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The Society of Bank Executives offers opportunities for professional development

As the deadline to sign up for the Society of Bank Executives pre-launch session quickly approaches on July 30, c-suite bankers and executive team members are reminded to use this opportunity to invest in their own professional development for the benefit of their entire team.

The Society of Bank Executive, officially launching in January 2023, is offering Wisconsin bankers the ability to participate in the Society’s pre-launch session starting this August. Bankers receive a 25% discount for two years when they sign up before July 30, 2022.

The pre-launch session will focus on honing the skills of trust and team building of bank executives from around the country. During the four-month session, bankers will have the opportunity to hear from Doug Faber, consultant at Franklin Covey during a virtual presentation on “the speed of trust” as well as Casey Thompson, principal consultant at The Table Group during a virtual presentation on “trust and the dysfunctions of a team”. All virtual presentations will also be available on demand for 30 days after the live event.

In addition to learning from experts — Wisconsin bankers are also invited to join bank executives from around the country in Sun Valley, Idaho for a two-day networking event. Not only does this event offer bankers the ability to expand their networks outside of their typical markets, bankers will also be able to share tips from their experience and ask questions of their peers.

The pre-launch session will wrap up in November with a virtual refection moderated by Dr. Paul Godfrey, Society of Bank Executive’s academic advisor. In this final meeting, bankers will reflect on the previous meetings and how they will be able to implement their personal strategy to leverage the power of trust.

Learn more about the Society of Bank Executive by visiting www.executives.bank/home.

This year’s event centers around the theme “Rise”

The Wisconsin Banker’s Association is thrilled to announce that the annual Bank Executives Conference will be back in person February 9–11, 2022 at the Kalahari Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells. This is the premiere event for bank leaders in the state. The theme of this year’s event will be “Rise.” Wisconsin bankers have risen to the occasion over the course of the pandemic, and this conference will address what it will take to be resilient and relevant in 2022.

Networking

Being back in person opens the door for the kind of networking opportunities that bank leaders have been craving for nearly two years. The conference will kick off with a networking reception on Wednesday evening, but bankers are invited and encouraged to arrive earlier for optional afternoon “banker-only” peer group discussions starting at 2:30 p.m. Peer group discussions are geared toward the roles of CEOs, CFOs, credit and lending, operations, and organizational development. Opportunities to connect with fellow bankers, WBA Associate Members, and WBA staff will be plentiful throughout the conference, with an exhibitor Marketplace providing a dedicated space for making connections.

Executive-Level Education

The WBA Bank Executives Conference brings national experts to Wisconsin, while providing tailored programming specific to the needs of banking leaders in our state. Among the trending topics that will be covered at the conference are:

  • Changes that emerged during the pandemic that are now here to stay
  • Talent recruitment and retention
  • Technology, fintech, and digital transformation
  • Cryptocurrency
  • And more!

New Hybrid Option for 2022 A livestream will allow attendees at the bank to view the keynote sessions on February 10 and 11.

The opening keynote session is titled, “Business as Unusual: How to Future-Proof Your Business in Transformational Times.” In this engaging, provocative, and insightful keynote session, acclaimed global futurist and best-selling author Jack Uldrich will not only discuss how the Coronavirus is transforming the world of tomorrow, he will explain why it is accelerating many of the trends that were already at work prior to the epidemic. History reminds us that great crises produce great change — as well as great opportunities. To take advantage of these extraordinary opportunities, businesses must position themselves now to operate in a world where “business as unusual” is the new “usual.” This session will help leaders at every level of an organization leverage ten “unconventional” techniques to succeed in today’s — and tomorrow’s — transformational times.

Dr. Chris Kuehl, managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, will present a keynote session, “2022 – The Real Recovery Year?” That honor was supposed to go to 2021, but we all know what happened over the last several months — inflation, labor shortage, supply chain breakdowns, and the repeated resurgence of the virus. Now we have these lingering issues along with the reactions — higher interest rates, efforts to restore, continued engagement by the government. The bankers have been placed squarely in the middle of all this and expected to do most of the heavy lifting. Does that continue and what can we really expect as far as growth and recovery?

For more details on programming and to view the full agenda, please visit www.wisbank.com/bec.

Banking leaders are eager to rise to the challenges ahead of them, and the conference will provide actionable tools and knowledge attendees can bring back to their banks and communities.

Recognition

The 2021 Banker of the Year will be announced at the conference, recognizing a bank CEO or president (or an individual who has recently retired from these positions) who has made an outstanding effort throughout their career in service to their bank, to their community, and to the banking profession.

The Wisconsin Bankers Foundation Financial Education Innovation Award will be presented at a special luncheon on February 10. This prestigious award recognizes a bank’s unique efforts to enhance the financial capability of consumers in their community, whether it’s a new kind of educational game for students, curriculum developed for adult seminars, or some other new or innovative approach to financial education.

The 50- and 60-Year Clubs recognize bankers who have served in the banking industry for 50 and 60 years, respectively. These awards will be presented during the special luncheon at the conference to honor professionals who have dedicated their careers to the banking industry.

Entertainment

Ope! Charlie Berens, best known to Wisconsinites for his viral video series, “The Manitowoc Minute,” will perform at the Chairman’s Dinner Program on Thursday, February 10.

Comedian, Emmy award-winning journalist, and Wisconsin native Charlie Berens — who rose to fame from his video series, “The Manitowoc Minute” — will provide the entertainment for the Chairman’s Dinner Program on February 10. Attendees can expect lots of laughs from the author of the recently released book, “The Midwest Survival Guide: How We Talk, Love, Work, Drink, and Eat. . . Everything With Ranch.” Berens has been featured on Fox, CBS, Funny or Die, TBS Digital, Variety, MTV News, and more. In 2013, he won an Emmy for “The Cost of Water” while reporting for Texas news station KDAF. “The Manitowoc Minute” series has garnered millions of views and paved the way for a sold-out standup comedy tour. Geez, Louise, this is sure to be a hilarious show you won’t want to miss!

Register

To register for the conference, please visit www.wisbank.com/bec. We look forward to seeing you Wednesday, February 9–Friday, February 11 at the Kalahari Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells!

By Erika Pierce, J.D., The Millennial Boardroom

Erika Pierce will be presenting at our November 4 WBA BOLT Winter Leadership Summit in Stevens Point. Visit the registration site to learn more!

Soft skills are skills that you learn through experience, mindfulness, and reflection. They’re your good habits, personality traits, and understanding of workplace norms. These skills are important to have for any worker, especially to those in higher positions. Possessing these skills often denotes experience, confidence, and professionalism.

If you’re chasing a new job, a higher position, or career independence, you need to develop your understanding of certain soft skills. Here are just five important important soft skills that you need to grow your career:

Communication

Being able to communicate well in a professional setting is one of the most important stepping stones to a large network and successful career.

Your communication skills dictate how well you relate with others. Being a good communicator often leads to having great workplace relationships with your co-workers, a more healthy and efficient work environment, and being a better leader.

To be a good communicator, you have to hone specific communication skills. This includes public speaking, giving clear directions, and active listening. It’s also important to hone your nonverbal communication skills, like reading body language, tone of voice/writing, and other unspoken cues.

Self-Management

While you might think that the people who go furthest in their careers are the ones that put in 60-hour work weeks and almost never seem to rest, think again. For most people, this kind of work-life balance is unsustainable and can often lead to burnout. If you want to sustainably grow your career, you need to develop your sense of self-management.

I’ve learned that once you take charge of your own career, you’re in charge of your own work-life balance. You’re the one who decides how often you work, and consequently, how stressed you are.

Knowing when to take a break and step away from your work is a skill in itself. Setting aside time for yourself allows you to reap the benefits of your hard work, and helps remind you why you want to grow even further. This leads to a healthy work-life balance and a sustainably growing career.

Marketing

Even if you aren’t a marketer, having marketing skills is important to career growth.

Knowing how to sell yourself is essential to getting hired, promoted, or even working independently. This means understanding what a company, position, or client needs and highlighting why you’re the perfect fit for the job.

Career Management

Sometimes, career growth doesn’t mean a promotion, but an opportunity elsewhere. Being able to recognize this is a skill in itself, but you should also have the drive and willingness to at least consider new career options.

I tell people that they should look at the market every now and then, even if they’re not looking for a new job, because it’s always changing. If you always know what the market is like, you might find an opening with a better salary, a more convenient location, or even at the company of your dreams.

Resilience

There’s a lot of pressure involved in growing your career. Job interviews, chasing deadlines, and application processes are just some of the pressure situations you’ll be faced with in your career. But how much you grow your career depends on how much you can handle and thrive in the face of this pressure.

There’s a reason some of the biggest career success stories are stories of resilience. When you’re growing your career, you will be faced with challenges and tough times. But the truth is that you grow the most when you’re out of your comfort zone. Understanding this will help you grow your career to new heights.

 

These are just some of the soft skills that you should develop if you want to successfully grow your career. If you want to learn more, consider joining my membership community where we share all kinds of career tips and advice.

Tactical allocation of capital is an integral component of success for every financial institution, so capital planning and strategic planning should be closely tied. Just as bank management and the board must regularly review their institution's strategic plan and make adjustments, an effective capital plan should be reviewed and recalibrated at least annually. That assessment has never been more critical, as the financial services industry approaches what could be a tumultuous period. "The full rollout of the capital conservation buffer under Basel III, CECL, and a potentially completely different economic cycle will be hitting at about the same time, so banks need to be considering and planning for that now," said Nick Hahn, director of risk advisory services at RSM US LLP. "It's a bit of a perfect storm." To adequately prepare, bank management and directors should consider the following five key factors as they look back at 2017 and forward to 2018 during the capital planning process: 

1: Strategy
The bank's strategic plan is the most significant influence on the capital plan, since different strategic goals require different capital strategies. According to Jon Bruss, managing principal and CEO of Fortress Partners Capital Management, there are several situations common to our industry that drive the need for capital: growth in assets exceeding the ability of the bank to retain earnings to support the growth, asset quality problems wiping out a large block of capital, or preparation for an acquisition as a buyer are among them. "There is no one solution that works for all banks in all situations," he said. Banks dealing with rapid growth in assets driven primarily by loan growth can fund a capital shortfall with common equity or with debt issued by a bank's holding company. "Any bank that's in the market for an acquisition and doesn't have a quote symbol for its stock is going to need to make that purchase for cash," Bruss explained. There are several options bank leadership should consider for sourcing those funds. "Cash at the holding company level can be sourced with debt raised via an investment banking firm, lent by a correspondent bank or by an offering in the communities served by the bank, each approach carrying a different cost," Bruss advised. Common equity can be used to raise cash to fund that purchase, "by selling shares to members of the community or via an investment banker-assisted community offering," he continued. "That requires thoughtful planning today, because tomorrow you may be an acquirer." 

2: Unexpected Occurrences
In addition to a yearly review, sudden, unplanned-for incidences should trigger a reassessment of the bank's capital plan. "If there's an unexpected loan charge-off that impacts your capital, for example, review your plan again then," said Lee Christensen, partner, financial institutions practice at Wipfli. "That way you know if you're on track or if you need to change the way you operate in order to get back on track." A cybersecurity breach or unanticipated findings during ALM routines and/or liquidity forecasting should also trigger a review. 

3: Competition
Today's financial services industry is highly competitive, and banks need to win against more than just their peers—credit unions, farm credit lenders, and even financial technology companies are all vying for the same customers. That can lead to dangerous choices. "You can sacrifice on term, price, or structure, and for many institutions pricing has reached the bottom, so now they're making decisions to sacrifice on term or credit risk monitoring controls, which ultimately increases credit risk," Hahn explained. "Financial institutions need to be very aware of the role competition in the market has played and how that could impact credit losses going forward and, ultimately, capital." To address this risk, Hahn recommends bank leadership maintain a thorough understanding of how potential losses could impact the balance sheet. "If we see any upticks in losses, you need to understand what's driving it and know if you need to extrapolate or do broader analysis of the portfolio in general to see if it will spread," he advised. 

4: Legislation and Regulation
Looking forward to 2018 and beyond, there are several legislative and/or regulatory factors to consider when doing capital planning. First is tax reform, which Christensen says will be a big event for banks if it comes to fruition because many banks currently hold a large amount of tax-deferred assets on their books. If Congress follows through on the plan to drop the tax rate from 34 percent to 20 percent, those assets will need to be revalued. "That will be a good thing in the long run, but it may have a negative impact in year one because the offset goes into expense, which ultimately flows into capital," Christensen explained.

Another factor to consider is Basel III's phase-in. In mid-October, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision announced a plan to break the year-long deadlock that has delayed the capital standards' implementation: setting capital floors at 72.5 percent. The measure has yet to be approved by the central bank governors and supervisors on the Basel Committee's oversight body. 

Finally, the regulatory factor looming largest over the industry: CECL. "In the year of adoption, banks will be allowed to look at their allowance as it's calculated under the old and new methods and the difference will be a one-time charge to equity," said Christensen. "We'd recommend banks preserve capital for that hit, rather than maintaining excessive allowance." However, there is still some uncertainty, as banks seem to be waiting for guidance from regulators on how to build their new models, but the regulators seem to be waiting to offer guidance until they see the models. 

5: Economic Cycle
Banks should review their capital plan more frequently during times of economic turbulence or market instability, and the next period of such agitation is on the horizon. "We're likely closer to the next recession than we are to the last one," Hahn declared. "Many institutions are making the loans that will be their next losses right now." One sector in particular where the coming downturn is apparent is in the highly cyclical agri-business arena; while not yet as severe as some previous dips, ag credits are becoming more stressed. "If and when charge-offs become necessary, the banks need to have the capital available," said Christensen. "We've gone five or six years with very minimal charge-offs. The economy has been on a relatively long upturn during that period, but it doesn't feel like it because we haven't seen the sharp incline that we had in the early 2000s."

Take Action

With these factors in mind, bank management and directors should consider the following action steps (all suggested by one or more of the experts interviewed for this article) to ensure a comprehensive, effective review of their capital plan:

  • Refer back to your original capital plan and your projections. Compare that data with what your current reports tell you.
  • Closely evaluate the 30- and 60-day reports to see if there is potential for those to extend into the 90-day past due report.
  • Adjust your approach to stress testing. Relying on probability of default—looking at what causes borrowers to default—isn't as valuable from a capital planning perspective as using loss-given testing to anticipate the bank's exposure if certain loans go bad. 
  • Understand the capital sources available to your bank in its current state and also in anticipated future states. In other words, verify that your capital plan is realistic. If your institution isn't attractive to capital markets at the time when you need capital the most, know what your alternative source of funding will be. Leveraging your third-party relationships is an important component in maintaining an accurate understanding of today's capital markets.
  • Avoid a siloed approach to reviewing capital. Other risk management exercises and models, including interest rate risk and liquidity, should all impact your capital planning process.
  • Adhere to your loan policies. Amid fierce competition and an economic expansion, it is essential for bank leadership to enforce loyalty to the bank's policies in order to prevent taking on excessive risk.

Capital planning is one of the executive team and board's most important duties, so frequent assessment and adjustment of the plan is not only a good practice from a risk management perspective, but also from a strategic perspective. 

Fortress Partners Capital Management is a WBA Associate Member. 
RSM US LLP is a WBA Gold Associate Member.
Wipfli is a WBA Silver Associate Member. 

By, Amber Seitz

As the Federal Reserve executes its strategy to slowly raise rates, net-interest margins will continue to compress. That compression makes non-interest income a key element in bank success as the primary source of earnings growth. Wisconsin banks must explore practical strategies to increase non-interest income without alienating customers or experiencing regulatory compliance violations. 

Pursue Fee Income

Since fee income is a common source of non-interest income, it is a popular first choice for many institutions. The first step in this strategy is to evaluate the bank's current fee structure. "Banks should evaluate loan fees regularly, along with new product and services fees," said Kirsten Spira, banking attorney at Boardman and Clark, LLP. "Banks may determine that their fees are below the market rate, and even a slight adjustment could improve the bottom line without losing your customer base." It's also important for management to monitor the rate at which fees are actually collected. "Management might be surprised at how often fees are waived or not collected," said Spira. "In addition to loss of revenue, this collection issue can raise compliance concerns, as well, such as fair lending, et cetera."

Of course, it is difficult to introduce or raise fees without generating a negative reaction from customers. One way to do so is to use opt-ins, according to Shane Bauer, first vice president/security officer at Bankers' Bank, Madison. "Offer different flavors of a product starting with 'free' and then charge for incremental benefits the customer values," he suggested. One example would be to offer same-day ACH as a paid upgrade to the bank's already-existing payment options. "It's the bank equivalent of Economy Plus seating," Bauer explained.

Expand or Diversify Offerings

Another popular option to generate additional non-interest income is to expand or diversify the bank's current slate of product and/or service offerings. This strategy includes options ranging from fees generated from SBA loan packaging services or secondary market sales to wealth management and trust services, or even add-on products like credit insurance, GAP and debt protection. Because there are so many options, banks must take care to select line(s) of business that match up with their customers' needs and price sensitivity. "The most important thing is offering the right variety of properly priced products," Bauer advised. "Develop products based on a demonstrable need from customers, not just based on what everyone else is doing."

Banks considering this strategy face the key decision of whether to grow their product/service line organically or find an independent company to acquire. The choice between organic growth or acquisition depends on the bank's unique circumstances and how quickly they want to grow, according to Nate Zastrow, executive vice president and CFO, First Bank Financial Centre, Oconomowoc. "For example, we knew that wealth management was an area that needed fast growth, so we found a firm to acquire," he explained. "On the other hand, we grew our mortgage lending from within, over time." 

Another popular source of non-interest income is credit card lines of business. "Card programs offer banks a variety of ways to increase fee income, from interchange fees paid to an issuer for card transactions to profitable pricing in merchant services," said Bauer. Since cards—both on the issuing and merchant side—are volume businesses, Bauer advises banks to grow their card business with the right partner to strengthen relationships. 

Trust companies can also be a good source of non-interest income, but often take a long time to reach profitability when grown organically. If this is an area where the bank has identified opportunity, finding a trust company to purchase may be a better strategy than building from the ground up.

Evaluate the Risks

As with any new strategic direction, bank leadership must carefully evaluate the risks associated with their non-interest income strategy prior to implementing it. Predictably, regulatory compliance is of the highest concern for most institutions. "The current regulatory environment does not leave much room for creativity," said Spira. "Leadership should consider the regulators and make sure the strategic plan takes into account the legal restrictions on products and fees." She recommends that bank management work closely with compliance staff and the bank's attorneys to ensure any new fees, products or services are compliant. "State and federal regulators look closely at fees and add-on products, and the CFPB has a keen eye on strategies employed for the sale of add-on products," she added. 

Not having a well-defined strategy creates massive risk with any new business endeavor, and generating non-interest income is no exception. "It's important to be clear on what you want to accomplish and have a plan for getting there," said Bauer. "Banks need to identify value-added services that customers are willing to pay for and explore ways to offer them." Proper planning allows for flexibility, as well. First Bank Financial Centre has a rolling three- to five-year strategy that is evaluated and adjusted quarterly, according to Zastrow. "If something is working we go deeper and if something isn't we scratch it and move on," he said. Because no bank can be "everything to everyone," it is important for product and service offerings to be consistent with the bank's strategic plan in pricing and delivery. 

Identifying your customers' tolerance for new or higher fees, as well as their appetite for expanded products and services is another key risk. Spira pointed out that many non-bank competitors offer consumers a wide variety of digital services at no charge, and that has transformed bank customers' expectations. "The marketplace is increasingly competitive, consisting of bank and non-bank competitors, and a customer base that expects more for less… including electronic access to all banking products and services without additional fees," she said. One way to mitigate this risk is by placing customer satisfaction at the center. "Our strategy wasn't dollar-driven," Zastrow explained. "It was more focused on delivery channel and product base, building up a complete suite of products for our customers. From that, the non-interest income grew." 

Finally, verifying that the bank has the appropriate infrastructure and staff expertise to capably deliver the new product or service is also essential. "Having the expertise is key, and that's where having the right people comes in," Zastrow said. In order to successfully offer a new fee-generating product or service, the bank must either acquire the expertise needed or grow it over time, according to Bauer. "The bank needs to be clear on what it is willing to devote in time and resources and be realistic in its expectations," he said. "Success will come from the right planning and execution, including tasking the right team internally and contracting with the right vendors where needed."

Bankers' Bank and Boardman and Clark are WBA Gold Associate Members. 

By, Amber Seitz

The banking industry is undergoing a prolonged period of tremendous change. In fact, many experts say that constant change is the new normal. As the guiding hand and governing body, bank boards must also adapt and adjust their focus in order to lead their institutions to success in today's volatile environment, all without losing sight of their primary responsibilities. Read on for a look at how directors and boards have changed in recent years, and for perspective on what your bank's board may need to transform into in the near future. 

Who's Sitting Around the Table?

Twenty or 30 years ago, the banking industry was much more straightforward than it is today, and was reasonably stable as well. That placed fewer demands on directors, in general. "As long as the board members were representative of the bank's market and were helpful in generating new business and making lending decisions they contributed to the success of the bank," said Cass Bettinger, president, Cass Bettinger and Associates. Often chosen for their community status or ongoing business with the bank, directors on historical bank boards often mirrored the bank's product mix, which facilitated their role as brand ambassadors, according to Julia Johnson, senior manager, Wipfli LLP. "However, those historical boards may not have had a thorough understanding of banking, and how banks serve as an intermediary of cash," she explained. "They put a lot of faith, confidence and trust in senior management to prudently manage the bank and ensure regulatory compliance." 

Walk into a bank boardroom in 1985 and you'd find a collection of businessmen, lawyers, accountants and community leaders, individuals with backgrounds in either business or finance. New directors were often selected based on their commercial relationship with the bank, their connections to the local business community, or because they (or their family) owned a large share of the bank's stock. According to Philip K. Smith, president, Gerrish McCreary Smith Consultants and Attorneys, the director role used to be viewed as a passive one with little impact on the overall success of the institution. "Historically the makeup of the board of a successful bank was identical to the makeup of the boards of unsuccessful banks," he said. "The focus of those kinds of boards was loan approval, dividend payments and general oversight." 

Walk into that same boardroom today, and you'll still find a collection of businessmen, lawyers, accountants and community leaders, but they may look very different. As with historical boards, today's directors are individuals with business acumen, and may also be representatives of large shareholders. "A good business background is helpful, and those people often end up leading discussions and have significant input," said John Knight, partner, Boardman & Clark llp. However, today's economic and regulatory environment has forced a move toward selecting directors to fill in gaps in expertise on the board, rather than business community or shareholder representation. "That has promoted much more diversity in the board in terms of gender, race, age and ethnicity," explained Smith. "Those go out the window when the question is 'what does the bank need?' rather than 'who should sit on the board?'." According to Knight, the composition of bank boards is transitioning slowly, especially at community banks. "It's quite different between community banks and regional or national banks," he said. "If I see a change, it's modest and gradual. This is not abrupt." Still, Johnson says not only is increased diversity necessary to bring in expertise, but it will also have an overall positive impact on the institution. "When you look at what needs to shift in terms of the composition of the board, we need to have more diversity on the board," she said. "While backgrounds may remain consistent, the diversity of individual experiences and perspectives contribute to the strength of the board by creating a rich and robust platform for discussion. Specifically, there will be greater representation of women and individuals of different ages on the board." 

Same Board, Shifted Focus

While the individuals sitting around the table and their backgrounds are not much different, the expectations placed on them and their approach to their role has shifted dramatically. "Traditionally, the board has looked to the CEO to be the primary strategist for the organization and that their role was simply to look at the strategic plan and approve it," Bettinger explained. "The biggest single change in responsibilities for board directors is that they now must be responsible for being actively engaged in the strategic planning process and understanding what it means." According to Knight, the law regarding directors' responsibilities has not changed appreciably, but the application of it has broadened as expectations from regulators rise. "In general terms, their fiduciary duties haven't really changed," he said. "But the regulators in particular expect more of directors." Those expectations mean directors can no longer be passive sources of commercial loan contacts. "In the past, directors could serve in a more passive capacity," Johnson said. "Today, the regulatory environment doesn't allow for that." 

Just as regulatory expectations for bank directors have transformed their role, so have market and economic influences. "Banks now have to be constantly reassessing their business model and changing it," said Bettinger. "The bank needs directors who have certain skillsets that will help the bank succeed in a changing marketplace." The ideal combination of skillsets will vary by institution, depending on the bank's strategic goals. "The board needs to know who the bank is and who they want to be in the future," Smith explained. "You identify new members by understanding the kind of bank you're trying to become and then reaching out to those people." For example, if the strategic plan forecasts growth through M&A activity, the board should have at least a couple directors with experience in that arena. That's why Johnson advocates not filling the board to capacity at all times. "I like to see banks that don't keep their board at full capacity, but leave a couple seats vacant as permitted by the bank's bylaws," she said. "This gives the bank flexibility to bring in new board members who have a particular expertise and/or enables the bank to create an overlap between a new director and an experienced director who may be stepping off the board." That provides the board with crucial responsiveness if a critical unmet need is identified.

With this shift away from more ceremonial boards to knowledge-based, strategic, active boards, the recruitment and training of board members is transforming as well. "It's a requirement that the board not micromanage but be much more active than historical boards," said Smith. "That changes the dynamic, even as you're recruiting people." Smith says the board must also take an active role in its own succession planning. "Directors must help recruit new board members," he said. "The board should consider itself a body independent of management and therefore participate in recruitment." The process for identifying potential successors should be familiar to the board, because it's the same one they use within the bank. "Look at the strategic plan and then do a board composition analysis, on the basis of knowledge, skills and abilities, and identify where you have gaps," said Johnson. "It's the same thing you do at the bank level. The key is to be intentional and proactive." Active recruitment also requires directors to understand and articulate why serving on the board is valuable. "In today's world, if you want somebody who's really good to come on your board, you need to have a winning value proposition for them," Bettinger explained. "You want them to feel that going on your board will be a great thing for them to do for the community and their business." 

Training: Not Just for New Directors
Offering regular education and training opportunities is one of the best ways bank executives can equip their directors (and therefore their bank) for success. After all, most directors will not have built-in understanding of the banking industry, and that is an important component of their fiduciary duty. Board education and training is a highly diverse process that varies greatly from board to board. The key is that it should not be a one-and-done onboarding session. "All board members of all banks ought to have some type of minimum requirement for continuing education every year," Smith advised. Bettinger recommends specifying the education and development each individual director needs and incorporating it into a written plan. This not only provides specific training for each board member, it's more efficient, too. "You don't want to spend money to send your entire board off to training that only a quarter of them need," Bettinger explained. "It's much more cost-effective to be individualized in your director education by identifying what specific education that each director needs that's most important." Another approach, specific to the onboarding process, is to provide one-to-one guidance. "You might even assign a mentor for a period of time," Johnson suggested. "Partner a new director with a seasoned director who can respond to questions."

Looking Forward

So, what will you see walking into a bank boardroom in 2030? "I'm already seeing more independent directors with specific expertise and experience that are relevant to the development and execution of strategy," said Bettinger. "A prime example is the crucial role that digital technologies increasingly play in developing, promoting and reinforcing winning customer value propositions; measuring and managing relationship profitability and loyalty; efficiency enhancement; and more effectively managing all categories of risk." With signs indicating that mergers and acquisitions will continue to rise, Johnson predicts the resulting larger banks will have boards focused on those unique challenges. "On the one hand, I think bank boards will need to be more savvy and more skilled in merger and acquisition activity," she said. "On the other side, as the asset size of the banks grows and regulatory pressures increase, they'll need to be increasingly more sophisticated in terms of the banking industry and the applicability of those regulations to their financial institution in order to mitigate risk and liability, to ensure safety and soundness." Increased regulatory pressure will be met with increasing pressure from technological changes, as well. "It's my opinion that it will result in more board turnover because directors will need to constantly stay on top of new threats that didn't exist before," Smith said. "The industry is changing so rapidly it will require a more engaged, nimble board with a much younger average age that is able to monitor technology." Just as we've seen over the past two decades, as the industry becomes more complex, the board will shoulder more responsibility to be informed. "The complexity of banking is much greater now than it's ever been," said Knight. "That requires more well-informed, better educated directors, just to deal with the complexity of it.

By, Amber Seitz

Events

Principles of Banking is intended to give those who are new to banking a general understanding of the industry. Recognized as the most comprehensive introduction to the banking industry for over 40 years, it introduces fundamental banking concepts and principles, the basics of how banks operate as service providers and businesses, their obligation to operate in a safe and sound manner and manage risks, and the responsibilities of bank employees in a customer-focused financial services environment.

Dates & Location:
October 5–6: Farmers Savings Bank, 305 Doty St., Mineral Point, WI

Speaker:
Peggy Zickert, VP/Regional Operations Leader, National Exchange Bank & Trust

Who Should Attend?
This course is recommended for personnel new to banking at all levels or those who just need a refresher.

Registration Information:
The registration fee of $550/person includes all workshop materials, a hard copy of the 12th edition Principles of Banking textbook, and daily refreshment breaks and lunch. Register early as space is limited!

Principles of Banking is intended to give those who are new to banking a general understanding of the industry. Recognized as the most comprehensive introduction to the banking industry for over 40 years, it introduces fundamental banking concepts and principles, the basics of how banks operate as service providers and businesses, their obligation to operate in a safe and sound manner and manage risks, and the responsibilities of bank employees in a customer-focused financial services environment.

Dates & Location:
October 26–27: Holiday Inn Eau Claire South, 4751 Owen Ayres Ct., Eau Claire, WI

Speaker:
October 26–27: Michele Boeder, Project Manager, Platinum Bank

Who Should Attend?
This course is recommended for personnel new to banking at all levels or those who just need a refresher.

Registration Information:
The registration fee of $550/person includes all workshop materials, a hard copy of the 12th edition Principles of Banking textbook, and daily refreshment breaks and lunch. Register early as space is limited!

Join WBA and your fellow banking peers from across Wisconsin for our annual WBA Management Conference!

The conference will kickoff with a reception and dinner program on Tuesday,  September 13, followed by a full day of sessions and exhibit hall time on Wednesday, September 14. A pre-conference golf outing is also available for bankers and conference sponsors that want to get a jump start on networking during the day on Tuesday!

This conference is ideal for community banking leaders to come together for networking and education about the ever-evolving banking industry. CEOs, CFOs, CCOs, HR leaders, and other members of the bank’s management team are encouraged to attend as a team to take advantage of this great networking conference, including a full exhibit hall of your partners, two general session presentations, and eight total breakout sessions for your team to pick from.

Visit the Agenda and Hotel Accommodations pages for more information.

Bank Member Registration Information

Team pricing is available for your bank’s management team! The registration fee of $250/attendee for your first two attendees includes all meals and conference sessions. Additional employees from your bank can register for $200/additional attendee. Please register your team at the same time to receive the team pricing. If you are adding additional attendees separately, please contact WBAeducation@wisbank.com to receive the discounted pricing.

Registration for the optional pre-conference golf outing will be accepted from bankers, directors, and spouses who are registered for the conference. The fee of $100/golfer includes golf (scramble format), half cart, boxed lunch, and reception. Conference sponsors may also be offered golf registration depending on availability.

Spouses/guests (non-bankers) can register for Tuesday evening’s reception and dinner program for $95/guest.

Click Register Online to find additional conference information and to register your team online.

 

Associate Member & Exhibitor Registration Information

WBA Associate Members can register to exhibit at the conference ($700/booth including 1 attendee; $250/additional booth attendee) or register as a non-exhibiting conference attendee ($350/attendee).

Visit the Information for Exhibitors/Sponsors page for more details on exhibit and sponsor opportunities! Please contact WBA’s Nick Loppnow at nloppnow@wisbank.com or 608-441-1259 for more information.

Non-members are welcome to register to exhibit at the conference at the non-member rates ($1,200/booth including 1 attendee; $250/additional booth attendee)

Interested in upgrading your presence? Register to be a conference sponsor to receive additional benefits and conference recognition!

The employee “experience” is just as important today as our “customer” experience. What if we saw everything we did through the lens of our employees? Would that make or break our current practices related to engaging and retaining employees?

In this session, we will peel back the layers and ask the right questions about engagement and retention in our current environment above and beyond the topic of compensation. Believe it or not, money isn’t always the number one reason people leave their current employer.

What You Will Learn

  • The 6 primary reasons employees leave
  • Creating an engaged culture from the new hire experience and beyond
  • Engagement is not a one and done — sustainable strategies
  • Wait — it’s not a one size fits all?
  • Create a motivating environment — Just Ask!
  • Who is successful with engagement and retention and what can we learn?
  • ROI — Ultimately, your employees’ success will drive business success

Who Should Attend
Managers, Supervisors, HR, Senior management. Anyone responsible for the oversight of the employee experience

Presenter
Vicki Krai‘s 25+ years of Community Bank experience started at the family bank in rural Nebraska, serving as a bank teller and eventually becoming CEO. Krai’s many years of banking include credit card lending experience where she was a member of the management team that launched the Cabela’s credit card program.

She founded her own Community Banking Consulting firm, VK Solutions in 2010 specializing in coaching and assisting financial institutions to improve their bottom line through their people portfolio. She has a passion for developing people for success in the financial services industry.

Attendees of her training and coaching sessions value Krai’s highly engaging “been there, done that” approach to all facets of her training.

Krai shares her expertise and experience as a faculty member for State Bank Association Schools and the Graduate School of Banking in Madison, Wis.

Krai was recently announced as the new CEO of InterAction Training.

Registration Options
Live Access, 30 Days OnDemand Playback, Presenter Materials and Handouts $279

Available Upgrades:

  • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + $110
  • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + CD + $140
  • Additional Live Access + $75 per person

Suitable for anyone who wants to learn more about the commercial lending process — the backbone of most banks’ lending portfolios.

The required textbook for this course is Commercial Lending, 7th Edition.

IMPORTANT:  Be sure to order the required book for this course.  We recommend that you FIRST select and add your course session to the shopping cart, then select your preferred format of book from the “Recommended Training” options that appear alongside the shopping cart.

Topics in analyzing source documents, recording business transactions in a journal and posting entries in a ledger. How to prepare a trial balance, gather adjustment data and complete a worksheet are covered, as well as how to prepare financial statements and post-closing entries.

This course is the recommended prerequisite for Analyzing Financial Statements.

The required textbook for this course is College Accounting, 13th Edition.

IMPORTANT:  Be sure to order the required book for this course.  We recommend that you FIRST select and add your course session to the shopping cart, then select your preferred format of book from the “Recommended Training” options that appear alongside the shopping cart.

A practical introduction to financial statement analysis from the perspective of the commercial loan officer. Gain the skills needed to effectively assess the risks related to a customer — current and prospective — and evaluate possible sources of repayment for the loan.

Recommended Prerequisite: General Accounting.

The required textbook for this course is Analyzing Financial Statements, 8th Edition.

IMPORTANT:  Be sure to order the required book for this course.  We recommend that you FIRST select and add your course session to the shopping cart, then select your preferred format of book from the “Recommended Training” options that appear alongside the shopping cart.

The WBA Branch Manager Boot Camp will include 4 virtual half-day sessions. Sessions will be held on Zoom from 8:00–11:00 a.m. CT on September 22, October 20, November 10, and December 15, 2022.

About the Program:
Want to grow your total assets in excess of 20% year-over-year? Wish to grow your deposit base by more than 20%? Then consider an investment in training your branch managers in our Branch Manager Bootcamp!

What does your branch have that alternate branch channels and non-bank competitors don’t? The branch has you and your people. As the number of branch transactions continues to fall, community banks and credit unions must reassess the role of the branch manager. Companies must invest in the manager, giving him or her the right people, tools, client goals, and sales goals, and step back and watch the results change into a dynamic source of profitability.

This exciting, four-part series will focus on the next generation manager who will be leading the transition to client relationship management, and to managing an active advisory environment for the client to achieve financial goals. The next generation manager will be leading this vital transformation.

The program will focus on the critical skills and expectations that need to be developed to ensure that the next generation branch manager will exceed expectations and goals set for him or her. Participants will engage in discussions, small group activities, and skills practices to ensure that ideas are shared and learning is entertaining and adopted.

Who Should Attend:
New and experienced Branch Managers, Assistant Branch Managers, Teller Supervisors, Lead Frontline Professionals, and any professional aspiring to lead the team in a retail branch.

Registration Information: 
The registration fee of $800/attendee includes program registration for each of the four sessions, instruction and electronic materials. Upon completion of all four sessions, attendees will receive a certificate of completion for the Branch Manager Boot Camp.

The WBA Deposit Compliance School will start on Monday, August 22, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. and adjourn on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.

VIRTUAL OPTION: You may choose to attend the school via livestream using Zoom. You’ll select your registration choice during registration.
*We encourage attendees to consider attending in-person for the greatest experience and most efficient networking with peers.  However, the virtual option is available for those who prefer to watch the presenters from their office.*

The curriculum is designed to give you a strong foundation of the various deposit regulations affecting your bank, the current trends in compliance, and the resources you need following the school.

Curriculum Includes:

  • Compliance Overview – understanding the key players in compliance and how important it is to your bank
  • Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering, including USA Patriot Act and OFAC issues
  • Miscellaneous Deposit Regulations, including:
    • Regulation D; Regulation V, Subpart J (Identity Theft Red Flags); Regulation GG; Non-deposit investment products; Regulation AA (UDAAP); and Overdraft Protection Programs
  • Regulation CC (Expedited Funds Availability)
  • Check 21
  • Legal Process, including:
    • Garnishments; Child Support Liens; Federal and State Tax Levies; Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Levies; IRS Summons;  Subpoenas; Elder Abuse Reporting Rules; and Worthless Checks
  • Regulation P (Privacy)
  • Regulation DD (Truth in Savings Act)
  • Regulation E Overview (Electronic Funds Transfer Act)
  • E-Sign Act

Registration Information:

The student fee of $535 includes program registration, instruction and materials, and daily lunch and refreshment breaks.

The WBA Branch Manager Boot Camp will include 4 virtual half-day sessions. Sessions will be held on Zoom from 8:00–11:00 a.m. CT on May 24, June 28, July 26, and August 30.

About the Program:
Want to grow your total assets in excess of 20% year-over-year? Wish to grow your deposit base by more than 20%? Then consider an investment in training your branch managers in our Branch Manager Bootcamp!

What does your branch have that alternate branch channels and non-bank competitors don’t? The branch has you and your people. As the number of branch transactions continues to fall, community banks and credit unions must reassess the role of the branch manager. Companies must invest in the manager, giving him or her the right people, tools, client goals, and sales goals, and step back and watch the results change into a dynamic source of profitability.

This exciting, four-part series will focus on the next generation manager who will be leading the transition to client relationship management, and to managing an active advisory environment for the client to achieve financial goals. The next generation manager will be leading this vital transformation.

The program will focus on the critical skills and expectations that need to be developed to ensure that the next generation branch manager will exceed expectations and goals set for him or her. Participants will engage in discussions, small group activities, and skills practices to ensure that ideas are shared and learning is entertaining and adopted.

Who Should Attend:
New and experienced Branch Managers, Assistant Branch Managers, Teller Supervisors, Lead Frontline Professionals, and any professional aspiring to lead the team in a retail branch.

About the Speaker:
Jennie Sobecki
is the owner and CEO of Focused Results, a sales and marketing strategy, consulting and training firm concentrating on results-driven process consulting and training experience in community banks and other financial institutions. An expert in designing and implementing sales efforts and processes, Sobecki designs solutions to drive top line growth through better utilization and training of existing sales forces, including sales management.

Sobecki is a graduate of Indiana University and has a certificate in consulting services from Ball State University. Before joining Focused Results, Sobecki was director of sales and marketing for a $3 billion bank holding company, sales manager for a high-performing mid-level Indianapolis bank, and director of corporate training for a large Midwest insurance company.

Registration Information:
The registration fee of $800/attendee includes program registration for each of the four sessions, instruction and electronic materials. Upon completion of all four sessions, attendees will receive a certificate of completion for the Branch Manager Boot Camp.