Archive for June, 2011
When Lightening Strikes
Lightning has the power to tear through buildings, shatter walls made of brick and concrete, and ignite deadly fires. The potential for losses due to equipment damage, personal injury and business interruptions caused by lightning can be detrimental to any business.
In conjunction with Lightning Safety Week (June 19-25), Agility offers the following recommendations to protect your businesses against power surges and lightning strikes:
- Install a Lightning Protection System – A lightning protection system (LPS) consists of a lightning rod and air terminal mounted on the top of your building. LPS’s are used to ground destructive lightning; protecting your building and other assets. For proper installation practices, download FEMA’s educational whitepaper.
- Use Surge Protectors –To protect your electrical equipment, UL-listed surge arrestors should be installed on the main electrical service panel, as well as incoming phone, cable, satellite and data lines. Surge protectors/arrestors prevent damaging electrical surges from entering your building via power transmission lines. Click here for additional information on electrical surge protection.
I invite you to view “Harnessing Analytics Across the Customer Life Cycle,” an insightful, 12-minute slidecast hosted by Harland Clarke Marketing Services with Forrester Research. In the first of our three-part Summer Slidecast Series, Srividya Sridharan, analyst for Forrester Research, and Stephen Nikitas, senior marketing strategist for Harland Clarke, will share best practices in data analytics and practical steps on how to use this data more efficiently and effectively for your financial institution.
This brief slidecast is a combined audio podcast conversation and slideshow that you can view at your convenience. There’s no need to register. To view it, simply follow the link I’ve provided.*
Click here to learn how you can put analytics to work for your institution.
Randy Clark, Account Executive at Harland Clarke
Telephone: (800) 723-1470
Office: (603) 635-2147
Cell: (603) 508-2521
Communication is Key
The ability to communicate, and communicate well, is one of the biggest factors in business success. This is true in almost any situation but it’s critical at a time of crisis.
In today’s 24/7 world of continuous communication, it is imperative your employees know how to communicate both internally and externally before, during, and after a disaster. Putting together an effective crisis communication plan can prevent further damage to your company’s image while creating a sense of security within.
The following resources will help you develop a clear and concise plan.
- Agility’s Crisis Communications Planning Checklist will help you develop and execute a well-rounded communications strategy. Click here to download.
- Free webinar on June 21: “Crisis Communications Planning – The Keystone of Disaster Recovery Response”. Hosted by Agility and the Small Business Administration. Click here to register.
As the regulatory environment becomes increasingly challenging, we are pleased to introduce a new examination tracking service in coordination with other state banking associations across the country. The new Regulatory Feedback Initiative (RFI) will bring transparency and accountability to the regulatory exam process and will help every bank prepare for their examinations and manage their regulatory risk.
The Initiative consists of a brief, anonymous online survey that we are asking you to complete immediately following each examination. This will allow us to track regulatory practices from state to state and from regulator to regulator. Identifying inconsistencies and misguided regulatory treatment has never been more important given the avalanche of new rules required by Dodd-Frank.
The online survey is administered by an independent, third party with a track record in collecting anonymous feedback from bank customers and employees (Allegiance, Inc.). The survey is completely anonymous and because the data is only available in aggregate form, there is no way it can be tracked back to your institution.
The resulting database of examination experiences will be a powerful resource for the entire industry. We will be able to prepare a custom “Exam Preparation Report” for individual banks which will include a summary of all the reports filed by similarly situated banks (i.e. asset size, primary regulator, region, etc.)
The database will also be a powerful tool we can use to identify regulatory problems in real time so we can work with the various regulatory agencies to make necessary changes in the examination process. All regulatory agencies have reviewed the surveys and are interested in the information it will provide.
As we launch this initiative through August 31st, we are asking you to complete one survey for your most recent safety and soundness examination and one survey for your most recent compliance exam, regardless of when they occurred. This will get the database populated. Then beginning September 1st you can request a customized “Exam Preparation Report” to see what other banks in your peer group have been experiencing. Going forward, you will be able to get a report indicating recent exam experiences by other peer banks in Massachusetts, New England and across the U.S.
You can get more information about the initiative at the Alliance of Bankers Associations website,including paper copies of the survey so that you can prepare your answers before you go online to take the survey.
When you are ready to take the survey, click the link below – it is the only way to access the confidential survey.
**TAKE THE SURVEY**
This is a long-term initiative that will become a vital part of our efforts to improve the regulatory environment for our member banks. We hope you will integrate this survey into the regulatory process at your bank.
Daniel J. Forte
We are pleased to introduce the 2011 Social Security Number Verification manual. This 26th annual edition includes 2011 updates to the SSN data base, but starting June 2011, the Social Security Administration will begin to assign numbers at random, precluding the ability of bankers to determine from the number the approximate age and geographic origins of the person providing the SSN.
Since mid-2010, the long-running, highly-respected advisory service and newsletter, The Advisor, has gone “green”, with delivery via email to subscribers in an electronic format. Articles, sources or Web sites mentioned in the newsletter are hyperlinked and just one click away for readers to download, making The Advisor a powerful tool for financial institution security and BSA officers and risk managers. The electronic format also enables each e-issue to be archived and fully searchable. The electronic format also makes it easy to share individual articles with colleagues within the institution.
All Bank Secrecy Act products offered through NABS Profit Protection have been updated to reflect the overhaul and renumbering of the BSA regulations. The changes became final March 1, 2011, along with updated forms starting March 7th and continuing today. For the first time, an electronic version of books and manuals is being offered in tandem with the hard copy.
Get the 7th and Latest Edition of Procedures for Preparing a CTR and save $15 on the video, “Principles of Preparing a CTR”. Completely revised for 2011, including the latest form changes, to comply with FinCEN’s reorganization of Title 31, Chapter X – the rules implementing the Bank Secrecy Act. This easy-to-use handbook, available with a new bookmarked PDF format, provides a thorough understanding of the Large Currency Transaction Report; illustrates in detail how each item on the CTR should be completed for any given transaction; and enables financial institution employees to quickly and easily find answers to CTR completion questions when they arise. Includes a proficiency test to administer to employees during training for measuring their understanding of CTR regulations and forms.
For more information or to order any Bank Security publication or manual, simply click here or the box to the right. NABS Profit Protection has been endorsed by the Association since 1986.
Please click here for an invitation to another thought provoking Webinar conducted by the Association-sponsored Employee Assistance Plan (EAP)—AllOne Health Resources. This Green Living Webinar, titled “Trash Talk,” is scheduled on Tuesday, July 19, at 12:00 noon, 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. EST. Instructions for accessing the webinar are in the announcement. We hope you and your employees find the information useful and interesting!
Robert E. Messing
Director of Administration, Group Insurance Services
One Washington Mall, 8th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02108-2603
Tel. (617) 523-7595
Fire up the AC; the hot and humid days of summer have arrived. More than 300 record highs were broken or matched this week spanning from the Midwest to the Northeast.
As temperatures rise, it’s important to remember, extreme heat can produce electrical brownouts. Having a backup plan for power loss can prevent short-term interruptions from becoming long-term pain. To avoid unexpected interruptions this summer, protect your technology with an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) and have charged laptops, with back-up batteries, on-hand for employees.
While extreme heat can wreak havoc on computers and other electrical devices, it also poses a serious threat to the well-being of your family and your employees. During the summer months, more people in this country die from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined. Click here for some informative tips on how to stay safe and cool this summer.
In conjunction with Pearl Meyer & Partners, we are pleased to announce the availability of the 2011 Bank Director Compensation and Governance Practices Survey results.
This year 63 Massachusetts institutions participated in the survey, and there were a total of 85 participating institutions across the Northeast region. This represents an overall increase of nearly 24% in participating institutions over the previous publication in 2009!
If your organization participated in the survey, Pearl Meyer & Partners will contact you shortly to allow you to purchase the results. If your organization did not participate, you can still purchase the survey results by contacting Pearl Meyer & Partners at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ken Cardinal at (508) 630-1473.
The survey fee for 2011 is $650. Non-Participants may purchase the report for $1,350.
Thank you for making the 2011 Bank Director Compensation Survey a success.
Peter. T. Blanchard
Executive Director, Education Management
and Member Services
Although overall fraud rates are down, the need for offering protection still greatly exists.
In the past year, the total number of identity fraud victims and dollar amount of fraud has declined1. This is excellent news, as consumers are being more careful, and the variety of products offered by Financial Institutions, third parties, and independently are gaining adoption. While identity fraud overall has become less frequent in America, the results of the crime have graver repercussions for consumers than they have in past years. Victims of identity fraud, on average, spend more than $630 to restore their good name. This is up from around $390 last year. And, this still translates to identity theft occurring every 4 seconds and 3.5 percent of Americans over 18 years of age becoming victims.
Offer your customers the identity fraud protection they deserve – a robust, comprehensive solution that employs a combination of benefits to address each area of risk. Offering an identity fraud solution from Affinion helps your customers prevent, detect, and resolve identity theft-related issues while helping you strengthen customer acquisition, loyalty, and satisfaction and improve overall customer profitability.
Don’t let one of your customers become the next identity fraud statistic. Contact Misha Bleymaier at 1-800-251-2148 ext 2492 today for more information on fraud protection solutions.
1 Javelin Strategy and Research. 2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report.