The rise of the chatbot (and do you need one?)

Just 15 percent of community banks have already deployed chatbots with another 19 percent planning to invest and/or implement this year. The trend is obvious. The effectiveness, perhaps, is yet to be determined. We’ve all been on the receiving end of a useless chatbot, and, let’s face it, there are a lot of useless chatbots in the world. Don’t implement a chatbot simply because “everyone else is doing it.” Think about what you hope to accomplish and examine a chatbot’s features before making a decision. [Continue]

Climate risk ahead? How your bank can prepare

Climate risk, or the risk that climate-related changes pose to financial institutions, is demanding more and more attention from researchers, regulators and boards of directors. What are the federal regulatory agencies saying about climate risk? And what are the key areas your board and senior management should begin thinking about? [Continue]

Minding your online Ps & Qs

With the number and kind of platforms available, bankers can find establishing an effective online presence a little overwhelming. How does a bank create an effective identity and reputation on social media while guarding against its pitfalls? To strike the right tone for a website, you must balance functionality and professionalism with allowing the personality of your bank to shine through. And who is it all for? [Continue]

Shaping strategy in a post-pandemic era

For many banks 2020 and 2021 had surprising results. Liquidity and capital were strong, loan growth escalated from pent up demand, and income levels were favorable. These positive trends could lead many management teams to sit back and ride the wave, living in the “here and now.” However, complacency can lead to risk. In its 2022 Bank Supervision Operating Plan, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency lists guarding against complacency as a top priority for examiners. [Continue]

Challenging times require intentional leadership

Two years ago, after buying my first pair of Brooks running shoes, I wrote about how its CEO (a former highschool classmate) pulled the upstart shoemaker from a cliff’s edge and made it relevant in a market dominated by Nike, Adidas and Skechers. He saved the company through a combination of tough and bold decision-making. I’m not a runner, but I appreciate the fit of my Brooks shoes and have been impressed by the way the company has engendered loyalty for its brand by fostering communities of elite runners.  [Continue]

How to weather this economic storm — and the next

We’re in the midst of an economic downturn characterized by inflation and ballooning interest rates. Geopolitical instability is the new normal. In this challenging environment, community banks have an opportunity to prepare for any shocks and aftershocks on the horizon. In the process, they’ll come out stronger than ever before. [Continue]

Avoid cyber pitfalls through proper training

The cost of staying ahead of security challenges continues to rise for banks. Anand Naik, cofounder and CEO of cybersecurity tech firm Sequretek, shares his thoughts on the state of enterprise cybersecurity and how banks can best prepare for today’s threat environment.  [Continue]

Regulators propose CRA reform

Last month, the bank regulatory agencies issued a joint notice of proposed rulemaking to update the Community Reinvestment Act. Enacted in 1977, the law was last updated in 1995. Comments on the proposal, which is nearly 700 pages long, are due August 5. I encourage you to wade through the document and either comment directly or work with your trade group to make your voice heard. [Continue]

Building security into data strategy

The use of APIs expanded in the 1990s as use of web applications and the internet increased. Today, they’re necessary in order to integrate data between platforms. With the movement of data — particularly the highly confidential, sensitive data that banks handle — privacy and security are of paramount importance. No bank wants to make the headlines due to exposed customer data. [Continue]

Secure file transfer: Beyond point A to point B

The secure file transfer experience for the customer has to be effortless; that’s a given. Security protocols should be paramount to any vendor that provides the transfer of sensitive documents, also a given. But beyond that, secure file transfer platforms can benefit a bank in other ways, by providing behind-the-scenes automation, document storage and more. [Continue]