Training Skills Series: Blended learning Nov 07, 2013, 9:28 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Guest post by Ken Burnett, VP/Director of Training and Business Development, Bank of American Fork

This series is written from experience and is part of Bank of American Fork’s training program. The program embraces the philosophy that training is a skill-based job, and managers need to learn specific skills to be successful.

We’ve all been to that two-hour lecture-based training that has some good information, but is mainly torturous. As training professionals, we need to design courses that are interesting and change behavior.  Learning simple blended-learning techniques can help you design that way. 

Wait!  You don’t need to give up if you work in a small organization without a lot of resources.  The bank I work at has about 320 people, an intranet, an online learning authoring tool and a simple video camera.  If you have some of these you have all you need to implement a blended learning strategy.  Making blended learning decisions should be part of the design process.  Before developing a blended learning strategy, be sure you have worked through:

• The role of training in context of the business.

• The goals of the program.

• The objectives of the learning intervention. 

The role of training in business context describes the management of the organization’s feelings toward what you are training, its importance to the organization, and provides focus to the training.  For example, if you are training about professionalism, a couple of videos that demonstrate what not to do would help provide examples to the class and illustrate the importance of professionalism.  As another example, if you are doing a training class on your organization’s policies, you could train the knowledge portion using an online learning approach with a simple proficiency test at the end, and the interaction portion in the classroom. 

Another step in the process to help you choose the type of media for your training is to look at the goals of the program.  If the goal is to increase sales, be sure that the media you use will help you reach your goal.

The objectives of the learning intervention are the most critical factor when you’re developing a blended learning strategy. It is key to match the appropriate learning strategy that best increases the learning transference.  For example, if you want learners to be able to perform a task, you should provide training that:

• Provides the knowledge to perform the task.

• Teaches the skill using behavior modeling or discovery learning.

• Tests the outcome using proficiency testing to ensure performance.

The “knowledge” training could be online self-paced, paper-based self-paced, or a job aid.  The “skill” options may include video vignettes (YouTube quality works well for these), classroom role-plays, on the-job-training or self-paced online scenario-based systems training to model the behavior. The “tests” could be online tests, manager observation/certification, peer observation or production outcome (“Was the task done successfully?”).  A program that uses the various learning approaches discussed previously will keep the interest of the learner and facilitate effective learning.

Blended learning is breaking the learning into chunks and then fitting the right media to the content.  It takes a little longer, but the outcome will be a better program—it will result in greater learning transference and hold the interest of the learner.

The following is a simplified table of some learning options. 

Disclaimer: These are based on my experiences as a trainer. If you have additions, clarifications, etc., I’d love to hear from you!)

Ken also wrote a series for manager skills. What other business skills do you want to know more about? Tell us in the comments!

Ken Burnett is vice president/director of training and business development for Bank of American Fork. He is responsible for training more than 300 employees on a variety of topics, including coaching and feedback for dozens of senior managers within the organization.

Vote with your money: Move to a community bank Nov 05, 2013, 8:00 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

When it comes to banking, your vote is the one that matters. If you want your bank to take care of you personally, support the local economy and get the most for your money, then show your vote by switching to a community bank.

Why? Here’s the short version:

    Community banks usually have just as many services. Bank of American Fork offers online bill pay, online money manager (an aggregator and budgeting tool), person-to-person electronic payments, mobile apps and more.

    Community banks support the local economy. The loans we make are usually local and we pay local taxes.

    We’re fast. Because decision-making is local, we can be quick about it.

    We care about the community. We are here to stay. We want to be involved in community events. We want to support community-building teams, groups, activities and people.

    Community banks care about you. When you switch to a community bank, you’re switching to personalized service and relationship-based banking. We don’t just want to give you a place to put your money, we want to help you understand your options and become more financially savvy.

Tell us, what do you look for in a bank?

Thinking of switching to a community bank? Call 800-815-BANK to find out more.

Event: Solar power at home and work Nov 01, 2013, 8:00 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

The new Utah gold rush

A perfect storm is brewing for solar energy in Utah. The installed cost of photovoltaic, or PV, solar panels continues to decline, and Rocky Mountain Power projects significant rate increases throughout the coming decade. With tax breaks, government rebates and favorable banking finance programs, solar adoption is rising brightly on the Beehive State’s energy horizon.

Bank of American Fork is a sponsor for a panel discussion on the benefits and implementation process of solar systems for homes, apartments and businesses. The panel will be on Friday, November 8 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Provo Marriott, 101 W 100 N in Provo.

The panelists include Dr. Bernell Stone, Global Energy Management; Scott Cruze, Concept Property Management; Erik Anderson, Rocky Mountain Power; James Johnston, The NRG Bureau; Jeff Barrett, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Energy Division; and Orrin Farnsworth, Utah Solar Energy Association. Panelists will discuss the trends, incentives, costs and favorable payback expectations for commercial and residential solar power retrofit and usage. Unlike typical investment risks, solar energy’s future looks brighter by the day. All attendees will receive the Solar ROI Case Study & White Paper, which is the same data Warren Buffet’s solar team is reviewing.

This event is a must for you if you are a:

• Homebuilder—Green, energy-efficient homes are in demand.

• Financial advisor—Solar tax advantages are at an all-time high.

• Commercial property owner—Get your share of $7.8 million in Utah solar rebates.

• Homeowner—Own your own power plant for $1 a day in less than 10 years.

Register for the event here: http://bit.ly/1aKg4rW.

This event is presented by Progressive Power Solutions and sponsored by Bank of American Fork, Utah Valley Home Builders Association, GOED, Concept Property Management, Utah Solar Energy Association, City of Provo, Utah Technology Magazine, Progressive Power Solutions, Real Goods Solar and Platt Electric.

The truth about prepaid cards Oct 31, 2013, 8:10 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

There’s a lot of hype surrounding prepaid, reloadable cards—with providers promising “no annual, monthly or overdraft fees and no minimum balance.” Users are interested in the idea of feeling like they aren’t tied to a bank.

Bank of American Fork exists to strengthen individuals and communities by providing safe financial services, and our dedication to our customers motivates us to develop products and services that fit your needs. Since there has been this buzz about prepaid, reloadable cards, our product development team decided to consider whether we could and how we should offer this product.

After extensive research, we concluded that this product may not be beneficial, or even desirable, to our customers. We want to tell you more about what we learned.

Research showed that there is little demand among our customers for this type of product, and where there is a demand there is reluctance to pay fees. However, one of the findings about existing prepaid cards is that they still carry fees—most of them more expensive than a checking account. An article in The Banc Investment Daily said the same thing. (Banc Investment Group, LLC. “Banc Investment Daily: No song bird,” PCBB, October 3, 2013).

If consumers want a product that allows them the flexibility of using a card, but hesitate to use a product that has fees, there are likely better options for them out there.

Many community banks still offer free banking services for many products, including free checking accounts that come with a debit card. The standard definition of a “free” checking account is a checking account with no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee. In fact, Bank of American Fork offers a high-yield checking account with a free debit card, nationwide ATM refunds and more. You can read more details about this account at www.bankaf.com/MyRate. This type of account is low-cost, safe and easy for customers and usually fills the needs of those who are interested in the convenience of a prepaid card.

Besides the fee income a company earns from offering prepaid cards, why else are companies offering them? Is there really a high demand for them? Or have many of the benefits been oversold, creating the demand? Companies may not be offering prepaid cards just because they believe their customers want them, but also to encourage a product that earns them income and costs them less.

While much of the hype says that prepaid cards are a way to get away from banks, the fact is that regardless of where you buy a prepaid card, it’s still a bank product. Most companies are just offering financial services through a partnership with a bank, without a bank charter.

If you’re looking for a card that has low fees and allows you flexibility with loading and reloading, consider a financial institution that has a free checking account. They’re still out there.

Event: Utah economic update Oct 30, 2013, 8:00 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

What are the current housing and employment conditions in Utah? What is the outlook for the Utah economy in 2014?

On November 14, Bank of American Fork and Jim Wood, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Utah, will team up to provide an update on Utah’s economy. Wood will provide insight into the current state of the Utah economy with a special focus on the housing market and employment issues. In addition, he will lay out expectations for the coming year to help you make decisions for your business. A light lunch will be provided. RSVP to heidi.carmack@bankaf.com or at 801-642-3139.

Nov 14, 11:30 – 1:00

Bank of American Fork, Riverton Branch

2691 West 12600 South

Riverton, UT 84065

 

James A. Wood, Director, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Utah
James Wood joined the Bureau in 1975.  He graduated from the University of Utah in finance in 1967 and did graduate work in economics at the University of Utah from 1970 to 1974.  From 1975 to 2002 he was a senior research analyst at the Bureau and since 2002 has served as director.  His areas of research specialization are: (1) housing (2) construction (3) real estate and (4) economic development.  He currently serves as a member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, State of Utah Revenue Assumptions Committee, the Salt Lake Downtown Alliance Development Committee, past president of the Wasatch Front Economic Forum and a member of the board of Salt Lake Neighborhood Housing Services.  He has published more than 100 articles and studies on topics related to the Utah economy.

Bonus history and cookie spotlight: Layton’s one-year anniversary Oct 29, 2013, 8:20 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

We’re celebrating one hundred years of serving Utah communities with free cookie Fridays. Each month one of our 13 branches will be spotlighted—for that month, the spotlighted branch will have free cookies in their lobby. This month we are doubling up with Draper and Layton spotlights! November 19 is our one-year anniversary of the Layton branch. You can read a little bit about the history of Bank of American Fork below, with a history of the spotlighted branch. For a deeper history and to view photos visit here and select “downloads”.

Bank of American Fork was established in 1913 as The People’s State Bank of American Fork. The first two decades after opening brought success for the bank and its reputation for being safe and sound was solidified. Challenges came in 1932, when the People’s State Bank of American Fork closed its doors to prevent a run on deposits. While a third of the nation’s banks did the same and never reopened, the People’s State Bank was open for business nine months later after tremendous sacrifice on the part of its management. The 1940s and ‘50s were better years for banking, and the People’s State Bank of American Fork thrived. In the 1960s the name was shortened to Bank of American Fork and proved itself a technological leader when it made a large investment in upgrading to advanced computerized systems. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Bank of American Fork began to receive national recognition for being safe and strong. It was during this time that the bank began strategic expansion across Utah, finding communities where Bank of American Fork fit and filled needs. Today, we are proud to be a part of 13 communities, and Utah’s community bank leader.

Layton Branch November 19, 2012 Bank of American Fork opened its 13th branch and first in Davis County. The bank was staffed with locals and a Davis County Advisory Board was established to ensure strong ties to Layton and surrounding communities. After a Kaysville-based community bank closed, Bank of American Fork saw a need in Davis County for a community bank. A loan officer began generating loans in the Layton area, and the bank purchased a portion of the previous Barnes Bank’s loans. Bank of American Fork hired seasoned Davis County bankers and established an advisory board made up of prominent members of the commercial market in Davis County to keep tied to the needs of the community in Layton.

Don’t forget to stop by the Layton branch on Fridays in November for cookies!

November branch spotlight and cookies: Draper Oct 28, 2013, 8:40 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

We’re celebrating one hundred years of serving Utah communities with free cookie Fridays. Each month one of our 13 branches will be spotlighted—for that month, the spotlighted branch will have free cookies in their lobby. You can read a little bit about the history of Bank of American Fork below, with a history of the spotlighted branch. For a deeper history and to view photos visit here and select “downloads”.

Bank of American Fork was established in 1913 as The People’s State Bank of American Fork. The first two decades after opening brought success for the bank and its reputation for being safe and sound was solidified. Challenges came in 1932, when the People’s State Bank of American Fork closed its doors to prevent a run on deposits. While a third of the nation’s banks did the same and never reopened, the People’s State Bank was open for business nine months later after tremendous sacrifice on the part of its management. The 1940s and ‘50s were better years for banking, and the People’s State Bank of American Fork thrived. In the 1960s the name was shortened to Bank of American Fork and proved itself a technological leader when it made a large investment in upgrading to advanced computerized systems. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Bank of American Fork began to receive national recognition for being safe and strong. It was during this time that the bank began strategic expansion across Utah, finding communities where Bank of American Fork fit and filled needs. Today, we are proud to be a part of 13 communities, and Utah’s community bank leader.

Draper Branch July 2, 2001 The eighth branch opened in a strip mall as Bank of American Fork’s first branch in Salt Lake County. Utah was the third fastest-growing state in the nation; between the 2000 and 2010 census, population grew an astounding 23 percent. Utah County was the fastest-growing county in the state and Bank President Dale Gunther began to notice particular population and retail growth in the Draper area, just past the northern border of Utah County. While searching for the right permanent spot, the branch opened in a strip mall. The staff moved into a new branch building in June 2005, after they finally found a better spot, closed the deal on a new spot and designed and built the new building.

Don’t forget to stop by the Draper branch on Fridays this month and grab a cookie!

Bank of American Fork helps keep seniors safe Oct 24, 2013, 8:40 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Charter presentation kicks off Senior Crimestoppers at Rocky Mountain Care

Last week Bank of American Fork and Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation teamed up to present the Senior Crimestoppers program at Rocky Mountain Care Center in Murray. Senior Crimestoppers is a coordinated set of components that work together to create a zero-tolerance-to-crime platform in senior housing facilities. Components include personal lockboxes for the residents, cash rewards up to $1,000 paid anonymously for information about wrongdoing of any kind and education and training for staff members and residents. Senior Crimestoppers has reduced all aspects of crime in participating facilities by 92 percent. Bank of American Fork is the first Utah bank to fund this program.

“This marks the formal announcement that Rocky Mountain Care is the newest member of Senior Crimestoppers,” said George Clinard, vice president of Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation. “Our mission is to provide a safe and secure living condition. The reason this program works is because it’s made up of a group of components that all work together.”

“We’re excited to be a part of this. We are committed to communities,” said Rick Anderson, senior vice president, Bank of American Fork. “My father recently lost some money because he thought he was helping someone in need. He’s a former college professor and we wouldn’t have expected this, but crime can happen to anyone. We’re committed to helping protect against this and other types of crimes against seniors.”

After presenting the Senior Crimestoppers charter plaque at Rocky Mountain Care in Murray. Kim Bangerter, administrator, Rocky Mountain Care; Tracey Larson, senior vice president, Bank of American Fork and financial representative, Governor’s Commission on Aging; Jon Allen, chief compliance officer, Bank of American Fork; Rick Anderson, senior vice president, Bank of American Fork; Carol Van Horst, field representative, Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation; George Clinard, vice president, Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation; Bill Swadley, vice president and CRA officer, Bank of American Fork; with residents Roberta Read and Robyn Fewkes.

One of the fun parts of the Senior Crimestoppers program is an annual $250 check for the care facility to use as they see a need—some throw a party for residents and other facilities use it to help a specific individual. Rocky Mountain Care had already designated what they would use their first “Wish Comes True” check for.

“We’re using this to purchase an iPad for a resident that can’t speak for himself,” said Kim Bangerter, administrator for Rocky Mountain Care. “This will allow him to communicate with staff and other residents.”

Some residents in the sponsored facilities have already received their personal lockboxes, and one resident told the group that she loves her lockbox. She said that knowing that only she knows where her key is allows her to feel secure that her important items—like Christmas gift money, her will and photos of her family—are safe.

Also in attendance was Tracey Larson, vice president and special projects manager at Bank of American Fork, who was recently appointed as the financial representative for the Governor’s Commission on Aging. Larson and Jilenne Gunther, from the Utah Department of Aging and Adult Services, will continue the conversation about how to protect seniors from financial abuse on a live internet radio show on November 20 at 6:00 Mountain Time, at www.latalkradio.com.

First bank merger in Utah since 2008 recession Oct 21, 2013, 9:07 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

People’s Utah Bancorp and Lewiston Bancorp merger closes

Lewiston State Bank President and CEO Anthony Hall (left) and People’s Utah Bancorp President and CEO Richard Beard (right) after the merger was approved.

People’s Utah Bancorp and Lewiston Bancorp have merged their holding companies—the first bank merger in Utah since before the 2008 recession. The merger closed today, October 18, following approval by regulatory agencies, shareholders of Lewiston and both boards of directors.

“The People’s Utah Bancorp and Lewiston Bancorp merger is the first unassisted merger in Utah since Far West Bank was acquired by American West Bancorp in 2007,” said Tom Bay, supervisor of banks, Utah Department of Financial Institutions. “Smaller banks are seeing their burden increase. They feel like they survived the downturn just to be hit in the gut with what they feel is an increasing regulatory environment. Mergers can be a way of using economies of scale to help with the increased fixed costs of doing business. Utah is not like California or other states with many banks and a lot of merger activity going on, so it’s harder to see a trend here, but I would not be surprised to see more mergers in Utah going forward.”

“The purpose of this merger is to ensure that both banks are able to continue the highly personal service that each has provided for a hundred years or more in an economic and regulatory environment that makes it hard for community banks to compete,” said Richard Beard, president and CEO of People’s Utah Bancorp. “We wanted to figure out a way to help community banks come together and preserve what is good about the system. This merger combines years of community banking commitment and experience under one roof.”

In June, the companies jointly announced an agreement to merge their holding companies and operate their bank subsidiaries, Bank of American Fork and Lewiston State Bank, under People’s Utah Bancorp. The merger was dependent on various regulatory approvals and a shareholder vote in favor of the transaction. All of those were obtained by October 15. The closing occurred today.

As of September 30, 2013, People’s Utah Bancorp had approximately 320 employees, $1 billion in assets, loans of $643 million, deposits of $900 million and equity of $120 million. Lewiston had approximately 90 employees, $257 million in assets, loans of $180 million, deposits of $223 million and equity of $28 million.  The combined holding company now operates under the name People’s Utah Bancorp and has approximately $1.2 billion in assets.  Bank of American Fork, with 14 locations in Utah, and Lewiston State Bank, with four locations in Utah and Idaho, will continue to operate under their respective names. Customers of both banks will continue to receive the personal, friendly service from bank staff they have come to know and trust.

“Between our two banks there are more than 200 years of combined banking experience,” Beard said.  “The community values and traditions that both banks share makes this partnership work for the organizations, employees, customers and communities we serve. Blending the talented management and staff of both banks helps put People’s Utah Bancorp in a clear position as Utah’s community bank leader in service, asset size and deposit size. This combination will help grow and foster the local community banking system that is vital to the economy, small businesses and Utah communities.”

“I am pleased with the working relationships between the two banks and the enhanced ability both will have to serve our respective customers,” said Anthony J. Hall, president and CEO of Lewiston State Bank and chairman of Utah Bankers Association. “We will maintain our name and local presence going forward. We look forward to the benefits from developing a statewide community banking group. The merger offers many benefits for our shareholders, our employees, and most importantly, our customers.”

People’s Utah was advised in the transaction by D.A. Davidson & Co., as financial advisor. Lewiston was advised by Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P., as financial advisor.

The four C’s of commercial lending Oct 17, 2013, 8:20 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

 

Guest post by Richard Gray

With the economy steadily improving, many businesses are looking to grow—buying their buildings, remodeling their spaces, growing inventory, investing in large equipment and more. The first step to obtain financing is to take a look at your business plan and current situation, and take that information to your lender to talk about your options. Preparing answers to the questions they will likely ask will help you stay on top of the game.

Last month I talked about why banks behave the way they do—what kinds of things factor into loan decisions and the process by which loan decisions are made. I mentioned that banks determine whether they will lend based on cash flow, credit, capital and character—the four C’s of commercial lending. Through these measures, businesses can demonstrate a solid ability to repay their loan in a timely manner.

So, what, specifically does each of these C’s mean, and why do they matter?

Cash Flow

The viability of your cash flow will be determined by analysis of one or both of the following: your company’s profit and loss statement, with the key figure being earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization; or its statement of cash flows, with the key figure being cash flow from operating activities. This analysis considers all of your debt obligations and will be used to determine your ability to repay the debt.

Credit

This is your ability to fulfill your financial obligations based on your own and your business’ financial history. Lenders will rely heavily on your business credit report that provides information regarding classification (based on size and creditor payment history), outstanding liens and pending lawsuits. In last month’s Enterprise there was an article about the weight of your business credit score. In that article, Lane Wilson said, “Just as a personal credit score helps or hinders a consumer’s ability to obtain credit, businesses also have credit scores that play a key role in securing financing.” If you’re interested in learning how to improve your business credit score, I would recommend reading that article.

Lenders will also consult a personal credit report to evaluate your debt obligations and come to a determination on whether your past indicates that it’s likely that you will make regular, on-time payments in the future. As a safeguard, you may want to pull your report ahead of time to check for errors (you should already be taking advantage of your three free credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion each year).

Another part of examining credit is a thorough review of your company’s financial statements, usually for the past three years. Financial ratios that look at liquidity, leverage and performance will be calculated from your balance sheets and P&L statements to be compared to industry averages.

Collateral

Collateral is what you can offer as security for the loan. For small businesses, this may be commercial real estate and improvements (including land, buildings and fixtures) or investments (like stocks and bonds) that can be liquidated in the event of a default. Lenders are typically willing to lend between 50 and 90 percent of the value of the collateral (known as 50 to 90 percent “loan to value”). 

Character

In addition to cash flow, credit and collateral, lenders also heavily consider “soft” traits, cumulatively known as character. These include your business background, business acumen, education, work experience and ability to be successful. Lenders learn this information by their personal interactions with you and your general reputation in the community, but also on the payment trends outlined in your credit reports, dependability of your entire management team, previous lawsuits or charges that indicate unethical behavior and background checks.

While the other three Cs carry a lot of weight, don’t underestimate the power that good character and a good relationship with your banker can have in your attainment of a commercial loan. This is when it’s advantageous to bank at a community bank with a local banker who knows you and can make a loan decision at the local level.

When you have your four C’s in line, talk to your lender about what kind of financing is available to you. If your business is strong in these areas, you will likely be able to finance the type of steady growth that helps communities and people to succeed. If one area is weaker than the others, talk to your lender. There may be programs or opportunities still available for your business. As always, your lender will be a great guide in helping you to find the right type of financing for your business.

Richard Gray is senior vice president of commercial lending and SBA lending at Bank of American Fork, Utah’s community bank leader, an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Richard also manages the bank’s Murray branch, and he has assisted local small businesses in obtaining SBA funding for more than 25 years. He serves on the board of directors for nonprofit Kostopolus Dream Foundation and was the chairman for nonprofit Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund, Salt Lake City.

100 Year On Blog
This blog includes articles, information, tips and advice on all things money by the financial experts at Bank of American Fork. But this blog is not one-sided; we want to hear what you think. Share your ideas, experiences and comments to get the dialogue going.

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