NJBankers recently hosted a delegation of Japanese bankers, members of the Kanto Shinkin Bank Association, an association much like NJBankers. The 20 visitors were eager to learn about the community banking model in New Jersey.
Through an interpreter, Chairman Kevin Cummings, president/CEO, Investors Bank; John McWeeney Jr.; president/CEO, NJBankers and Jim Meredith, EVP/COO, NJBankers, provided an overview of the banking industry in New Jersey and as requested by the group, provided information on regulatory issues, channel strategies, lending strategies and the challenges and opportunities for community banks in New Jersey.
McWeeney presented an overview of New Jersey banks providing statistics about the industry. He also provided an overview of regulatory issues including the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act and Basel III as well as the formation and reaction to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It was interesting to note that the Japanese bankers were quite familiar with the challenges U.S. banks will face in light of this increase in regulation. Our Japanese colleagues face similar challenges.
Cummings discussed the “brick and mortar” branching business model as well as other channel strategies including mobile banking and social media for reaching out to customers. The guests were very interested in his passion for customer service. He also discussed lending strategies as the Japanese bankers were eager to learn about community bank strategies for growing a bank in a low demand loan market.
In conclusion, a question and answer period confirmed that we are now truly citizens of the world with global and local issues converging.