Worth Putting after Your Name: Four Persons Who Earned Their Designation as a Certified Financial Marketing Professional (CFMP) Discuss the Value of Certification, What It Has Meant to Them and How It Has Benefited Their Organizations

Article excerpt

Your accountant has one. Your financial adviser has one. Your information technologist has one. They all have professional certifications. Today, almost every industry offers certifications. So, it is not surprising that the bank marketing field also offers certification.

What is certification and why is it useful to practitioners in the area of financial services marketing?

Certification is "the practice of qualifying an individual to perform in a job or occupation based on a minimum set of standards," according to the American Society for Training and Development. "That means a professional body or organization has come together to set standards concerning what an individual should be able to know, do and be in a given field. That organization has also created a measurement tool (exam) to sample that performance."

The Institute of Certified Bankers (ICB), a subsidiary of the American Bankers Association, is a leading industry provider of financial services certifications, including the Certified Financial Marketing Professional (CFMP) designation for financial services marketing professionals.

In this article, four persons who received their CFMP designation share their thoughts on the value of the credential. They are Jeff M. Bargerhuff, senior vice president and marketing director of Nevada State Bank, Las Vegas, Nev.; Patrice Brusko, vice president and marketing manager, Harleysville National Bank, Harleysville, Pa.; Bruce A. Clapp, president of MarketMatch, Clayton, Ohio; and Alisha JR Johnson, senior vice president and director of marketing, Highland Bank, St. Paul, Minn.

The questions were posed by Mark DeBaugh, marketing and communication manager for ABA's Institute of Certified Bankers.

Why should a financial services marketing professional become certified?

Brusko: It's a recognizable designation that indicates to peers, bank management and vendors your level of experience and training.

Bargerhuff: For marketers in community banks, it provides the generalist training needed to successfully run a small marketing department. For marketing professionals in a large organization, it provides the additional training necessary to advance to the next career level.

Johnson: Although it is not an exact analogy, the CFMP is intended to do for bank marketing something similar to what the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation does for the accounting industry. When you look at people with a CPA, you know immediately that they are not just accountants, but rather accountants who are on top of their game. In a like way, the CFMP is intended to highlight the knowledge and expertise necessary to be a successful financial services marketer.

What value does your certification bring to your organization?

Brusko: With vendors and competitors, it positions our organization and the marketing function as knowledgeable and respected.

Bargerhuff: As a marketing manager, I see the designation as a way to assist my staff with their career development plans. It is a road map of what skills they need to develop in order to take on more demanding projects or job assignments.

Clapp: It brings a sense of excellence and a "mark of approval" for our firm. Having a principal of our firm with the CFMP credential helps us stand out in the field and denotes we are in the "trenches" along with our clients and have committed time, effort and resources to stay abreast of industry information and trends.

How does certification fit into one's professional development?

Bargerhuff: If you're relatively new to the industry, it provides a formalized approach concerning what subjects you need to master in order to advance your marketing skill set. If you're more experienced, it proves that you have financial institution marketing-specific experience and knowledge.

One advantage is that if two individuals applied for a marketing position and both were about equal, I, as a hiring manager, will pick the one with a certification over someone who doesn't have the certification. …