March 11th, 2018

Question 1: What is CECL?

The Current Expected Credit Loss model (CECL) is the new accounting model FASB has issued for the recognition and measurement of credit losses for loans and debt securities. The new standard will generally be effective for SEC registrants’ 2020 financial statements and in 2021 for banks that are not SEC registrants. For banks that are not considered Public Business Entities (PBEs), the effective date will be at December 31, 2021, alleviating them of the requirement to file CECL-based call reports until then (please note that “public” is according to the FASB’s definition, which is not the same as other commonly-used definitions – see question 11 for more information).
Early adoption is permitted beginning in 2019. Accounting for loan losses is at the heart of bank accounting, as it affects what banks do – lend money and collect principal and interest. Amounts that banks do not expect to collect will be recorded in the allowance for loan and lease losses (ALLL) and in an allowance for credit losses on Held-To-Maturity (HTM) debt securities. Any additions to the ALLL are recorded as expenses, which reduces bank capital.

Question 2: What’s at stake with the accounting change?

FASB is replacing the current “incurred loss” accounting model with an “expected loss” model – CECL. Banking regulators have referred to CECL as “the biggest change ever to bank accounting.” This standard is expected to have a huge impact on the costs to prepare and audit the ALLL, how investors analyze the ALLL, and how banks manage their capital. While initial estimates in 2011 indicated 30-50% increases in the ALLL would result from CECL implementation, independent estimates since then have been significantly lower, as the CECL estimate is largely dependent on a company’s forecast of future economic conditions. For that matter, certain aspects of CECL may actually lower allowances in some portfolios. Therefore, while it assumed that ALLL balances will generally increase, the extent of the change is unknown at this point and due to a changing economy, estimates could change often between now and the 2020 implementation date. CECL requires significant changes to the data a bank maintains and analyzes. Bankers, regulators, and auditors are in agreement that more granular data and analysis will be required and new performance metrics will be needed.

Take the Plunge – Pay More

July 27th, 2016

One reward strategy you can employ that doesn’t involve following the popular drumbeat of negative messages and takeaways.   Other functional departments (i.e., Marketing, Engineering, Advertising) have already taken a different tract to deal with the new realities.   Innovative minds set themselves apart, pushing brand identification to carve out market niches away from the beaten path.

HR can lead the way!

A Different Mindset!

Companies fear wasting money on employees who don’t perform, so they often limit the administrative increases so often granted by their reward programs.  They feel they can’t afford a strategy that increases payroll without a corresponding increase in ROI.  However, they could increase the amounts paid to key employees while restricting the level of those who perform . . . less well.  That would place the high achievers at a fair or even generous pay level, but these winners would be only those who deliver an ROI back to the company.  You can afford to reward high performers, can’t you?

Employees who produce results are worth the money.  If you’re fearful of overpaying those who aren’t performing, you hold the solution in your hands / policy manual.  All it takes is the discipline to hold employees accountable and to take action against those who aren’t performing, who aren’t worth the money you’re paying them.

But that’s easier said than done!

Do you know what percentage of your workforce is rated at an average or lower level of performance?  50%? 60%?   If you still grant every employee an annual increase, you won’t be able to differentiate and properly recognize your key performers.  You won’t have enough money.  In that case the reward bar is inevitably lowered to cover the most common performance level.  Instead, why not raise the performance bar and make the tough decisions for those who can’t keep up?

If a manager has $10,000 for annual increases and tries to balance rewarding both high and average performers, the increases won’t be enough to recognize key players.   While the merit spend is calculated on average performance high performers need larger increases to feel recognized and appreciated.  A request to grant more than $10,000 will be denied, so what do most managers do?  They trim the increases of their best performers, in an effort to spread rewards as broadly as possible and keep everyone happy.

Is this effective?

Nope!   High performers will be discouraged and may rethink their future efforts as well as their commitment to your company, but your “Joe Average” will be pleased.  As behavior rewarded is behavior repeated, by using this make-everyone-happy tactic you’ll have encouraged more average performance and less high performance.  Does that sound like your reward strategy?

Okay you say, but if this concept is such common sense, why is the practice of holding employees accountable so seldom used?

The Management Fear Factor

Some managers fear what would happen if they took a tough line on performance = reward.

  • They fear that employees are somehow “owed” annual salary increases.  “We have to give them something.”
  • They fear their ignorance over how to conduct effective performance appraisals.  “Do these forms really measure performance?”
  • They fear alienating  the majority of  average employees (see bullet #1)
  • They fear what would happen if they exercised  the discipline necessary  to manage employees – because they want to be liked.

With a process designed to monitor and weed out the lower performers, and at the same time pay the higher performers well,  over time your new practice would retain more of those you want and rid yourself of those you don’t.  The employee performance bar would rise, fostering a more dynamic work environment that will in turn feed business performance.

You can (must) afford to do this.  Consider the impact of increased performance levels on your bottom line.  Isn’t it worth the initial outlay of money to make that happen?

Be Advised!

The bean counters (Finance) are perennially afraid of spending a dollar to save two — or in this case, spending a dollar to earn three.  They believe that, while the dollar cost is real the suggested gains are “soft”; promises that can’t be guaranteed.

There’s no easy way around this phobia short of direct intervention from the top.  Lacking senior management support compensation practitioners will face a wave of passive resistance, if not outright defiance by managers tying to “help” the average employee.

Providing high performing employees with greater rewards can create a win-win scenario, a greater attraction for talented outsiders, an improved  team atmosphere focused on pushing the company forward — and less inequities to drag and drain the goodwill you’ve established.

Try it.  Spend a dollar and earn four in return!

Assessing Organizational Culture

August 4th, 2015

The Symicor Group believes that bank culture is an essential consideration to would-be employees.  Is your culture congruent with that of your next superstar?

In a recent posting on June 25, 2015 by Stephanie Reyes on tribehr.com, Stephanie hit the nail on the head concerning the importance of whether culture actually matters in the work place.  You can view her posting at  http://tribehr.com/blog/assessing-organizational-culture

As part of our placement process, we at The Symicor Group,  make it a practice of ensuring that our Clients and Candidates are a cultural fit.  To learn more about or processes feel free to email us or give us a call.


Writing A Job Description – Inviting and Accurate

March 3rd, 2014

One of the most unenviable tasks of human resource managers is describing the job to prospective applicants. This is especially true if the job is being posted on social media websites. Some HR managers tend to be too creative, so much so, that the real intent is lost leaving the prospective hire confused. Sticking to standard descriptions without being too harsh on demands will certainly ignite interest in readers.

Yet another advantage to using standard words and phrases is that they make the description search engine friendly and therefore are more likely to be ranked on the top. The trick is to use words that are commonly used by job searchers.

1.  Stay with Standard Job Titles

Here are some common job title descriptions you can replace with standard ones: Replace Office Ninja with Administrative Help or Assistant, Deal-maker King with Regional Director for Sales, Magical Man with Human Resource Manager and Brand Trumpet with Social Media Specialists and so on.

2.  Give the Description a Conversational Tone

Generally it is better to keep descriptions at a conversational level though you may be advertising the job on many different media – social or print media for example. It is best not to use jargon. You can avoid using phrases like Job Overview, Job Requirement or demonstrate for example. Instead you can try to use words like “Why not join us?” or “Here is what you will be doing” or “Will be in charge of” and so on. These words will make your description more conversational and is more like to attract attention and response.

3.  Promote your Organization’s Brand Value

Though good salary and perks will attract many talents toward your organization, they are not the only incentives for prospective hires. Candidates like to be associated with well-known brands and if your business owns a popular brand, you can leverage the goodwill it enjoys in the marketplace.

Describe your company vividly but avoid saying things like when it was founded or how the business grew. Instead you can tell the prospective applicant what your organization’s endeavors are and where the business will be heading in couple years from now. This will help the candidate to visualize his participation in the process and how he or she will be able to contribute to the company’s growth.

4.  Tell the Candidate How they can make an Impact

Most candidates will want to know their working environment. If the position gives control over a large workforce, now is the time to tell them in very clear terms without mincing words. If for example the candidate will be controlling a big team or will be responsible for multiplying sales, you can tell that clearly. Say that they candidate will be responsible for multiplying sales upward of 10%, for example.

5.  Make your Descriptions Mobile Friendly

Little we need to remind HR Managers that the percentage of people who use mobile devices and phones is on the rise. If you are using social media websites for attracting talents, chances are your target audience is using it to read your message. It is therefore imperative to make your descriptions friendly toward mobile phones usage.

The Symicor Group stands ready to help in your recruiting needs.  We can help you write job descriptions, assess talent, formulate HR staffing models, develop compensation programs, and most essential, fill important senior level bank vacancies.  For more information give our office a call at (847) 325-5457.

Banking Salary Report – How do you rate?

November 24th, 2012

As they say “knowledge is power”.  Knowing what the average banking positions pay can help you determine how you rank among your peers.  We have taken information supplied by Salary.com created a list of common banking position along with the U.S. average salaries including bonuses, compared to those banking positions in the Chicago area.

                             Position       U.S.  Chicago
Branch Manager I  (Small Bank) $   55,021 $  58,451
Branch Manager II (Medium Bank) $   63,438 $  67,392
Branch Manager III (Large Bank) $   70,598 $  75,000
Chief Credit Officer $ 187,191 $ 199,631
Chief Retail Banking Executive $ 292,706 $ 310,953
Commercial Loan Officer (Sr. Level) $ 104,611 $ 111,132
Commercial Loan Workout Officer (Sr. Level) $ 103,173 $ 109,604
Compliance Coordinator $   46,147 $   49,024
Group Branch Manager III (Sr. Level) $ 129,036 $ 137,080
Head Teller $   32,056 $   34,054
Loan Workout Officer III (Sr. Level) $ 108,861 $ 115,648
Mortgage Closer $   42,820 $   45,489
Mortgage Loan Processor III (Sr. Level) $   45,417 $   48,249
Mortgage Underwriter III (Sr. Level) $   68,057 $   72,300
Private Banker III (Sr. Level) $ 114,999 $ 122,168
Regional Retail Banking President $ 190,179 $ 202,035
Relationship Manager III (Sr. Level, Business) $ 112,716 $ 202,035
SBA Banking Manager $ 138,586 $ 147,226
Teller III (Sr. Level) $   29,103 $   30,922


Now that you know some of the average banking salaries, are you happy with your current salary?  Do you enjoy current working environment?  Do you love going to work every day?  If you answered “No” to any of these questions contact The Symicor Group and discuss your situation and your options.  Let one of our banking recruiters (former banking executives) work with you to find that perfect position that matches your unique experience, skills and personality.  Submit your resume today to get things started.

So You Want to be a Bank Branch Manager!

September 18th, 2012

In this short YouTube video a Bank Branch Manager discusses his typical day at work, the qualifications needed for the job, the best and worst parts of the job, as well as advice that can be used by students and others considering this line of work.  Click link below to watch video.

So You Want to be a Bank Branch Manager!

As you can see a Bank Branch Manager does not sit in his office all day crunching numbers, but is out and about working with customers and the community.  If you have a desire to pursue a Banking position such as this, let’s start a dialog to explore your options.  Simply contact The Symicor Group to get started.

5 Characteristics of a Dynamic Loan Processor

September 14th, 2012

Not everyone is cut out to be a mortgage processor. Find out if you or a team member has what it takes to be a dynamic processor.  Check out this article we found in AdvancingWomen.com by clicking the link below.

5 Characteristics of a Dynamic Loan Processor

The banking experts at The Symicor Group are not only available to help you find a loan processor position, but to provide guidance on your career path.  Submit your resume for review today and let our experts provide you some ideas as to which banking positions might be best for you and your career.