Technological innovation: the cornerstone of growth

By Elise Hauser, Product Marketing Manager, Sageworks

Technology continues to be a major disrupter in many industries, not least of all banking. In fact, in many ways the banking industry has lagged behind many others in incorporating new innovations. The common perception is that banking should be safe and stable. Customers expect their bank to focus on keeping their financial future secure, not on developing cutting-edge technologies. However, as the OCC points out in a recent whitepaper, this expectation is changing as millennials have come of age and as more non-bank fintech companies begin to compete with banks in areas of lending, payments and investing.
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Getting better: FOMC leaves rates unchanged amid improving economic picture

By Robert B. Segal, CFA, Atlantic Capital Strategies, Inc.

Once again, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided to maintain the target range for federal funds at 0.25% to 0.50% following a meeting in Washington. The Committee upgraded its assessment of the economy, stating that near-term risks to the outlook have diminished while labor utilization has shown “some increase,” though inflation remains too low.
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Bank Owned Life Insurance – Separating Fact from Fiction

By Toby Lawrence, President, Lawrence Advisory Services

When I talk to banks and credit unions about how they can improve their bottom line, I always bring up either Bank Owned Life Insurance (“BOLI”) or Credit Union Owned Life Insurance (“CUOLI”) if the institution has excess liquidity or an underperforming investment portfolio.
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FASB Issues Long-Awaited Credit Loss Standard

By Michael T. Umscheid, CEO, ARCSys

FASB has finally issued the long-awaited (and much criticized) new standard on measuring credit losses titled “Financial Instruments – Credit Losses” (ASU 2016-13). This new standard has been a topic of discussion for five years, with plenty of rumors during that time of its possible demise and its complicated methodologies.
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FOMC holds steady: Lower for longer

By Robert B. Segal, CFA, Atlantic Capital Strategies, Inc.

As widely expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided to maintain the target range for federal funds at 0.25 percent to 0.50 percent following a two-day meeting in Washington. The Committee said the pace of improvement in the labor market had slowed since the April meeting, as job gains diminished. While they acknowledged that growth in economic activity appears to have picked up, the FOMC is still concerned that business fixed investment has softened.

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Hello, Balance Sheet! FASB’s New Standard for Leases

By Brett Schwantes, Nick Ansley, and Lee Christensen, Wipfli LLP

The Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) nearly 10-year project on lease accounting is now complete with the release of Accounting Standard Update (ASU) No. 2016-02 Leases. The new standard is meant to provide a more faithful representation of leasing transactions in financial reports and will have a significant impact on most industries, including financial institutions.
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A New Era for Lease Accounting: Your Balance Sheet May Never Look the Same

By Ryan Abdoo, Senior Manager, and Chris Ritter, Audit Partner, Plante Moran
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Overview
On February 25, 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued new guidance that will have far-reaching implications for how leases are reflected in the financial statements of entities in nearly every sector of the economy. Leases are one of the most popular forms of asset financing, in no small part due to the ability in many situations to structure the arrangement to keep lease obligations off the balance sheet.
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FMS Quick Poll: Investment Portfolios

With interest rate uncertainty continuing to flummox many community institutions and growth prospects still in short supply, questions surrounding how to manage balance sheets in this challenging environment have rarely been more critical.

In a pair of recent articles for the FMS Update and an ensuing white paper, we asked several ALM experts to share their thoughts on how community institutions should be positioning their balance sheets right now. So it only made sense that our next step would be to take the question directly to the membership in an FMS Quick Poll.
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Preparing for CECL with a Software-Based Approach

By Garver Moore, Risk Management Consultant, Sageworks

The American Bankers Association describes the transition to an expected credit loss model under the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) proposed guidance as possibly “the biggest change – ever – to bank accounting.”1 The proposed current expected credit loss (CECL) model requires lending institutions to transition their allowance for loan and lease losses (ALLL) from an estimation of incurred portfolio losses based on historical performance to a projection of losses based on “reasonable and supportable” forecasts of economic conditions affecting the five C’s of their particular portfolios.
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