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Restoring Banking Optimism

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Optimism hit a five-year high in 2017 among c-level executives at financial institutions, but this year, optimism took a sharp dip amidst concerns over decelerated loan growth, an uncertain economy, and higher interest rates, according to survey results by Cornerstone Advisors.

FinCEN Steps up Efforts to Protect Against the Six Biggest Threats to the U.S. Financial System

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The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is tasked with protecting the financial system both within the United States and internationally. Financial criminals are working hard, using technology and innovation to their advantage, to stay one step ahead of FinCEN and financial institutions.

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Kleptocracy – What Does it Mean to Community Financial Institutions?

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The term kleptocracy has been used in the financial crimes profession for years, but many AML professionals do not understand its meaning and therefore are not adequately monitoring for it within their BSA/AML program. So, what is a kleptocrat?

New Community Bank Sentiment Index Shows Bankers Largely Positive

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Community bankers are largely positive about the future, based on the first results of a new index gauging business sentiment among the financial professionals who serve a critical role in local economies.

Examiners’ Shift in Focus Calls for Institutions to Develop a Risk-Based AML Program

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The burden of extensive regulatory exams on a financial institution’s BSA/AML program has taken its toll on the financial crimes industry for years.

Five Ways to Build a Solid Foundation With Your Examiners

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One of the most important business relationships you will have is the one you maintain between your institution and your examination staff. This is not a relationship that only needs attention during the exam process. Instead, this relationship should be nurtured by both sides on an ongoing basis.

Should My Financial Institution Enter into This Interest Rate Swap?

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A rather common method for financial institutions to hedge earnings or value at risk is an interest rate swap transaction. As we move into ever-changing rate environments, eventually you or someone on your ALCO committee may wonder exactly what an interest rate swap would do for the institution.

Leverage New Bank Technology by Examining Current Processes, Pain Points

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Imagine buying a new engine for your car. Your car, however, happens to be 8 years old, with tread-worn tires, and a window that won’t roll up.

August Jobs Report: Hiring Slows, but Wages Increase

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This morning’s BLS Employment Situation Report showed a disappointing 130,000 net jobs created for the month of August. Analysts had anticipated a gain of 150,000 jobs. Moreover, 25,000 of those jobs created were by the Federal Government due to hiring for Census-related activities.

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Seven Items That Should be on Every BSA Software Checklist

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Shopping for a bank secrecy act/anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) monitoring software can feel overwhelming. There are so many options, features, and benefits to each system that it can be tough to figure out where to start. We’ve spent the last 20 years working with industry experts regarding regulatory compliance and our customer base regarding program efficiencies to build BAM+ into the ultimate BSA/AML regulatory and compliance solution.

Lending and Credit Automation: Before and After

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Slow lending decisions and frustrating loan application processes are among borrowers’ biggest gripes with traditional financial institutions vs competitors such as online or alternative lenders.

Loan Grading 101

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In an ideal world, all of the money that banks lend out to borrowers would be paid back at its maturity date. However, that’s not always the case, as there are three inherent risks all financial intermediaries face: credit risk, interest rate risk, and liquidity risk.

FinCEN Releases New Advisory for Financial Institutions Regarding the Fentanyl Epidemic

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In response to the nation-wide opioid crisis that has led to unprecedented addiction and death, FinCEN has issued guidance to alert financial institutions to the financial schemes and typologies related to the trafficking of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

How Financial Institutions Focus on Customers Is Key

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The community bank model is built around customer service, but for many bank and credit union customers, the definition of “good service” has been changing over the last couple of decades.

Easy Ways BSA Officers Can Get Their Required Training

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Ongoing training is at the very heart of a satisfactory Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) compliance program in financial institutions.

How One Bank Intends to Implement CECL – And Maybe Even Do It Early

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Main Street Bank, like thousands of other privately held or smaller financial institutions across the U.S., recently found out it will have extra time to implement the current expected credit loss (CECL) accounting standard.

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Is the ThinkBIG Conference Right for My Financial Institution?

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The first annual ThinkBIG Conference is right around the corner.

Helping Bankers Deal with Change: ThinkBIG Keynote Speaker Champions Tips For Change Management

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The current expected credit loss model, or CECL. Modernization of the Community Reinvestment Act. The shifting shape and effect of fintechs on banking. Libra and other forms of digital currency and their impact. Financial institutions are dealing with enormous change these days.

July’s Employment Report Is Just Fine

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The Aug. 2 Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report for July was about in line with expectations.

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Opacity vs. Transparency at the Federal Reserve Stress Testing Conference

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Last week, the Federal Reserve hosted a stress testing conference in Boston, MA. The conference brought together regulators, bankers, economists, and others to discuss the most important annual check on the stability of the banking system. The initial stress test conducted in 2009 was described as a “wartime” test meant to reassure the public that the system was solvent, and it was very effective.

The Importance of Managing Core Deposits 

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“I don’t think there’s any more important topic at this time in our recovery in the economy and the state of community financial institution management,” said Dave Koch, Managing Director of Advisory Services at Abrigo on the topic of core deposits.

Latest CECL FAQs

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The Financial Accounting Standards Board’s new current expected credit loss (CECL) standard, known as one of the biggest changes to bank accounting. Because of the complexities and changes that CECL brings, there are many questions surrounding implementation, potential effects, and more.

Writing Effective Credit Memos Efficiently

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Why is writing effective credit memos so vexing? Given that a credit memorandum is one of the most critical documents in the life of the loan, it would seem like a straightforward process. However, lenders, credit analysts, and other banking staff frequently seek tips for writing better credit memos.

Cybercrime Continues to Top the Leader Board:

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Cybercrime is on the rise within financial institutions and other businesses and continues to be at the forefront of the minds of those in the fraud prevention field. Bad actors are staying one step ahead of detection creating serious hard dollar losses for financial institutions.

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FASB Gives Breathing Room on CECL to Smaller SEC Filers, Private Cos

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Small public banks, privately held banks, and credit unions will get extra time to get CECL right, based on a move by the Financial Accounting Standards Board Wednesday.

The Majority of CFOs Expect a 2020 Recession – Is Your Financial Institution Ready?

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After more than a decade of steady economic expansion, many experts are forecasting an impending economic downturn. Nearly half of CFOs in the U.S.

Why It Is Critical to Update Your Core Deposit Study

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By Urum Urumoglu Senior Consultant A financial institution’s internal pricing decisions and strategies are crucial to the safety and the soundness of the organization and to its interest rate risk management process in particular.

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“We Spent All This Money on Software, Why Aren’t People Using It?”

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When a community financial institution spends a lot of money on technology, the last thing management wants is to be disappointed. It’s actually the last thing the technology provider wants as well – if the vendor plans to stay in business. The good news is that financial institutions can take several steps to ensure they avoid troublesome software integrations, says Steven Martin of Marcato Advisors, a bank consulting firm focused on achieving success with fintech.

Auditors Will Evaluate CECL Estimates as ‘Fresh Start’ From Incurred Loss Model

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A subcommittee of the AICPA task force focused on the current expected credit loss standard (CECL) has provided its first look at how auditors will approach the changes with clients, noting that CECL represents a “fresh start” from the incurred loss model.

CECL Lessons Learned

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At Abrigo, many of us eat, sleep and breathe CECL. Since the very inception of the concept of an expected loss standard back in 2012, Abrigo professionals have been paying close attention to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

How to Mitigate Ag Lending Risks

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The following article is based on the whitepaper, The Ag Lender’s Survival Guide by Rob Newberry, SVP of Credit Risk Services at Abrigo. To download the whitepaper, click here. Today, most of farmers’ cash reserves that were built up in 2012-2014 are at, or nearing, depletion.

A CECL Timeline for Credit Unions

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We are closing in on six months until the SEC filers’ CECL effective date. While credit unions have some additional runway after the November 2018 CECL delay, there is likely less time than expected.

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Why SBA Lending May Offer Growth Prospects for Credit Unions

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Business borrowers really like credit unions – when they use them. In fact, credit unions have some of the highest business-borrower satisfaction rates among all types of lenders, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest Small Business Credit Survey.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: What Can Financial Institutions Do to Become More Aware?

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Every year, it is estimated elder adults are exploited for up to $36 billion. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day aims to bring worldwide awareness to this under-reported problem. It is an international United Nations observance day that is commemorated by most countries around the globe on June 15.

Strong Deceleration of Job Growth in May

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This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its national employment situation report for May. The report was underwhelming, with just 75,000 jobs created last month – well below the 180,000 jobs expected.

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Why Do So Many Financial Institutions Avoid SBA Lending?

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SBA Lending Can Be a Hidden Gem for Some Institutions. Loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration represent an underutilized growth engine for financial institutions. With proper planning and the utilization of technology, SBA lending can boost customer acquisitions and deposits.

Why Non-PBEs Shouldn’t Bank on a CECL Delay

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Last week, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced a bill, S. 1564 , calling for a delay in the implementation of the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s current expected credit loss (CECL) standard.

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Need Staffing Relief? Here Are 5 Ways Our Suspicious Activity Monitoring Solution Can Help.

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For some people, going on vacation is a necessary break. For BSA professionals, it can be nothing but major stress.

Using Single- and Multi-Channel Fraud Detection to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse

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May 15 is National Senior Fraud Awareness Day , and while it is crucial to have a date to call attention to the nefarious actors that target the elderly, it is even more critical to make sure your institution is catching all forms of fraud that affect your customers or members, no matter their age.

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The SAFE Banking Act Update – Is Regulation for Banking CRBs on the Horizon?

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Many in the financial crimes community have been waiting for some sort of guidance on banking cannabis-related businesses. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act was introduced to address the cannabis banking issue and the accompanying lack of banking services to the cannabis industry, forcing significant amounts of cash to be stored in vaults or underground.

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FinCEN Issues Advisory on the Financial Action Task Force Updated List of Jurisdictions with AML/CFT Deficiencies

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With all that AML professionals must do each day, sometimes important advisories and updates get overlooked. On July 12, 2019 FinCEN issued an advisory referencing the June 21, 2019 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) publication which updated its list of jurisdictions with anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) deficiencies.

Setting goals for exiting your business: Why it’s important

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By John Brown, Founder of Business Enterprise Institute, Inc. Setting goals is critically important when you approach the inevitable exit from your business. Without goals, even the strongest systems fail, as they have no purpose to work toward.

4 Criteria When Assessing a Modern-Day Loan Origination System

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The lending landscape is growing increasingly competitive, and the loan process can be frustrating and time-consuming. A loan origination system (LOS) can provide clarity to the intertwined data web that the loan lifecycle weaves , but not every LOS is built the same. Here are four critical criteria to consider when assessing a modern-day LOS for your financial institution: Implementation and integration – You don’t want to spend time and/or money on software you don’t use.

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