|Better Networking (July 2010)|
What networking tips can you share with fellow bankers?
Monica Watson, vice-president and senior internal auditor, Corporate Audit-CSBB Banking Center Channel, Bank of America.
I always hear from fellow industry folks, “Let’s do lunch sometime,” or “I’ll call you.” I will wait a reasonable period of time (maybe one month) and if I haven’t heard from them, I send an appointment for lunch. Almost always they are glad you reached out to them for lunch. I especially like the lunches as it provides an opportunity to remain current on hot topics and to bank goodwill for later when you need to reach out to contacts. It is also a good idea to join and volunteer for a professional group that is specific to your part of the industry. That is also a great way to find out about current openings in your area of expertise that may not be posted externally.
Virgil L. Miller, Jr., senior vice-president, Metropolitan National Bank, $1.5 billion-assets, Little Rock, Ark.
I believe that there is nothing more powerful than a handwritten note to follow up with someone. I know in today’s tech happy world we are all so comfortable with sending someone an email, but when someone takes the time to send you a handwritten note, think about how it makes you feel? It makes you feel special. I have never seen anybody keep an email as a souvenir but I have seen plenty of handwritten notes. I understand that an email has its place but sometimes a handwritten note has its place also.
Making Loan Workouts Work
What is your bank doing to deal with the workout challenge?
Billie Wade, president and CEO, Citizens Union Bank, $715.9 million-assets, Shelbyville, Ky.
We have formed a “workout committee” that consists of several senior executives, our risk manager, and three directors. We moved a senior market executive who had previous workout experience with a large bank into a full-time workout position.
We also use a law firm with expertise in collection as consultants to the committee. At least one of the lawyers is in attendance by phone or in person at all committee meetings.
The credits assigned to this committee are primarily larger, more complex ones. The committee in general deals with 8 to 12 credits at any time. Our collection department is still dealing with remaining credits that are delinquent or experiencing problems.
William Grant, chairman and CEO, First United Bank and Trust, $1.7 billion-assets, Oakland, Md.
We have complied with the 2009 commercial real estate guidance. We have also added additional resources to the workout area. We balance carefully the regulatory mandates with helping our customers through a very difficult time. We have staff dedicated to workouts. Their efforts are reviewed to determine if the loan is impaired, if a loss is probable, and whether a workout amounts to a troubled debt restructuring. We also have specialized staff working with other real estate owned.
Getting Value From Travel for Training and Education
Travel budgets make tempting targets. Yet bankers risk getting stale.
Patti Steele, president and CEO, First Volunteer Bank of Tennessee, $639.8 million-assets, Chattanooga
Something we do to ensure that conferences and conventions pay off is insist on hearing back about what the employee sent to the event got out of it. Every employee who travels to a meeting must make a presentation about what they saw, heard, and learned. In this way, it not only helps solidify what they brought back in their own minds—the notes and PowerPoints don’t just sit under their desk in a canvas bag—but they formally spread the benefits among relevant coworkers. No one—including me—is exempt.
Frank Campbell, president and CEO, Pilgrim Bank, $159.9 million-assets, Cohasset, Mass.
I have two philosophies on sending my staff out of town for industry events. First, I tend to look on conferences as a reward for performance. Those who do well for the bank have the opportunity to have career growth. Second, what I just said doesn’t mean I’m sending them on a couple of days vacation with some business discussions thrown in. We expect anyone who travels at bank expense to bring back something of value that they heard that we can apply right here.
The electronic version of this article available at: http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/sb/ababj0710/index.php?startid=19
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