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Teach Children to Save adds lesson plans and additional curriculum

TeachChildrenSaveLogoABA has released new modules to supplement its Teach Children to Save curriculum that are designed to inspire young students to pursue careers in banking. The three “Bankers and You” teaching modules target different grade levels with age-appropriate lessons that highlight how banks help the community, what it takes to be a banker and potential careers in the banking industry.

“America’s banks employ more than 2 million people with various backgrounds, skill sets and job functions,” said Corey Carlisle, the Foundation’s executive director. “These modules will introduce the next generation to the many ways banks support their communities and the breadth of career paths they offer.”

These new resources supplement ABA’s Teach Children to Save program, a national campaign that encourages banker volunteers to present savings lessons to schools or youth groups in their local communities. Now in its 20th year, the program has helped more than 245,000 bankers bring financial literacy lessons to more than 8.2 million students. Teach Children to Save Day will be observed on April 28, but bankers can hold their lessons throughout the year.

A free informational webinar on the new “Bankers and You” modules will be held on April 7 at 1 p.m. CDT. Bankers can also learn more about Teach Children to Save, ask questions and share best practices by participating in a live Twitter chat today at 1 p.m. CDT using the hashtag #TeachChildrentoSave.   Register for the webinar.  Learn more about Teach Children to Save.

Study: Mobile pay adoption remains low, but incentives motivate

fintechWhile just 25 percent of U.S. consumers with an eligible smartphone are using mobile payments, according to a new survey conducted by Auriemma Consulting Group, incentives provided by merchants and financial institutions can help drive growth in this channel. Customers offered incentives were about 50 percent more likely to use mobile payments at the retail point of sale. Of consumers using mobile payments, nearly one-third say they were offered an incentive to do so, and 86 percent of those offered an incentive claimed it by paying at the point of sale or in their app. Banks are offering incentives less often, according to the study, and merchant-funded offers now account for the largest share of incentives offered. Click here to read more.

ADA Website Accessibility Tools

checkmarkThe Department of Justice recently published an “ADA Best Practices Tool Kit,” which includes website accessibility guidance and a checklist that can be used to verify compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

While the tool kit is primarily geared toward state and local governments, which are governed by Title II of the ADA, it will be helpful to banks working on improving website accessibility. The DOJ has indicated that the Title II rulemaking will significantly impact the website accessibility standards ultimately promulgated under the Title III regulations, which are expected to be issued in 2018. For additional background on DOJ expectations see the February “The Disclosure” article, “Is Your Website Accessible to the Visually Impaired” here.

The guidance identifies common website accessibility problems and proposes solutions and other considerations that are useful in developing ADA compliant websites. It also includes a detailed action plan for making existing web content accessible. The checklist is intended to guide preliminary assessments of website accessibility, and policies and procedures for maintaining website accessibility.

New HMDA Tools

house.1jpgThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has made available a second webinar on the 2015 HMDA final rule (which in large part becomes effective Jan. 1, 2018) that discusses identifiers, as well as other data points including those related to applicants and borrowers. The webinar is pre-recorded and can be viewed on-demand on YouTube here.

In addition, the CFPB has created and made available on its website a chart to illustrate the options a financial institution has for collecting and reporting ethnicity and race information under current Regulation C, Regulation C effective Jan. 1, 2018, and the CFPB’s Official Approval Notice (issued on Sept. 23, 2016). The new one-page chart, titled “Collection and Reporting of HMDA Information about Ethnicity and Race” can be found on the CFPB HMDA implementation page here.

A CSR at Every Desk

by Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional


Jeff Rendel

In 2015, a related article — “A CEO at Every Desk” — explained how front line leaders – in our customers’ eyes – are the CEOs of every “moment and transaction.” When our customers meet our front line more often than they visit with our executives, it makes sense that leadership for customers is local. Many bank leaders designed training sessions and systems to create an executive presence through all levels of their banks.

Fast forward two years later where a feature in one bank’s Statement of Values read, “We all hold the title of Customer Service Representative.” This bank realized that “the CSR in all of us” must appreciate that every customer adds to a bank’s success and we must value that contribution in how we go about our daily duties. “Regardless of how often we actually see customers,” the bank’s CEO said, “We must design our day around the question, ‘How will I serve my customer?’”

How do the various levels and departments of a bank integrate this CSR presence of mind in daily duties? Here are some recommendations.

Front-Facing Leaders. For tellers, call center agents, loan officers, branch managers, and any bank leader who works with customers every hour of the day; your mission is simple: Serve your customers, build great relationships with your customers, and increase your customers’ financial well-being. In the end, we want our customers to profit as a result of their relationships with our banks. Always be on the lookout for ways to be good news for your customers, building their financial security one experience at a time.

Behind-the-Scenes Leaders. While deposits and loans build the business base for our banks – accounting, human resources, card processing, IT, and more keep the gears in motion. These leaders serve customers with their skills that ensure a seamless customer experience. Accuracy, staff expertise, and uptime are just a few ways that service to customers extends beyond the branch. Some might argue – with much success – that behind-the-scenes leadership is increasingly important in a mobile world where fewer customers visit our branches.

Executive Leaders. While everyday interactions with customers are less common, vice presidents and C-Level leaders have great influence on how a bank serves customers. Frequently, schedule time to visit branches and meet some of your customers. Often, some old-fashioned “lobby talk” can reinforce or clarify what management reports divulge. Also, meet with your front-facing and behind-the-scenes leaders and describe how their roles benefit customers and your bank. It’s encouraging for them to understand that front line and back office operations are significant. Lastly, consider adding “How does this affect our customers?” to every meeting agenda. A few banks even arrange for an empty seat at every meeting, representing “the customer,” a reminder for executives as they plan for their bank’s success.

Our customers are vital to our banks. Regardless of our titles, the results of our jobs all flow to delivering economic value to customers. “We all hold the title of Customer Service Representative,” says one bank. As leaders, may we always remember – and act upon – the drivers of success for all of our banks – our customers.

Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional, and President of Rising Above Enterprises works with banks that want entrepreneurial results in leadership, sales, and strategy.  Each year, he addresses and facilitates for more than 100 banks and their business partners.

Fintech Guidance from Federal Reserve

fintechIn early January, because of the strong interest in this emerging market, the Federal Reserve published a special fintech edition of “Consumer Compliance Outlook.” This issue includes the following articles and features:

  • Perspectives on Fintech: A Conversation with Gov. Lael Brainard
  • Fintech: Balancing the Promise and Risks of Innovation
  • Fintech for the Consumer Market: An Overview
  • Fintech Resources: Laws, Regulations and Supervisory Guidance

The Art of Execution

by Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional


Jeff Rendel

“I’ll take a well-executed, one-page, written-on-a-legal pad strategic plan over a poorly (if at all) executed, twenty-page, four-color, complete with charts and graphs strategic plan any day. Substance over style – all day long.” Those are the words of a large bank’s CEO as he discussed the value of executing for results. Slapdash, one might think, of his remarks. Effective, others might believe, when recognizing that directors and executives place a premium on the art of execution.

What makes for successful execution? One hundred plus C-level bank leaders provided their insights to that straightforward question. To them, three behaviors stood out as making the biggest difference in the most significant executive skill – execution.

Be precise and disciplined. Coming out of a strategic planning session, it’s easy to be enthusiastic and jump right in to busy undertakings. But, does all of the commotion lead to strategic success? Several CEOs shared that their most valuable tactical planning sessions focused on insisting that all decisions support an end strategic objective. “One of our objectives is to ‘Increase the Measured Lifetime Value of All Customers,’” said one CEO. “That in mind, we ask how every refined and new action – from my desk to the drive-through window – supports lifetime value. Our discipline and connection to a strategic element give us clear direction in all that we do.”

Stretch your team. Like it or not, when CEOs set stretch goals, it changes performance. Too much pressuring can lead to doubting motivations or loss of support; however, the right amount of challenge increases commitment and determination. One CEO described how his team had developed a reasonable and well-designed sales and business development plan that would be fully functioning in 18 months. “What would it take for us to accomplish this in 15 months?” he asked his team. “Include my role, too,” he insisted. He left the room and brought back lunch a few hours later, discovering a better plan for execution than before. In the end, the plan was executed in 13 months, and the team was more engaged and self-assured than before.

Settle conflict with confidence right away. Conflict is natural, especially when a team is composed of leaders from many functional areas. With any project or endeavor, differences will arise, often due to limited resources, time, and patience (personalities are always in the mix). “In every meeting, I ask, ‘What roadblocks are you facing?’ explained one CEO. “I note these challenges on a whiteboard for all parties to see. I also write the objective of our meeting and ask what step – and I ask for one step only – moves us closer to success and away from this test. More often than not, the parties settle the difference and move forward without a need for me to step in. We’re more unified as a team, and I’m a better executive because I kept us moving forward in spite of the trials.”

Leadership experts loosely define “execution” as “the ability to achieve goals and objectives.” Several bank leaders who contributed to this article added “the ability to help others achieve goals and objectives.” Apply your peers’ wisdom as a catalyst in your growth as an executive, working more effectively on your own part and teaching your team leaders how they can do the same.

Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional, and President of Rising Above Enterprises works with banks that want entrepreneurial results in leadership, sales, and strategy.  Each year, he addresses and facilitates for more than 100 banks and their business partners.