AFP 2014

Celent Banking

It was interesting that the AFP decided to hold its conference in Washington – the first time it has been held in AFP’s hometown – during the run-up to the 2014 mid-term elections, and it was clear that the town was abuzz in activity as Election Day came near. I just arrived home from Washington, D.C., where the Association For Financial Professionals – a leading society for treasury and finance professionals in the US - held its annual conference.

What interested bankers most in 2014?


Now that 2014 has come and (almost) gone, it’s appropriate to take a step back and review the year’s trends and hot topics. Sageworks compiled the most popular blog posts of 2014 as an indicator of what piqued bankers’ interest, and interestingly enough, all were related to the ALLL. Other popular topics in 2014 were backtesting the ALLL , key components of loan administration systems and how to perform ALLL model validations.

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Credit Union Satisfaction Index Survey 2Q 2014

Banker to Banker

This annual survey published by ACSI gives bankers insight into what credit unions are doing right and wrong. Some highlights: . Credit union customers had just slightly greater satisfaction than bank customers. Mobil and online banking has the largest impact on customer experience. Utilization of mobile is becoming similar across all demographic catagories. Branches help with acquisition, but usage is dropping.

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Banking Industry and Community Bank Performance for Third Quarter 2014 [Presentation Link At Bottom]

Banker to Banker

The latest industry data was released over the weekend and a complete presentation is attached at the bottom of this blog post. Third quarter bank industry data shows return on equity performance was down at 8.1% for the industry and 8.2% for community banks below $25B in total assets. Like past quarters, most of the positive improvement in earnings came from asset growth and increases in asset quality.

Banking's Total Return Top 5: 2014 Edition

Jeff For Banks

For the past three years I searched for the Top 5 financial institutions in five-year total return to shareholders because I grew weary of the "get big or get out" mentality of many bankers and industry pundits. If their platitudes about scale and all that goes with it are correct, then the largest FIs should logically demonstrate better shareholder returns. Right? Not so over the three years I have been keeping track.

Gonzo Goes to BAI Retail Delivery 2014: Sweet Home Chicago?


The gloomy overcast ride from O’Hare followed the crushing Bears loss to the Packers, so BAI had to distract us with something provoking. And, man, did it ever … with the Aliens -esque signs of bankers getting their brains sucked out (or was it minds being blown by presenters, not sure?). With a focus on digital banking and branch transformation, it was interesting to see the attendee list with lots of sexy new customer experience and analytics titles. General Sessions.

US Household Debt Drops For First Time Since 2014


household debt for the first time since 2014, the Financial Times (FT) reported. The steep decline in consumer spending resulted in less U.S. At the end of June, consumer debt balances sat at $14.27 trillion, according to figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That’s a 0.2 percent drop since March, a decline showing a $76 billion reduction in credit card balances. That constitutes the “sharpest decline on record,” FT reported.

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Top mistakes accountants are making with existing clients


Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell was referring to environmental impacts when she sang, “Don’t it always seem to go/That you don’t know what you’ve got/Till it’s gone” in "Big Yellow Taxi." But chances are, many accountants have the same thought after a client leaves the practice – especially someone who was with the firm for several years. After all, numerous studies show that attracting new clients costs a lot more than retaining existing ones.

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Top 10 “Best Of” Financial Services Thought Leadership for 2014

Perficient Financial Servies

The clock is ticking as we are fast approaching the end of 2014 and are already focused on what’s ahead in 2015. Before we take a jump ahead into the next calendar year, I thought I’d give readers a look back at some of the great content produced this past year. Visit our Thought Leadership section of our website for more great content.

Spotlight on lending: Preparing for Q3 bank reports


With the fourth quarter of 2014 well underway, both banks and credit unions are in the midst of reporting their results from the previous three months. banks, beginning with fourth quarter results in 2010, through second quarter of 2014. Bank loans in 2014 have seen some fluctuation, with Q1 lending down from the previous quarter (to $7.65

Thought starter: Top challenges accountants face and actionable ideas to solve them


Comedian and television writer/producer Larry David has said, “I''m not a person who embraces challenges. I run from challenges. I break world records running from challenges.” ” Humor aside, accountants don’t have the luxury of thinking that way. While accounting was identified as the most profitable industry of the last 12 months , it is not without its challenges.

Top concerns and growth strategies of community banks: Part II


We can find answers in the August Bank Director’s 2014 Growth Strategy Survey , which asked executives from banks of all sizes across the United States about their growth strategies for the next 12 months. Source: 2014 Growth Strategy Survey. Source: 2014 Growth Strategy Survey. Source: 2014 Growth Strategy Survey. This article is the second in a two-part series on top concerns and growth strategies of community banks.

How Citizens Bank of Edmond Amplifies Their Brand And Creates A Strong Culture

Banker to Banker

If you ever doubted the power of a CEO, consider Jill Castilla, CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond. Taking over at the start oft his year, she has been quick to change the culture. While the Bank is well regarded for its use in social media, the bigger story here is how a CEO can create an environment of innovation, risk taking and fun. More importantly, Jill has given the Bank a personality which has worked to strengthen its brand.

Top blog posts for accountants in 2014


Our most popular post in 2014 was also one of our earliest. Sageworks has worked all year to bring accountants information that helps you serve clients and run your practice better, and many of our blog posts have been especially popular. Below is a list of the five most popular posts for accountants from the Sageworks blog this year.

Lending standards slip, risk increasing according to OCC


Lending standards continue to relax, according to data from the OCC’s 2014 Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices. Source: OCC 2014 Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices, December 2014. This type of easing is similar to that experienced between 2004 and 2006, the time period leading up to the financial crisis, which many attribute to inadequate lending standards.

April 2014: A Busy Month for Fraud Alerts!

Strategically Speaking

Author: Jenny Roland-Vlach, Here we are at the end of April and my Inbox has had quite a few email alerts from various regulatory entities. These alerts have covered an array of topics with the most prevalent being an apparent current uptick in cyber-related risk.

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Banking M&A activity remains high with little sign of slowing


In a recent survey conducted in partnership by the Federal Reserve and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors ( CSBS ), over 1,000 community bankers weighed in on a range of hot button issues facing their organizations in 2014. The below graph from the Federal Reserve is a testament to this trend: In a mere three decades, we have seen the number of commercial banking organizations plunge 60.47%, from 14,400 institutions in 1985 to a meager 5,693 as of Q2 2014.

How to prepare for Basel III


Registration is now open for the webinar, scheduled to be held on Friday, October 24, 2014 at 2:00pm EDT. Following the recent financial crisis, the Basel Committee of Banking Supervision (BCBS) set out to “strengthen global capital and liquidity rules with the goal of promoting a more resilient banking sector.” ” With the release of Basel III, the Committee is building on Basel II’s three pillars and strengthening them.

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OCC outlines risk plan as Northeastern loan growth doubles


” In addition (and likely somewhat related) to loan growth, the OCC reported that 85 percent of the banks and FSAs in the district had a composite rating of 1 or 2 as of June 2014 ( a composite rating is a combined assessment based upon each component of CAMELS: Capital adequacy, Asset quality, Management capability, Earnings quantity/quality, Liquidity adequacy and Sensitivity to market risk.

Why bankers should become trusted advisors to small business customers


In the 2014 J.D. The survey was released on October 28, 2014, and polled business owners from across the country. 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.

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Accountants win more clients doing these 3 things


Have you ever wondered why your accounting firm lost out on a recent engagement? Do you get frustrated when clients show little interest in utilizing the firm’s additional services that are offered? A lot of accountants may assume that they lost a potential client because another firm presented a lower estimate. Or it may seem as though a client is too stubborn to consider thoughtfully the benefits of receiving strategic advice or financial planning assistance.

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CECL to be released first half of 2015


Several statements, including statements from the chairman of the FASB, alluded to a release date of Q3 or Q4 in 2014; however, in a September Board Meeting, the FASB decided to defer release of the new guidance to the first half of 2015. Final guidance on the Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) model has been an anticipated event in the eyes of bankers and other financial professionals.

Don’t worry, be happy: Firm-wide benefits of an accounting mentorship program


Do you recall your first few years post-grad? You may yearn for fewer responsibilities (and wrinkles) and more “free” time of ages 22 through your mid to late 20s, or you may remember it less fondly in a small apartment with many roommates and less in the bank. No matter if that time in your life skews positively or otherwise, your career was in a very different place than it is now. Is there career advice that you would give to 24-year-old you?

This Credit Union and Banker Amazed Us

Banker to Banker

If you are looking for examples of how banks have to change, stop by Grow Financial Federal Credit Union the next time you are in Tampa and see Natalia Spratlen. Grow Financial FCU presents a nice, open small footprint branch space and creates an environment of high productivity. That is not unusual these days as lots of banks are now redesigning their branches. However, what is unusual is our interaction with Natalia.

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What are other banks doing with the ALLL?


During a recent webinar, more than 200 banks and credit unions weighed in through various polls on how they have been managing their allowance for loan and lease losses. In particular, feedback was given on how they release reserves, use an unallocated reserve and use external Q factor(s) most heavily. The first topic of discussion was whether or not banks have released reserves in the past four quarters.

FDIC: Community banks outperform industry in third quarter


Compared to the second quarter of 2014 and the third quarter of 2013, loan growth continues to increase. Loan balances grew almost two percent over the second quarter of 2014, and almost five percent year-over-year. ” The latest list is down to 329, a decrease from 354 in the second quarter of 2014. To provide a report card on industry status and performance, the FDIC publishes a Quarterly Banking Profile.

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Does bigger mean more efficient?


He pulled numbers from both 2007 and 2014 to elucidate differences in asset categories at present, as well as how they compare over time. After the $100B mark, efficiency ratio actually increased in both the 2007 and 2014 time periods. The $20B - $100B asset range boasted the lowest efficiency ratios in both 2007 and 2014. More simply put, it is costing financial institutions more to make money in 2014 than it was in 2007. With size comes economies of scale.

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, should be in the forefront of financial professionals’ minds.

How one accounting firm used ProfitCents to show clients the importance of value-added services


Nearly every firm has business clients who are interested in more services from their accountant. Almost two-thirds of clients are unaware of all services their accounting firm has to offer. Cross-selling value-added services will not only help you retain your current clients but also grow your business’s revenue. In a recent case study , ProfitCents customer Focus CPA Group Inc.

Why it's time you give up spreadsheets in the ALLL calculation


It’s high time for a foundational shift in the resources bankers use to calculate the ALLL. Years ago, using spreadsheets was by far and away the best option – primarily because it was the only option. To those in the early 20th century, the typewriter was the most efficient way to write letters and the Model T was the latest and greatest in transportation.

3 Percent down payments and risk to lenders


Many would point to imprudent lending standards as a leading cause of the financial crisis of 2008, and in turn, financial institution regulators have since bolstered lending standards and capital thresholds as a preventive measure against a similar crisis. But recent news from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might suggest that the market is inching closer towards pre-recession lending practices. - coming early 2015


The allowance for loan and lease losses is a pivotal part of a financial institution’s well-being. While regulatory guidance outlines the framework for the methodology, institutions can be at a loss for resources regarding more granular details of the ALLL calculation: • What steps can I take to reduce regulatory scrutiny? • How will impending regulatory changes impact my methodology, and how should I prepare? • How can I better justify my qualitative factors?

How to validate a stress test model


The prevalence of stress testing within banks and credit unions has risen considerably in recent periods thanks to increased regulatory attention and the benefit of greater insight into financial institutions’ portfolios. While there aren’t set requirements in place for those under $10 billion in assets, interagency expectations have been set for stress testing by community banks.

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You aren't prepared for 2015 if your ALLL lacks these traits


In preparing for the allowance for loan and lease losses (ALLL) calculation in 2015, bankers have a lot on their plates. The ALLL has received significantly more attention in the past few years, and the trend of examiner scrutiny does not appear to be letting up. If anything, regulatory bodies will be focusing even more on the allowance calculation in 2015 as institutions switch from an incurred loss model to an expected loss model.

How the OCC risk governance framework applies to community banks


10, 2014 effective date. In September, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published final guidelines designed to “strengthen the governance and risk management practices of large financial institutions.” ” The guidelines apply to institutions with more than $50 billion in assets, and the effective date of the guidance varies by asset size. For institutions over $750 billion, this guidance is effective immediately upon the Nov.