Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

A Gold Mine May Be Sitting on Your Desk

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

A Gold Mine May Be Sitting on Your Desk

Article excerpt

It's time for spring spruce-up, for fixing-up, and catching-up. nd ABA members have two of the best tool boxes that have ever been designed and equipped for community banks.

One is the Toolbox for the Future. Open the cover and you'll see five main sections to this practical kit:

1. Financial Services for Tomorrow's Customers

2. Technology: The Information Strategy

3. Your Employees: Unleashing the Potential

4. It's Performance That Counts

5. Using Regulations to Your Advantage

There is also an appendix: Knowing Your Competitors. Seeing that, you might think, "Heck, I don't need to know them better. What I need is help to beat them." That's understandable, but it does bring you back to the first "tray" in your toolbox, which focuses on customers. So dig in. Write your bank's profile on present customers. Then study a changing profile for 199596 and extend it to the year 2000. There are some stimulating insights in that exercise. But they won't do you much good if you don't use them or adopt them.

If you already have your copy of Toolbox for the Future but it's sitting on a shelf in your office, try this suggestion: Assign each section to a person in the bank and ask them to evaluate it. Then, schedule a special meeting to be held in two weeks, and ask them to present ways the bank can use any of the ideas or techniques in the toolbox. Two days before that meeting, have each one give you a briefing on what they propose so any overlaps can be reduced and costs or time commitments are known by you.

Now spend some time in a similar manner with the Fair Lending Toolbox. In my calls on banks, there is a unanimous position of "Our bank will not discriminate in such areas as race, color, religion, sex, handicap, national origin, or familial status." Banks have really taken to heart this broad concept and are working conscientiously at it. They've run training sessions in conjunction with ABA's Skylink satellite training network, with the state associations, or on their own.

But details, nuances, "special" circumstances, and rumors of severe and subjectively based crackdowns have many bankers worried, even apprehensive. …

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