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Conversation with a Community Banking Professional

Jillian Gibson Jillian Gibson
Director of Marketing
NewBridge Bank


Q: What are your responsibilities as Director of Marketing?
A: As with anyone working at a community bank, or even a small business, my role as Director of Marketing requires me to wear many hats. While marketing roles at larger financial institutions are segmented between functions like advertising, media buying, public relations, sports marketing, community relations, etc., my team and I are responsible for all these functions and more. We research, develop and execute traditional, enterprise-wide sales and marketing strategies for the bank while also serving as an internal ad agency for smaller, ad hoc needs and participate on several internal committees to support the bank's overall operations. 

Q: What is the most challenging or rewarding part of your job? What are you most proud of? 
A: The most rewarding part of my job is also the most challenging. I am blessed to work for a company that values corporate citizenship, and we are truly engaged in the communities we serve. On a daily basis we support a wide variety of nonprofit organizations with both volunteer hours and financial contributions. I firmly believe that there are very few companies that encourage this, and within them, very few roles that allow a person to steward so much opportunity for good. However, there is unlimited need, and we have limited resources. We constantly have to balance the needs of our shareholders, clients, communities and teammates.

Q: NewBridge is opening offices in the higher growth markets of Raleigh, N.C. and Charlotte, N.C., which are relatively new locations for the bank. How do you establish a brand presence and distinguish yourself in those markets, especially those which are also relatively crowded? 
A: When moving into a new market, it's critical that you have clearly defined expectations. We don't have the budget or infrastructure to become a mass-market financial services provider in either of these markets. Instead, we will focus on what we know we can deliver for those clients that will benefit most from our operating model: banking services for local businesses with complex financial needs. Through targeted media placements in the respective business journals and leveraging strong relationships with existing clients and our referral partners, we will effectively communicate our message while simultaneously delivering on our brand promise.

Q: What is a "community bank" to you, and how do you show that in NewBridge Bank's marketing?  
A: In my opinion, to be a community bank you have to possess the business acumen and creativity to deliver shareholder returns while also being a champion for the communities, local businesses and personal clients you serve. You have to be in, of and about the community while operating in the black, which creates a unique marketing challenge because most companies that are "in, of and about the community" are nonprofits. We overcome this challenge by focusing on our banking professionals in our marketing efforts. Every bank in the country has checking accounts and loan products fueling the company's growth, but no other bank in the country has the banking professionals we do. My teammates are the ones with their feet on the street. They're the ones helping their clients, volunteering, serving on boards, requesting gifts for local charities, etc. They're what differentiate us from our competitors and add the human component to our business.

Q: What are the main challenges that the community banking industry faces today?  
A: Increasing regulatory and technology expenses. The costs of understanding and remaining compliant with new regulations are overwhelming, and we will reach a point in our industry that the cost of doing business is simply too high for smaller community banks. The same can be said for evolving technologies. While services like mobile deposit capture and tablet banking will eventually drive down overhead, the fees associated with installation, licensing, processing and maintenance require large, out-of-pocket expenses long before the benefits are realized.

Q: What do you think the community banking industry will be like in the next ten years?  
A: Community banking will be much more technologically advanced, and there will be fewer, but larger, community banks in the market. The increased costs of regulation will force mergers and acquisitions, and technology costs will require certain economies of scale that will make one-, two- and three-branch franchises a thing of the past. The technological enhancements will make community banks more efficient, which, if managed correctly, could lead to more time spent consulting with clients (versus transacting), greater involvement in the community and increased shareholder returns. 

Q: What should be the focus of community banking?  
A: Remaining "in, of and about the community" while giving ourselves permission to evolve in a global financial services industry. These concepts - local commitment, global delivery - are not mutually exclusive. We can do it. 

Q: Banks and bankers do not have the best image right now (in fact, I think banker jokes have actually surpassed lawyer jokes). What can be done to improve that image? What can be done to differentiate community bankers? 
A: Transparency is powerful, and I think the industry needs to be more honest with ourselves and our clients. The companies and bankers that hold themselves accountable for their behavior by establishing core values; communicating them to their shareholders, clients and communities; and applying them to their business model will help change the face of the industry. For instance, NewBridge Bank has four guiding principles that are the foundation of everything we do: always do your best; do what is right; treat others as you want to be treated; and financial success begins with integrity. These are on the back of our business cards and provide clear, consistent direction for the bank through times of challenge and success.  

NewBridge Bank is a full-service, state-chartered community bank headquartered in Greensboro, N.C. The bank has assets of approximately $1.7 billion with 37 locations throughout N.C.

Future of Community Banking Symposium Highlights
by Timothy R. Moore

Mr. Moore's practice focuses on counseling and serving the varying needs of financial institutions with an emphasis on lender liability, the financing or restructuring of obligations, and certain related regulatory issues.

On May 1, 2013, Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, in conjunction with the North Carolina Bankers Association, held The Future of Community Banking Symposium in Greensboro, N.C. It was a day-long discussion of the issues facing and opportunities for community banking. Our day was highlighted by a keynote address from Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. For those of you who attended, I expect that you agree it was a very worthwhile event. For those of you who could not attend, I want to share a few takeaways.

Dodd-Frank Act Essentials: Corporate Governance Reforms

Mr. Adams counsels and represents banks and other financial institutions in consumer and mortgage regulation and litigation, among other legal matters. He also edits the Banking on This: Spilman Mortgage and Consumer Banking Report blog.

In addition to extensive provisions affecting large and small institutions, the Dodd-Frank Act set forth certain corporate governance reforms all businesses, including community banks, need to keep in mind. As of today, only one-third of the Dodd-Frank Act's 240 rule-making requirements have been promulgated in any form, let alone as final rules that institutions can assess and implement. Compliance with Dodd-Frank will unfortunately continue to be an administrative burden that institutions will need to address. This series of articles, Dodd-Frank Act Essentials, will keep readers updated and apprised of new rules that come out of Washington.

Lessons From a $100 Million Payout
by Timothy R. Moore

Mr. Moore's practice focuses on counseling and serving the varying needs of financial institutions with an emphasis on lender liability, the financing or restructuring of obligations, and certain related regulatory issues.

Last fall, I wrote an article for Carolina Banker magazine excitingly titled "Bank Liability to Non-Customers in a Ponzi Scheme." The crux of it concerns the potential liability to banks in Ponzi schemes and the precautions banks should take to mitigate that risk.

I was reminded of that article with last week's announcement of a settlement in the Rothstein Ponzi scheme in Florida. Scott Rothstein was a flamboyant and apparently very successful attorney in Florida. However, his lavish lifestyle was fueled by a $1.2 billion fraud. He purported to sell shares in fake lawsuit settlements to investors while promising them huge returns on their investments. Needless to say, there were never any settlements, and he also was paying old investors with new investors' money. The scheme began to unravel in 2009, and he was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison in 2010.

The Drive-Thru

"From literally my first day as Treasury Secretary I have been putting an enormous amount of time into stepping on the accelerator in the implementation of Dodd-Frank."


Treasury Secretary Jack Lew

To Senate Banking Committee,
May 22, 2013
As reported in American Banker

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