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Hats Off!

by Barbara E. Hurst, Editor

It's the beginning of a brand new year and I'm going to take time out to pat a few of you on the back.
Here's a toast to:
Our Programmers: Every time they turned around in 2000 they had to worry about something else - starting with the Y2K fiasco. And they've done a super job. When was the last time you answered a call at your bank and had to say the information wasn't available because "the computers are down." (Remember those days?)

Our Security Directors and Officers: For keeping our financial institutions and our people so secure. Working with ingenuity, knowledge, and technology, we've seen cameras, alarms, training, law enforcement cooperation, and communications improve, and we've seen bank robberies go down in numbers accordingly - to an all-time low.

Our Compliance and BSA Officers: For staying ahead and on top of one of the worst compliance and regulatory years ever. (There were more regulations passed in the last six months of the year 2000 than at any other time in history!) From Know Your Customer to Privacy to Reg CC to CRA to OFAC to all the changes in Lending - they've managed to keep almost every bank from getting into serious trouble with the regulators and examiners. That is not an easy job, especially when it comes to exemptions, CTRs, SARs, training, etc.

Our Human Relations and Personnel folks: In a time when unemployment was at an all-time low, they managed to keep staff not only up to par in the banking industry, but also to keep morale up in the face of mergers and acquisitions. They're skilled in hiring - and in helping "outsourced" employees too. Their efforts in training all the "new" regulations this year have put them into an outstanding field all their own.

Our Branch Personnel: Both front line and administration have been put to the test in 2000 with customers questioning and complaining on everything from Privacy to ATM charges to "Z" lines in the branch office. Thanks to understanding tellers and customer service people that truly care about the bank's customers, and who try to explain why the bank has to take certain steps and actions - even when they aren't sure themselves of the reason!

Our "Sales" People: We have a whole new culture developing in the financial institutions, and it has not been an easy transition. Kudos to those of you who have adapted and are making it work!

Operations: Often the last to be trained and the first to be blamed, it has been a tough year for Operations. First the Y2K scare, when many of you sat with the Security Officers and the Y2K officers to greet the new year. (Bet you really enjoyed cheering in 2001!) And then meeting the challenge of the changes necessary in reporting and record keeping. Wire Transfers got the heat from the BSA people. Proof and Transit churned through more checks than ever before in the history of banking. (So much for the "paperless" society!) Bookkeeping got a quick course on customer profiles and "acceptable activity" standards. And all took it in stride.

Our Auditors: Unsung heroes in our business, Auditors have to keep up on most all compliance issues, and still are responsible for the safety and soundness of our institutions. Who would want their jobs?!

The year 2000 has provided us with a wild, crazy ride. We wish for all of you a much more sane, quiet and peaceful 2001.

Fat chance!

Copyright © 2001 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1/01

First published on 01/01/2001

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