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Shall I Continue?


It has been sooo long since I have posted on this blog.  The biggest reason for my absence is due to the fact that I left my small bank position and went back to (gasp!):  Big Bank!  Well the best big bank in the world entered my market and when a co-worker and I heard about it, we set out to join that bank.  My interest level was very high because I know how technologically advanced they are in Treasury Management.  Well it has been almost one year and I have not had a second of regret.  My last assignment at a big bank was in a sales management position.  I pretty much have learned my lesson that management is not where I want to be.  I do think I am a good leader – I had a great team reporting to me but the worst part was not managing my team but rather managing up.  I suspect that this might not be the case at every big bank but I am very gun shy about having to be in the middle of all that “spin” again.  So I am loving life and living back in the trenches.  I have my own little world that stays in balance as long as I get the job done.  That leads me to this blog.  Its genesis was to tout the benefits of being a client in a small bank.  I am still a very firm believer that a small bank can be a very wonderful place for a small business to bank. Small business bankers are a great lot.  And community banks make it their mission to take care of their business clients.  But I can’t take sides anymore.  The best bank for your business is the one that best meets your needs.  And that can cover a whole lotta’ ground!

Now that I have determined that I can still get into WordPress, and if I can find the time, I might continue posting here.

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Ladies – a banking career could be hazardous to your livelihood


In reading some of the news outlet articles and blogs I follow, I was struck recently by two stories around the misfortunes of women in banking.  The first article referred to a “Hit and Run Bandit” who has been knocking down women bank employees and stealing the money bags they were carrying.  Apparently 9 such crimes have occurred in California since May 19th.  One of the women attacked is in her 70s and she suffered a broken hip after being knocked to the ground.  They have a suspect in custody.  I am trying to think of what these women would be doing with bank bags outside of the branch and the only thing that comes to mind is restocking an outside ATM.  Aren’t 2 people required to handle this function?

The second article discusses female bank employees but they were not innocent victims in this case.   The “Don Juan” bandit has been convicted in Philadelphia after apparently running a large ID theft ring with the help of girlfriends working on the inside at various banks.  These women ended up providing him with account information which allowed him to steal more than $1 million.  Included among the implicated was a Wachovia Bank teller and a PNC bank branch manager.  He must have been some Don Juan.

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Get Ready for New Internet Addresses


Internet domain endings such as .com, .org, and .net are expanding from the current 22 offerings to possibly hundreds of new domains.  A plan was approved by the governing body of internet names (ICANN) on June 20 which will create an exponentially larger universe of website names.  One of those new domain endings will be “.bank” which has the banking industry aflutter as they want to make sure that the use of such a financial domain will protect the interest and security of banks and bank customers.  The American Bankers Association is actually looking into whether they may want to apply to become a registrar for “.bank” to prevent misuse of the domain.  According to ICANN, any entity expecting to secure rights to and run a new domain can expect to pay a $185,000 application fee in addition to spending up to $2 million in start-up costs and $2 million a year on operations and infrastructure costs.  At that price tag it will be interesting to see if there are any takers. 

According to ICANN, they have “opened the Internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination. … We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind,” said Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN.  “We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of ICANN’s Board of Directors.

Internet address names will be able to end with almost any word in any language, offering organizations around the world the opportunity to market their brand, products, community or cause in new and innovative ways.

This is some lofty talk here:   unleash the global human imagination, better serve all of mankind, provide a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.…Gosh, I’m tingling all over just from reading the words.

The application period will be from January 12, 2012 until April 12, 2012.

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Blind can now “See” Currency Notes


Image of the EyeNote trademarked logo, an eye in a pyramid.

Blind and visually impaired people can now use a downloadable app to aid them in knowing exactly how much money they have in their hands.  The app is called EyeNote and it is designed to work with the Apple iPhone and 4G iPod Touch and iPad2 platforms.  It is available through Apple iTunes.

The app uses a mobile device’s camera to scan the front or back of the currency/note/bill and in a matter of seconds, it provides an audible or vibrating response.  It is able to identify all Federal Reserve currency notes issued since 1996.  From a handheld device and with a circular motion, the app can detect the denomination within 2-4 seconds.  Spoken output can be in English or Spanish and it can also identify the front and back to help with vending machine operation.  When discretion is required, pulses are emitted indicating the denomination:  one dollar is 1 pulse, two dollars is 2 pulses, five dollars is 3 pulses, ten dollars is 4 pulses, and so on.

Unfortunately the device cannot authenticate real notes from counterfeit notes.

This app was developed by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP).  It is free and it is available at www.eyenote.gov.

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Home is Not What it Used to Be


While home is still where the heart is, it is no longer where a good value is.  Yep, apparently home ownership is not all it is cracked up to be and home owners are being encouraged to look elsewhere for long-term investment returns.  According to Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, housing prices in some areas may not rebound long-term.  Low population growth in certain regions of the country along with the long-term effects of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression will keep prices from rising.  “It’s sobering to think, but some people shouldn’t be thinking of (their home) as an asset,” Moynihan said on Tuesday, April 12th at the 2011 National Association of Attorneys General conference.  He also added “they should be thinking of it as a great place to live.”  Moynihan went on to further explain that the gains in the past were due to the explosion in the domestic population as well as the relaxation of credit standards in mortgage underwriting.  Given the swinging of the pendulum around credit standards as well as a slowing rate of population increase, the trend is not expected to continue.

Personally, I am not sure if I can accept the premise that home ownership is worth less now.  We grew up believing in the value of home ownership.  I don’t think conclusions can be drawn around how people may begin to think about their homes differently, given that they may not appreciate in value.   While you can look for higher returns on investment elsewhere, can you find a better investment if your ROI objective is sanctuary?  For me, there is no better investment.

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