JUNE 2020
Strong Boards Build Strong Banks

Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Insider , a monthly newsletter exclusive to Bank Services members. The launch of this newsletter coincides with an important transition for the company and for me. I have turned the reigns of editor-in-chief over to John Maxfield, our executive editor for the last two years. Going forward, I will continue to write for Bank Director magazine while focusing most of my attention on board training and education, and also creating exclusive content for Bank Services Program members like you.

Board governance is a particular interest of mine, and I have been very involved in various related initiatives here at Bank Director, including the launch of our Bank Board Training Forum and the creation of the extensive library of videos in our Online Training Series. Boards of directors are critical to the success of their banks. A knowledgeable and engaged board can help elevate the performance of its bank. And our mission at Bank Director from the beginning has been to give board members the knowledge they need to provide effective oversight. We will range far and wide in The Insider , but the core of our content will focus on governance. The phrase “Strong Boards Build Strong Banks” is our corporate motto because we know it to be true.

These are stressful times for bank boards. The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt the U.S. economy a severe body blow, and banks can only do as well as the economy itself. There is an important role for boards to play as their senior management teams work through the wreckage. An engaged board can be an important sounding board for management, providing them with advice and feedback on issues related to the bank’s safety and soundness. But while management is focused on the near-term performance of the bank and such important factors as asset quality, capital and liquidity, the board needs to imagine a future beyond the pandemic.

In a recent interview, Blake Paulson, the senior deputy comptroller and chief operating officer at the Comptroller of the Currency, urged bank boards not to become too myopic during the pandemic. “I think that in times like these, it’s really critical that the board continues to be focused on the ... long-term value of the bank,” Paulson told me. “There’s a lot of near-term thinking going on right now, which is needed to deal with the crisis. But boards must continue to think strategically and long term, and not take their eye off that ball despite the terrible [and] difficult situation that the economy is in.”

So yes, the pandemic has almost certainly impacted your bank’s strategic plan and not in a good way — but the plan still needs to be something more than just surviving the pandemic.

In this issue of The Insider , we have two pandemic-related items for you to consider. One is a Board Brief presentation on “Managing Through the Coronavirus Pandemic,” part of our Online Training Series. The other is an article — “Repatriating Office Employees While the Pandemic Continues” — which details the challenges that banks face as they start to bring their work-from-home employees back into the office. Both are exclusive to Bank Services members, and I hope they are informative and helpful.

Until next month, stay safe.
Jack Milligan is editor-at-large of Bank Director, an information resource for directors and officers of financial companies. You can connect with Jack on Twitter at @BankDirectorEd .

It is the greatest human resources challenge of the modern corporate era.

Jack Milligan breaks down the steps that bank leadership teams should take to weather the Covid-19 pandemic.
About Bank Director
Since its inception in 1991, Bank Director has been a leading information resource for senior officers and directors of financial institutions. Chairmen, CEOs, CFOs, presidents and directors of banks and financial institutions turn to Bank Director to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape of the financial services industry.