A celebration of holding companies

The Bank Holding Company Association was formed in fall of 1981, four years prior to the start of my career as a banking industry journalist. I remember covering some of those BHCA seminars in the 1980s when the farm crisis and the S&L mess were raging. [Continue]

Deploying chatbots? Consider the ethics

If your community bank is thinking of rolling out an online loan application program, or any more complex product offering, you will likely have to make choices about a digital helper and how it interacts with customers. [Continue]

Ag bankers, farmers seek solutions to 2022’s challenges

Farmers have spent 2022 working through challenges like rising inflation and supply chain delays, just like other businesses and consumers across America have had to do. Those who make their living in agriculture, and the ag bankers who work with them, have needed to think even more creatively and constructively than usual. [Continue]

Handle departure with compassion

What banks (and really, any industry) can learn from the current spike in layoffs is that former employees can be quite vocal about their last moments with a company. Consider mortgage company Better.com’s callous firing of 900 people via Zoom.  [Continue]

Investor groups allow banks to retain community-based ownership

Two years ago, the future of the family-owned Iowa Falls State Bank was uncertain. The Barlow family — siblings John Barlow, Pam Angstman, Cinda Classon and their children — had spent 15 years working on a transition plan to shift active ownership of the $153 million, central Iowa-based bank to the next generation of their family. [Continue]

New Alerus CEO executing growth strategy

In Phoenix in the summer, you expect temperatures in the triple digits. But for Alerus, the Valley of the Sun isn’t just hot; it’s the current hotbed where it looks to grow its four business verticals — what CEO Katie Lorenson calls the bank’s “holistic” approach to banking. [Continue]