Conflict Strategies for Nice People

Do you value friendly relations with your colleagues? Are you proud of being a nice person who would never pick a fight?  Unfortunately, you might be just as responsible for group dysfunction as your more combative team members. That’s because it’s a problem when you shy away from open, healthy conflict about the issues. If you think you’re “taking one for the team” by not rocking the boat, you’re deluding yourself. Read More

Guidance on Certain Issues Related to Troubled Debt Restructurings

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (collectively, the agencies) have jointly issued the attached supervisory guidance on certain issues related to commercial and residential real estate loans that have undergone troubled debt restructurings (TDRs). This guidance applies to all national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks (collectively, banks). Read More

A Simple Way to Develop a Bank’s Risk Appetite


If you have some experience with enterprise risk management (ERM) implementation and evaluation projects for community financial institutions, two things quickly become apparent:No two ERM processes are exactly the same, and very few institutions like to put their risk appetite down on paper. The common reason for the latter seems to be the fear of being restricted by formal documentation. Institutions seem to be fine with the idea that their risk appetite is inherent in the decisions they make, so why spend time on something that doesn’t really move the organization forward? Read More

Regulatory Punch List of Top Priorities for Bank Directors


In today’s banking world, exams are tougher, the supervisory focus is on fairness to consumers, data is heavily scrutinized and consequences for failing to mitigate risks are more severe than ever. It is incumbent upon bank directors to stay in front of high risk areas and make sure their institutions can survive and thrive in this challenging environment. I put together my punch list of some of the top challenges I see facing the industry to provide guidance on where you will want to focus. Read More

Closing the Chasm Between Strategy and Execution

orange mountain

Setting strategy is elegant. It’s a clean and sophisticated process of collecting and analyzing data, generating insights, and identifying smart paths forward. Done at arm’s length in an academic fashion, tight logic is the only glue needed to hold ideas together. Read More

Smart Leaders Have Protégés


Just how important protégés are to a powerful person was made clear to me by this question, told to me by a Fortune 100 CEO. When choosing his direct reports, he asks: “How many blazing talents have you developed over the years and put in top positions across the company, so that if I asked you to pull off a deal that involved liaising across seven geographies and five functions, you’d have the bench strength — the people who ‘owe you one’ — to get it done?” Read More

How a Write a Warning Letter for Employee Conduct

When employee behavior or poor performance don’t shape up after verbal warnings, its time to get formal. Here’s how to do it right. Read More

Community Banks That Fail to Leverage Technology May Become Obsolete

7-31-KPMGThere is unprecedented change afoot in the banking industry. Technology is rapidly evolving and it’s changing consumer expectations about how banks should be serving them.

 Community banks, in particular, have been slower to embrace technology as a means to interact with and serve customers. In doing so, they risk becoming obsolete. Directors and boards will need to stay on top of this sea change and work with senior management to address it. Read More

Loan Review Best Practices: Your Early Warning Radar

Free webinar courtesy of Synergy Bank Consulting and SageWorks.


Regulator Panel: Would You Sell These Products to Your Mom or Dad?

Bank_DirectorThe shifting focus of regulators is indeed a concern for bankers and bank boards these days. The creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has impacted almost all banks and thrifts, not just the $10-billion-plus financial institutions that are subject to CFPB exams. The CFPB is publishing new rules monthly about topics such as fair lending, mortgage disclosures and even the interest rate banks can charge for residential loans. Plus, regulatory exams that end badly can have serious negative consequences for banks, so it’s a good idea to keep tabs of what regulators are thinking about your bank. Read More