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ABA Banking Journal Podcast

Bank executive insights, unique business strategies, regulatory updates from D.C., and fun banking stories—all this and more on the ABA Banking Journal Podcast, brought to you weekly by the American Bankers Association's award-winning podcast team.

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Bankers You’d Like to Spend a Third of Your Life With

You spend a third of your life at work, says Jeremy Callais. “You can teach someone how to do banking. We hire people who we want to spend a third of our lives with. We tend to think that the customers like to bank with those people too.” On the latest episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast — sponsored by OneTrust Vendorpedia — Callais, president of M C Bank in Morgan City, Louisiana, and a member of ABA’s Community Bankers Council, talks about his bank’s approach to hiring, leadership development and succession planning — including his own progression through the ranks and the bank’s conscious recruitment of younger personnel, including a CFO and two board members in their 20s. Callais also provides an update from his work on ABA’s Core Platforms Committee and the principles for strong bank-core relationships, and he discusses how M C Bank is positioning itself for success in the competitive South Louisiana market.


18 Dec 2019

Rank #1

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Celebrating Bankers' Community Commitment

The latest episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast continues a pre-Thanksgiving tradition by interviewing the winners of ABA's 2019 Community Commitment Awards. Recorded before a live audience at ABA's Annual Convention in Seattle, where the awards were presented, each interview explores the winning program or initiative at each bank and provides insights on how they might be implemented or adapted at other banks. These stories present the perfect inspiration as we prepare for the season of thanks and giving. The full episode presents excerpts from each interview. To listen to the full conversation with each Community Commitment Award winner, click on the links below. Affordable housing (co-winner): Alec Gorynski, VP for community development and corporate philanthropy, FNBO, Omaha, Nebraska, and Amanda Brewer, CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha. Affordable housing (co-winner): Kimberly Smith-Moore, SVP and NeighborhoodLIFT program manager, Wells Fargo. Community and economic development: Alex Fennoy, EVP for community and economic development, Midwest BankCentre, St. Louis. Economic inclusion: David Loundy, chairman and CEO, Devon Bank, Chicago. Financial education: Louis Beck, chairman, and Keith Borders, VP for community development, Union Savings Bank, Cincinnati. Protecting older Americans: Debbie Gulan, regional community banking manager, IncredibleBank, Wausau, Wisconsin. Supporting military families: Ruth Christopherson, SVP for Citi Salutes, Citi. Volunteerism: Donna Dodson, AVP and banking operations manager, First Financial Northwest Bank, Renton, Washington. George Bailey Distinguished Service Award: Kathy Luria, SVP for community affairs and philanthropy, Webster Bank, Waterbury, Connecticut.


20 Nov 2019

Rank #2

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Enlisting Trusted Caregivers to Help Prevent Elder Fraud

Nearly 15% of Americans—more than 34 million people—are serving as caregivers for adults over 50. In November, recognized as National Family Caregiver Month, the ABA Banking Journal Podcast is taking a look at how banks can support caregivers in their mission while protecting the privacy and safety of the bank customers receiving care. Kieth Cockrell, head of specialty client services at Bank of America, joins the podcast to discuss: Bank of America’s “Trusted Contact” feature, which allows customers to designate an alternative contact person, which was recently rolled out to all retail bank accounts. Frauds and scams that seniors can fall victim to and how trusted contacts have facilitated direct conversations with the victimized customers that stopped the scam. How designating a trusted contact—which doesn’t provide account access the way joint accounts or power of attorney do—can make it easier for have sometimes hard conversations with customers who need financial caregiving. Bank of America’s overall elder fraud prevention and anti-fraud programs and resources, including efforts to prevent wire transfer fraud. Learn more about the ABA Foundation's Safe Banking for Seniors program.


13 Nov 2019

Rank #3

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Building a Career as a Community Banker

On the latest episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast—sponsored by Reich and Tang Deposit Solutions—two rising community bank executives in North Carolina share lessons in career development and leadership. Meredith Begley hails from the mountains of western North Carolina, while Kristen Brabble calls the Atlantic coastal plain home—but they came together through North Carolina Young Bankers, a program of the North Carolina Bankers Association. During the podcast, Begley and Brabble—who are a past chair and current chair of NYCB, respectively—share lessons in what makes a community bank career successful. Begley discusses her involvement in bringing financial education to local schools, while Brabble emphasizes the importance of seizing every opportunity in her story of working on a core conversion for her bank early in her 20s.


11 Mar 2020

Rank #4

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A Community Bank Coronavirus Playbook

Amid the global coronavirus pandemic — and a massive response by policymakers — how can community banks best meet customer and employee needs while managing their balance sheets and loan portfolios? On the latest episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast — sponsored by Reich and Tang Deposit Solutions — CenterState Bank Chief Strategy Officer Chris Nichols outlines how he and his bank are thinking through these challenges. “We’re trying to get a handle on each industry, trying to understand it better down to . . . the details of their cost structure, what exposures they have to interest rates, what exposures they have to other customers and their credit, and then working backwards from there,” Nichols says. “Because I think this could be an all-hands-on-deck crisis for a while for banks.” In this episode, Nichols discusses: The speed with which the crisis arrived and the uncertainty about how long it will last. The immediate challenge to credit quality, and managing it by contacting customers, discerning their situations and managing outstanding loans and lines of credit. How community banks can manage the rapid margin compression from the Fed’s interest rate moves. Additional resources: ABA resources on COVID-19 pandemic response and business continuity planning How banks are helping clients, employees and communities during the pandemic Article by Chris Nichols on responding to COVID-19 as a bank.


18 Mar 2020

Rank #5

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Consciously Cultivating an Internal Talent Pipeline

After her bank’s CEO unexpectedly died a quarter century ago, Annette Russell was suddenly thrust into the top job at Security Federal Savings Bank in Logansport, Indiana. But if Russell has anything to do with it, the next transition won’t be so abrupt. On the latest episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast — sponsored by OneTrust Vendorpedia — she discusses the succession planning and talent development programs she’s built, both at Security Federal and at the state level during her chairmanship of the Indiana Bankers Association. Russell talks about engaging emerging leaders in advocacy, soliciting emerging leader feedback through structured mechanism and how the bank conducted an organization-wide culture assessment. “It’s really encouraging people to think outside the box, to make decisions and carry forward to implement those ideas, breaking away from a compliance-driven, handcuff culture,” she says. “That’s refreshing.” Russell also discusses her bank’s mutual character and how the bank employs that in its marketing, as well as challenges facing community banks today,


11 Dec 2019

Rank #6

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Beyond Stovepipes and Silos in Financial Crimes

“For a long time, these were fields that were seen as kind of ancillary—compliance issues, have-to-dos and cost centers,” Juan C. Zarate says of anti-money laundering, fraud and cybersecurity. “Today, management of financial crime risk is now a fundamental part of banking.” On the latest episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast, Zarate—a former senior counter-terrorist financing official in the George W. Bush administration currently affiliated with the Financial Integrity Network, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Harvard Law School and NBC News — discusses the central and convergent role that financial crimes enforcement plays in banking today. Among other topics, Zarate addresses: The capacity of cyber criminals to circumvent defenses, manipulate systems and even change fundamental data The “arms race” in financial crimes to stop threats from nation-states like Iran and North Korea The role of technologies like AI and machine learning in “deepening the moat” around banks, as well as the nearness of next-generation technologies like quantum encryption The technical skills banks need access to in today’s environment, including data science and engineers


29 Jan 2020

Rank #7

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With Rebrand, WaFd Puts Its Bank Identity Front and Center

Washington Federal — a $16.4 billion regional institution based in Seattle — had a problem: many in the general public didn’t realize exactly what it did. Was it a federal government agency? Was it a credit union? To make it clearer, the company recently rebranded itself to WaFd Bank. “Banking is a noble profession,” says WaFd President and CEO Brent Beardall on the latest episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast. “We were very happy to put the word ‘bank’ in our name and tell people what we do.” Among the unique things that WaFd Bank does: holding consumer mortgage loans in portfolio, allowing it to be more flexible with customers in tough times; as well as making paycheck replacement loans to government employees during the most recent government shutdown. Beardall also discusses WaFd Bank’s performance and growth in markets that range across the west from Washington state to Texas; the role of midsize regional banks in the nation’s financial ecosystem; and WaFd Bank’s technological and cultural evolution to be a digital-first institution, including being more tolerant of failure and experimentation.


6 Nov 2019

Rank #8

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Questions and Answers on the SBA Paycheck Protection Program

Bankers have lots of questions about the Small Business Administration’s new Paycheck Protection Program, which launched today to deliver up to $349 billion to small businesses struggling with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. On this bonus episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast — sponsored by Reich and Tang Deposit Solutions — Iowa community bank CEO Greg Gannon discusses his bank’s experience making PPP loans this morning. He also brings key banker questions about the program to ABA’s SBA experts James Ballentine and Dan Martini. The conversation covers how to make loans through the program, including the SBA’s E-Tran system and how non-7(a) lenders can join the program, challenges banks have faced thus far, what’s ahead for participating banks in the next week and more.


3 Apr 2020

Rank #9