same period in 2016. In total, the complaints increased from 1,890…
  • How the 2016 election impacts community banks and credit unions

    According to Sageworks’ Bank Information resource there are nearly 12,000 community banks and credit unions across the United States. Those main-street institutions employ and service millions of voters in towns both large and small, but are often overlooked and underestimated in the role they play in the political process. With…
  • Why financial institutions are updating loan pricing strategies

    Progressive banks are increasingly turning to stronger pricing models that incorporate loan risk, borrower profitability and bank strategy to ensure that the customer always sees the bank’s best rate. This rate may not be the lowest rate, but it will be its best rate that aligns with the strategic goals…
  • 5 “Must go” benefits of the Sageworks Pre-Conference ALLL Users’ Group

    Too many of us underutilize the technology we have available because our days are filled with “putting out fires” rather than discovering ways to make the most of these current resources. Take your smartphone, for example. When a colleague (or your teen-ager at home) shows you a “trick” or a…
  • Why your institution needs a standardized loan pricing model

    How Loan Pricing Models Add Value to the Institution Implementing a loan pricing model often requires a process change for lenders and business development staff at the institution, and may necessitate a few extra steps. But if the institution evaluates the change bank-wide and the impact that a standardized pricing…
  • Poll: Vast majority of bankers still manually create credit memo

    A credit memorandum is meant to summarize the information collected during the loan application and credit analysis processes. This large document bridges the gap between underwriting and funding, and it is a pivotal point in the life of the loan. A credit memorandum is used by the loan committee to…
  • How to make better lending decisions with a probability of default model

    As technology and data collection improve, banks and credit unions are finding ways to use this information to improve their loan decision making and thus improve their asset quality in the long term.  The best way to maintain asset quality is to make good loans…and that involves validating that borrowers…
  • 3 external challenges banks and credit unions are facing today

    Financial institutions face a range of challenges arising from issues that are external to the bank or credit union, including: -  Interest rate environment-  Changing regulatory and accounting landscape-  Competitive pressures, especially for commercial and industrial (C&I or MBL) loans.After several years of trying to mitigate the impact of low…
  • Join Sageworks and Linda Keith Wednesday February 24th for “The Cs of Credit Guidelines for Tax Return Analysis” Webinar

    In this webinar, Sageworks is teaming up with Linda Keith CPA again to bring you more great information about tax return analysis.  Linda has been a guest speaker on several Sageworks webinars that covered topics like Global Cash Flow, Red Flags for Tax Return Analysis and Making Judgement Calls for…
  • Obstacles to an effective loan review

    Click here to read the entire whitepaper written by Tim McPeak "A ship is always safe at the shore, but that is not what it is built for.” – Albert Einstein Banks generate most of their revenue by lending money, and lending money, by definition, involves a certain amount of…
  • Top 10 banking webinars of 2015

    Are you staying current with the hot topics in banking? While the FASB’s CECL model has garnered much of the industry’s attention as of late, several other topics within credit, stress testing and the ALLL were of interest to banks and credit unions in 2015. Sageworks, a provider of credit…
  • The role and challenges of financial institutions in the small multifamily rental market

    The topic of affordable rental housing is likely to be an increasingly popular one in the coming years, given the number of baby boomers expected to downsize as they retire and the rising share of millennials choosing rentals over homeownership. Indeed, a number of recent reports have raised concerns that…
  • Which are America’s healthiest banks?

    In the last several years following the Great Recession, the health of banks in the U.S. has been analyzed and debated.  For the largest of American financial institutions – those that much of the public banks with for checking, mortgages and auto loans – stress testing regulations have been passed…
  • Stressing the importance of stress tests

    March comes in like a lion for the nation’s largest banks. Yesterday the Federal Reserve announced how “the big banks” fared on their annual stress tests (The Wall Street Journal’s Briefly blog offers what to know and what is relevant about the exams). The reports were positive: all 31 stressed…
  • Why bankers should become trusted advisors to small business customers

    In the 2014 J.D. Power Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study, small business owners indicated that a key component of a positive banking experience is the relationship they have with their account manager. The survey was released on October 28, 2014, and polled business owners from across the country. The survey…
  • How important is a social media community in banking?

    Much like the internet was once considered a fad, the same was said not so long ago about social media. Earlier this year, Facebook reported more than 1.35 billion active users logging on monthly. That’s roughly 20 percent of the world population. Take a second to allow that to sink…
  • Best banks to work for in the U.S.

    Do you work at one of the best banks in the country? American Banker just released its second annual ranking of the best banks to work for in the U.S. The rankings are based on employee opinions of the work environment, benefits, career-advancement opportunities and perks such as subsidized gym…
  • Establishing a project management culture

    Among the various characteristics that make up a company’s culture, one of the most important aspects often goes overlooked. Ancin Cooley, principal of Synergy Bank Consulting, Inc. states that a mix of value-based cultures is pivotal in the effective management of a bank. A sound project management culture, Cooley argues,…
  • Tweet to pay: Is this the future of banks maintaining a competitive edge?

    Do customers want off-site banking to be as simple as sending a tweet? A bank in France is making that a reality. With the significant rise of person-to-person (P2P) payments – allowing a customer the convenience of sending money directly to someone else quickly – news broke earlier this month…
  • What are banks saying about meeting technology needs?

    As the financial industry gets smarter, leaner and more heavily regulated, technology’s role continues to evolve from an extravagance just a few decades ago to a financial institution’s lifeblood in many instances today. Banks and credit unions are now able to handle complex collateral relationships in a few clicks, send…
  • Apple Pay set to launch in October: What will this mean for banks and credit unions?

    Last week, technology giant Apple® announced the launch of its mobile wallet, Apple Pay. Slated to debut in October as a feature on the iPhone 6, Apple Pay will offer contactless payment technology, providing iPhone users the ability to pay for purchases with their smartphones. To utilize the feature in…
  • How to help your bank stand out from the crowd

    In a recent post on American Banker, Bill Early, president and mortgage lender of PlumDog Financial, argues that banks need to be more like carrots. He isn’t talking about painting the walls orange, but rather transforming the banking industry to become more client focused. Early notes carrot consumption in the…
  • Justifying your ALLL in a period of low historical losses

    A common concern among banks recently is how to correctly implement loss methodologies in a period of low historical losses. While it’s a relatively good problem to have, it nonetheless imposes challenges in the calculation of the ALLL. If there are few reference points, how then, does a bank go…
  • How to use stress testing as a tool for risk management

    By now, we should all be familiar with the term “stress testing.” And while stress testing is not a new concept – it is an important part of the risk management process for every institution. Recent mandates from regulatory bodies have placed a renewed emphasis on it. Most institutions perform…
  • Peeking over the fence: How other banks run Loan Review

    Originally published on cbinsight.com Observant neighbors will attest: it can be helpful to know what your neighbors are doing, to both inform what you are doing and to see how they compare. Essentially, nosey neighbors are benchmarking, and while it may not always be well received about the other party,…
  • Top priorities for bankers in 2014

    In recent years, financial institutions have been bogged down with new regulations, causing countless resources to be shifted away from key areas such as business development and customer experience. According to KPMG’s 2013 Banking Industry Survey, effort required and the cost of complying with new laws and increased oversight was…
  • Why do banks maintain an unallocated reserve?

    The unallocated reserve can play an important role in maintaining a financial institution’s overall reserve; however, it is, by nature, a rather subjective process. Unallocated reserves are the result of an adjustment to account for estimated credit losses which fall outside of the predefined qualitative factors and historic loss calculations.…
  • How to use stress testing results to your advantage

    As stress testing has increasingly become a focus of regulatory guidance, it is important to understand its purpose and methodologies, but also how to use the findings to your advantage. This post provides five ways to use stress testing results to benefit your bank or credit union. 1. Ward off…
  • What questions should bank boards be answering?

    Bank and credit union board members make every decision with a delicate balance of trying to maximize the institution’s performance without putting themselves at risk, according to a recent article by Jack Milligan. In the article, Milligan highlights four uncomfortable questions every bank board should answer: • Does the CEO…
  • Member and customer service is now defined digitally

    By Mark Arnold, president, On the Mark Strategies In the “good old days” of financial services (about 10-15 years ago, given the speed of technological advancement) the way banks and credit unions served consumers was defined more or less in terms of personal interaction. The majority of people still visited…
  • Poll: Who looks at stress test results

    There may be several departments in a financial institution that are responsible for portfolio stress tests: potentially the credit department, persons responsible for the institution's financial statements, modeling teams and even vendor management if a third-party solution is used. Reviewing the stress test reports could, similarly, be a responsibility that many…
  • Risk-weighted assets, regulators' stiff proposal

    Written by Shea Dittrich, director at Sageworks   Both domestic and international government organizations began to realize the deficiencies that existed within the financial system. In response, they enacted legislation aimed at preventing a future calamity that would result in further economic challenges while also protecting consumers from unsafe practices…
  • FASB proposes major revisions to accounting for credit losses

    For the past few years, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has been discussing the adoption of the “expected loss model” for the Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses (ALLL). On December 20, 2012, FASB issued a Proposed Accounting Standards Update that finally defines the actual accounting framework and clearly…
  • How to balance and improve CAMELS ratings

    For the average banker, the word "camels" may evoke the image of the beloved, desert-living transportation device, but it could also evoke memories of their institution’s last regulatory exam. The CAMELS rating is a measure of a financial institution’s riskiness based on the bank’s financial statements. Examiners assign ratings, based on…
  • Will M&A continue in the banking market?

    Guest post by Shea Dittrich, Director at Sageworks As the banking industry continues its recovery, industry experts are monitoring merger and acquisition activity to better understand what the banking landscape will look like in years to come. Will M&A continue and in what form? Everything points to an increase in…
  • “Hot-button” issues in lending: Documentation

    Guest post by John Baptista, Impact Training & Consulting As memberships in U.S. credit unions have grown, many institutions are expanding their offerings to include member business loans. Whether it’s a credit union making this move for the first time, or a bank diving deeper into commercial lending, I find…
  • Top bank regulator - Risk models key

    Banks that use models for risk management should compare results of those models to results from other approaches, narrowing their reliance on single approaches, U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said Wednesday. The banking regulator warned that operational risk – the risk of loss due to failures of people,…
  • 19 banks stress tested, but what about the rest?

    Only 19 of the nation’s roughly 7,400 commercial banks were involved earlier this year in the Federal Reserve’s test of whether the banks could weather a severe recession that included 13 percent unemployment, a 50 percent drop in stock markets and a 21 percent decline in housing prices. Customers of…
  • What if my bank fails?

    Nearly twice a week last year on average, banking regulators closed a bank deemed unable to meet obligations to depositors and others. And while the number of bank failures was down from a year earlier, (92 vs. 154), that’s little consolation if you’re a business owner caught up in your…
  • CFO Corner: Private Bank of Buckhead's Terry Freeman

    Terry Freeman, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Private Bank of Buckhead, talks about the importance of discipline and clients. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? Strategically building out additional…
  • IMF, Manufacturers' Gloomier Outlooks Support Financial Professionals' View

    More pessimistic outlooks by The International Monetary Fund and the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI this week reinforce what financial professionals have been telling Sageworks in recent weeks: That most of them expect the economy to be about the same or worse a year from now. The IMF in its World Economic Outlook on…
  • Huffington Post: "Lackluster Year Ahead: Financial Professionals Predict No Change"

    Stock market volatility is becoming the norm in the U.S., and in some countries abroad, economic stability is even more difficult to find. With such pessimistic news permeating the media, it is no surprise that financial professionals are less than enthusiastic about the U.S. economy's outlook for the coming year.…
  • Obtaining credit: Proven best practices

    The recession left a significant and destructive mark on the lending environment—commercial and industrial loan volume in the United States fell a stark 23 percent in the course of only two years (October 2008 – October 2010), largely due to GDP decreases and the ensuing write offs.(1) During this two year…
  • Huffington Post: "We May Be Out of the Woods: Banks Are Lending Again"

    Commercial and industrial loan volume in the U.S. fell significantly -- by 23 percent -- between October 2008 and October 2010. Any new loans that were made during this period were offset by loans coming to maturity or loans that were charged-off (declared uncollectible). This drop in volume is directly…
  • Shrinking ALLL reserves means no more "lazy" lending...in theory

    Though the last half decade has been rather tumultuous, recent bank metrics released by the Federal Reserve indicate improving credit quality. One of the most notable metrics is the average Loan Loss Reserve ratio. This ratio, which from 2010 to 2014 has shrunk over 200 percent, measures the amount of the…
  • Huffington Post: "We May Be Out of the Woods: Banks Are Lending Again"

    Commercial and industrial loan volume in the U.S. fell significantly -- by 23 percent -- between October 2008 and October 2010. Any new loans that were made during this period were offset by loans coming to maturity or loans that were charged-off (declared uncollectible). This drop in volume is directly…
  • Best sources for capital infusion

    Many small business owners are still feeling the pain from the financial crisis of 2008 when it comes to securing a loan for their businesses. However, credit markets are showing signs of improvement and new micro-lending organizations are sprouting up to fill the demand for small business loans along with…
  • Bank loan applications: 5 Steps in preparing for the process

    Securing additional funding is one of the most difficult tasks a business owner will face, and the current economic situation has only made this process more difficult. While the current notion is that securing a business loan is near, but impossible in most cases, the truth is that there are…