The Web-Savvy Director

Do you have an hour or two before this month’s board meeting? Go surfing. On the Web, that is.

We’ve done this before, but the Web is constantly changing, and with it the value of various banking websites. These are the sites that the Web-savvy director should bookmark for general reference, or for a quick update when you need information related to your duties as a director:


This is my first stop for current information on the state of the industry. Broken down into categories- bankers, consumers, analysts, and investors-this is the site that can keep you up on industry news, statistics, and regulatory changes, and it should be the starting point for pretty much any analysis of how your bank compares to others in the industry and how the industry itself is faring these days.


Want to see what other banks are offering in the way of CD rates in your city? Bankrate.com is supported by advertising from financial institutions seeking deposits, but its statistics are solid, and the site provides a good gauge of how competitive your bank is at the moment.You may be surprised to see a competitor, or maybe your own bank, offering a significantly higher rate to Internet users half a continent away than they are offering to good customers in their own hometown.


American Banker remains the premier newspaper serving the banking industry, and if you or your bank can get past the $945 annual subscription, there’s no better way to stay totally on top of what is happening in our industry.The online version, with daily newsletter updates, is the tool more and more financial industry professionals are using to keep up.


Tom Brown, besides being a frequent contributor to Bank Director magazine, is an astute observer of the banking industry. He pulls no punches on this website-witness his recent posting, “Mississippi Bullying,” in which he asks, “Doesn’t Trent Lott have anything better to do than harass the insurance industry?” And that’s the gentle Tom. When he’s not writing for his website, Brown is one of the premier fund managers in the country, running three funds that specialize in banks and financial services companies.


Hoovers, now a Dun & Bradstreet company, is a good source for information on a particular bank. Its site requires a subscription, but the “free” portion of the site is a great way to get a quick phone number, address, or to refresh your mind about the name of a senior officer.


Looking to fill a key management job at the bank? You can post a job opening or look at hundreds of resumes of qualified bankers.

Banking organizations

Most banking association sites are painfully boring, but they are worth a stop if you’re curious about the party line, or think you may want to head to a banking conference.The American Bankers Association is www.aba.com (If you’re an intuitive sort, and instead go to www.aba.org, you’ll learn all about the hobby of birding), the Bank Administration Institute is www.bai.org (BAI’s Banking Strategies Retail Delivery Insights, a free e-newsletter, is worthwhile for the director interested in staying on top of marketing issues), and the Risk Management Association (formerly Robert Morris Associates) is focused primarily on lending and risk and can be found at www.rmahq.org.

Finally, and certainly not in order of usefulness, is our own website, www.bankdirector.com. Here you can find the entire current issue of the magazine as well as an archive where you can retrieve articles from past issues that focus on pretty much every banking subject you’re likely to encounter. And launching this month is our Bank Board Performance Series-a package of short, to-the-point webcasts designed to give directors the latest information on everything from audit committees to executive compensation to M&A. In addition, the website shows you how to get involved in our conferences and offers a comprehensive Resource Center with links to many other educational articles.

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