What Relationship Banking is All About

by Elizabeth Sherman 24. February 2010

In April, 2009, Greater Grace World Outreach, a local religious organization, extended us the courtesy of a meeting.  The purpose of the meeting was to try to obtain their banking business.

"We at Greater Grace World Outreach had been looking for some time to reduce high bank fees and actually agreed to move our accounts to another well known national bank. Unfortunately, the conversion failed as that bank was unable to follow through with the service necessary to complete the transition.  This unpleasant and expensive experience left us very skeptical about attempting another change". – Pastor Peter Taggart

After meeting with Pastor Taggart, Jason Dieter and I conducted an analysis of the existing accounts and fees and determined 1st Mariner could save the church money without sacrificing service. A review of 1st Mariner's proposal convinced Greater Grace to move their banking relationship

As with any change, there were bumps in the road.  By keeping an open line of communication between the bank and the church, issues were resolved in a timely way to the customer’s satisfaction.  <

“Instead of being handed from department to department, we discovered the same people who handled the upfront sale were just as committed to the back end service.  Promises were kept, deadlines were met, calls were returned, and problems were quickly resolved”. – Pastor Peter Taggart

In December 2009, after reviewing their expenses for the year, Greater Grace determined they saved over $3,000 in banking fees in 2009, without any loss of service.  

“Not only have we realized lower costs, we also have a much more satisfactory relationship with our bank”. – Pastor Peter Taggart

In January 2010, our team evaluated the relationship in an effort to improve operational efficiency and lower the church’s cost of banking services.

This is what relationship banking is all about!

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Meeting with FISC, a Non-Profit Research Organization in Japan

by Kevin Lynch 9. February 2010

Despite the challenging  travel conditions around Baltimore yesterday, we had the pleasure of meeting with Daisuke Ishii and Yukihisa Hode, two Senior Researchers from The Center for Financial Industry Information Systems (Japan). The FISC is a Japanese nonprofit research organization founded in 1984 and supported by some 700 Japanese financial services organizations and vendors marketing to that industry. Their mission is to engage in research services pertaining to the Japanese financial services industry.The meeting was coordinated by Michael Parentice, an independent consultant based in the United States.

FISC's current research project relates to new media and social networking in Japan's financial services industry.  As input they are seeking best practice examples from leading U.S. financial institutions that are leaders in the use of social media. Based on Mr. Prentice's research, he felt that we were one of the organizations that they should meet. This was the first visit on their five day trip across the country that includes meetings with Bank of America, Umpqua Bank, and Wells Fargo. We are honored to be included in this short list of financial institutions.

As we discussed the evolution of our efforts, it became clear that there are signficant challenges to FI's involvement in social networks. The Japanese culture is one of collaboration and consensus building. So many of the initial social media efforts have focused on internal corporate use for information sharing and communication. Given the conservative nature of the banking industry, it has been very difficult to get consensus across the organization to engage their customers in the same way. It will be interesting to see how this FISC report on the US bank's efforts will impact them in the long term.  We'll keep you posted when we get the final report.

Ten9Eight: Shoot for the Moon

by Kevin Lynch 2. February 2010

1st Mariner Bank has been a strong supporter of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). NFTE's mission is to " provide entrepreneurship education programs to young people from low-income communities." The goal is to encourage entrepreneurship, increase financial literacy, and provide participants a reason to stay in school and continue their education. The Baltimore NFTE office works with over 200 middle and high school students through teachers certified to teach the NFTE curriculum. Throughout the year, the students identify a business idea, build a business plan and, if possible, establish a business. They work with mentors from the private sector to refine their business plans and develop their businesses. To encourage these young entrepreneurs, there are numerous local and regional business plan competitions, where they compete against students from other schools for cash prizes.

For those who are good enough to win these local competitions, there is the opportunity to be nominated to compete in the national business plan competition in New York, for $10,000. Ten9Eight: Shoot for the Moon , from award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio, follows these students, from all around the country, as they prepare for and compete in this competition. I, along with my fellow employee Wade Barnes, was the mentor for two students from Patterson High School, William Mack and Ja'Mal Wills, who are featured in this film. Their company, J & W Sensations, produces an all natural skin lotion. The film was released nationally in November and will debut on BET this Sunday, February 7th at 12 noon. I encourage everyone to watch this incredibly powerful and moving story about these young entrepreneurs.



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