April 21, 2021
You may not know it by looking at me, but I’m a huge Pink Floyd fan. When I thought about writing this blog, one lyric kept popping into my head: “All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.” This line was spoken by Stephen Hawking on the 1994 recording of “Keep Talking.” Brilliant.
April 21, 2021
While there were only a handful of de novo banks annually from 2009-2018, the number of new bank applications and charters has begun to rise again. If you’re curious about what it takes to start a de novo bank, you may be wondering what steps and obstacles you could encounter during the process.
In this episode of Bank on Wipfli, Mike Vesel and Robert Zondag talk to two founders of de novo banks: Charles DeWitt, Founding Chairman and CEO of Tandem Bank, and Bill Hopper, Founding Chairman and CEO of Classic City Bank. We discuss the strategy behind how they set up their banks, what challenges they encountered and more.
March 24, 2021
I have been a hunter for almost all of my life. This past fall, I spent 12 days in Alaska on a moose hunt, and most of the entire week of Thanksgiving participating in Wisconsin’s annual deer hunt (as well as a few days bowhunting before that).
March 19, 2021
By Chris Hewitt
In a year filled with changes that have no doubt impacted daily operations, we continue to need to be agile and plan ahead because it seems the only constant in our lives is change.
March 15, 2021
You’ve probably heard about the drastic rise in cyberattacks in 2020. Spurred partly by organizations’ need to transition employees to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, cyberattacks have gotten more frequent and sophisticated. In fact, phishing attacks increased by almost 700% in 2020. Beyond attacks utilizing technology, we are also seeing increases in all types of fraud.
In this episode of Bank on Wipfli, Mike Vesel talks to Marc Courey, Director of Forensic & Litigation Services at Wipfli and a specialist in fraud and forensic investigations, about how fraud has changed and adapted since the start of the pandemic. They discuss:
- Types of internal and external fraud
- What fraud trends Marc has seen during the pandemic
- What steps a financial institution should take if they suspect fraud
Listen now to learn how you can help protect your institution from fraud and mitigate your risk.
- Financial institution fraud is 43% more successful
- Employee fraud: What you need to know
- How to respond to fraud
- Managing the new normal of cyber resiliency for financial institutions
- Scams financial institutions should watch for during COVID-19
February 25, 2021
By Nick Bonnema
In January 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) chartered the Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law to examine the existing legal and regulatory environment facing consumers and financial service providers and to make appropriate recommendations.
February 24, 2021
The regulatory oversight of the banking industry has been relatively quiet for the past couple of years. There have been a few things here and there but nothing new that has consumed our attention. That will probably change. In fact, it might have already started.
February 22, 2021
As an auditor, the final months of the year are generally filled with a lot of planning work as we prepare for the upcoming audit season. Part of that planning time involves looking back to the prior-year audit files to refresh our understanding and develop an appropriate audit plan for the coming year.
February 16, 2021
The financial institutions industry is struggling with digital transformation. Those who have failed in their attempts to engage a digital transformation strategy have largely done so due to integration challenges. But digital transformation will be critical to future success and better serving clients’ needs.
February 1, 2021
By Mike Morris
For banks and credit unions, the idea of model validation is nothing new. As manual processes like loan decisioning have become more and more automated, it has also become necessary to test and monitor these automations to ensure accuracy.
While regulators have traditionally moved (eventually) to formalize these model validation requirements, today’s technology landscape has introduced some new factors in the form of much more sophisticated machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. ML and AI are no longer in the future, and today’s banks and credit unions are already exploring these systems’ capabilities.
January 25, 2021
Private banks and smaller SEC companies will have to adopt CECL in the coming years, so it can be helpful to look at how CECL has impacted financial institutions so far.
In this episode of the Bank on Wipfli podcast, we dive into:
- What challenges CECL and its implementation have brought forward
- What smaller institutions can do to prepare for their adoption date
- What methodologies should be used depending on loan type, and what patterns we have seen
- What the range of impacts have been to the allowance upon adoption
Wipfli Senior Manager John Erwin says, “Avoiding surprises or having earlier discussions will save a lot of headaches …. It’s very hard to overprepare even if you feel like you are.” Click here to learn more about CECL, its requirements and how you can get started. And don’t forget to download or listen to the podcast.
January 18, 2021
Remember the limbo dance contest? The aim was to pass forward under a low bar without falling or dislodging the bar. The bar was progressively lowered and therefore harder to get under at every pass. At some point a brave — and undoubtedly very flexible — soul would eventually snake their way underneath the bar that was just inches off the ground and win the contest.
December 15, 2020
By Anna Kooi
As the Financial Services Industry Leader, every day I learn of new information as to how COVID-19 is affecting our clients, our associates, our communities and our partners. But through these experiences, I am proud of our team as they have discovered new strengths and continued to demonstrate the Wipfli core values – integrity, caring, excellence, teamwork and perseverance.
December 8, 2020
Salary compression: the compensation horizon summed up in two words.
In the past 12 months, I have had more conversations about salary compression (also known as wage compression) with financial institutions than in the previous five years, and I anticipate more conversations will unfold as we move into 2021. It is “compensation season” after all, and this time of updating compensation programs in anticipation of budgeting will bring into focus those challenging compression issues.
December 4, 2020
Have the recent changes in the banking industry impacted the efficiency of what financial institutions do?
December 2, 2020
By Toby Handel
Like many of us, my family is making plans for the upcoming holidays. Those plans include adjusting some of our traditions, like shrinking the gathering size. Other traditions will carry on as usual, like enjoying plenty of food and fun.
November 24, 2020
I can remember way back when I was in college. I had a big project that required lots of research, a lengthy paper and of course the much-dreaded presentation to the class.
November 19, 2020
As a security consultant at Wipfli, I spend a lot of time conducting penetration tests, vulnerability assessments and social engineering tests where I actively attempt to gain unauthorized access to information or systems. It sometimes blows my mind that I have a job where I have to think like a criminal, in order to actually help my clients.
November 10, 2020
I am sitting here today in the throes of the election coverage, wondering why it is taking so long to decide these races and see who is going to be controlling the legislative branches of our government. I am sure many of you are doing the same. One would think with technology advances, and many years of going through this process, that efficiencies would have helped get us all to an answer earlier.
November 4, 2020
No one will argue these are uncertain times, but that doesn’t mean financial institutions should push aside strategic planning. Many top-performing financial institutions recognize that maintaining a strategic planning cadence is key to identifying the North Star and the roadmap for team members, even when everything in our daily lives and the economy seem out of control.
November 2, 2020
Most of us probably have no desire to review the first three quarters of 2020, but I thought it would be useful to summarize how things are going in the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/Anti-Money Laundering (AML) space relating to COVID-19 and the challenges it has presented and continues to present.
October 28, 2020
By Kevin Janke
In Zager and Evans’ 1968 number-one hit “In the Year 2525,” the duo sings about what mankind will look like in the future during years 2525, 3535 and so on. While I don’t feel like I can comment on that far ahead, I do believe that the COVID-19 pandemic will end and that our industry will go back to consolidating at a pace like that after the Great Recession.
October 27, 2020
Financial institutions want to keep their thumb on the pulse of what’s happening with compensation. That’s why we invited Julia Johnson, Director, Organizational Performance at Wipfli, to speak about how the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), lending volumes and other factors have impacted employee compensation. She and Mike Vesel, Partner at Wipfli, also discuss the results of Wipfli’s annual Community Bank Executive and Board Compensation Survey.
October 19, 2020
Many years ago, as I was working to become a partner at Wipfli, one of my mentors asked me a question: “Do you know what a partnership is?”
October 14, 2020
October 13, 2020
As of the time I'm writing this, it has been over six months since Wipfli originally directed us to work from home. While I was technically allowed to return to my office in June (at reduced capacity and subject to local restrictions), most employees at Wipfli still choose to work from home.
October 7, 2020
Now that we’re officially in the fall season, I was out this weekend with some friends looking at the color changes in the leaves. What a beautiful time of year! Although it was a bit cloudy, which did not allow for the normal highlighting of the colors we typically get this time of year, it was still beautiful. And it probably will get even better for a few more days, before we lose the leaves completely in this annual ritual.
September 28, 2020
The on-going COVID-19 pandemic has had many negative impacts. However, one of the positive things that has come out of this is a reminder for us to get back to the basics. People have been reminded about the importance of family time, taking long walks, having conversations, checking on each other, washing our hands and being nice.
September 25, 2020
As I write this blog, we have record wildfires scorching the west, hurricanes pounding the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, a health pandemic ravaging the world and, oh yeah, it’s an election year, so we are getting pummeled by political ads.
September 18, 2020
The dreaded cough …
It’s not a good time to be someone who suffers from allergies, as is the case with my son. He was sent home from daycare a few weeks ago due to his cough and complaint of a sore throat. I was certain it was allergies, though I understand that given the times we are living in, we can’t just take that at face value.
September 14, 2020
Our latest episode dives into a topic that has harbored both mystery and a strong stigma: the Dark Web.
Our special guest this time is Mark Scholl, a Wipfli Principal who specializes in IT and has several certifications — including “Certified Ethical Hacker.”
September 7, 2020
Managing change in 2020 has been difficult, stressful and exhausting. On a personal level, routines no longer exist. I can count on one hand how many times I have sat down at a restaurant to eat since March.
September 2, 2020
Health and wellness are of paramount concern to our employees. Many are hesitant to return to in-office work; many continue to feel social isolation; for those with family care responsibilities, many are uncertain as to what that will look like in the coming weeks and months; and many are struggling with achieving appropriate balance when working from home.
September 1, 2020
How often do you think about enterprise risk management (ERM)?
Our latest episode of Bank on Wipfli dives into management’s and the board of directors’ roles when it comes to ERM — as well as the impact ERM may have on your organization.
August 26, 2020
I love watching Jeopardy — even though it is a constant reminder that my wealth of knowledge is painfully small.
If I am lucky, I may get 5 questions out of 61 right. However, when the potpourri category comes up, I can run the board. I may not be able to name the presidents or have any clue a war even happened — let alone when it happened or why — but boy do I know useless, random trivia no one else cares about.
August 20, 2020
By Pat Tuley
Through the pandemic, the government has utilized stimulus strategies that have never been used before. Through the first four stimulus packages, estimates are that the government has put over $2 trillion of cash into the economy through a variety of avenues. This is obviously needed to bridge the economy through the pandemic to recovery.
August 18, 2020
Our latest episode is the fourth in our series diving into the roles management and boards of directors relation to current topics. Mike Vesel discusses mergers and acquisitions with M&A professional Kevin Janke.
August 11, 2020
This summer in central Wisconsin has been one of the more consistently hot summers I can remember in a long time. My family has spent more time at the lake (maybe I should say “in” the lake) than in some time. Staying cool has been a challenge.
July 27, 2020
Our latest episode is the third in our series diving into management’s and the board of directors’ roles in documenting appropriately. Mike Vesel discusses this idea as it relates to strategic planning and advisory alongside Wipfli’s own strategic specialist, Marcie Bomberg.
July 23, 2020
We have all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” Sometimes the who you know can get you the what you need to know. Connecting to the correct person can often give you the answers you need and efficiently resolve issues.
July 13, 2020
The year 2020 will be looked back at by many as a year of strife, and many of us are looking forward to 2020 coming to an end — especially the chance for a fresh start. While life may not get back to the “normal” we were accustomed to, most people are just looking to get back to some form of normalcy.
July 11, 2020
Our latest episode is the second in our series diving into management’s and the board of director’s roles in documenting appropriately. In our second episode in this series, Mike Vesel discusses how those roles and documentation mean for regulatory compliance with two of Wipfli’s regulatory compliance specialists: Kathy Enbom and Robin Guthridge.
Sharing their knowledge and experience, Mike, Kathy and Robin dive into information the board expects/requires as it relates to regulatory compliance, including the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), management’s role in providing information to the board, and more.
July 8, 2020
Do you subscribe to various regulatory agency publications for the financial services industry?
You probably feel inundated with data, statistics, analysis, news, policies, laws, reports and — my personal favorite — supervisory insights! Reading through the fine print of constantly evolving regulatory information in the financial services industry is a tedious, time-consuming, devilish task. Add a pandemic to the usual influx of information, and usual becomes extraordinary!
July 2, 2020
Reflecting on the past several months, a thought keeps popping into my head: “Change.”
While change has always been a factor in our daily work and personal lives, it has become exponentially more impactful these past several months with onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
June 25, 2020
As stay-at-home orders are gradually lifted and the economy slowly reopens, many bankers are asking themselves, “How much do I need in my allowance?” Fortunately, banks have not experienced widespread loans losses during this pandemic, now going on over three months. Yet there is a feeling of uneasiness; we know the losses are there — it is just a matter of time until they rear their ugly head.
June 23, 2020
Our latest episode is the first in our series diving into management and the board of directors’ roles in documenting appropriately. Wipfli partner Mike Vesel, alongside IT senior managers Matt Janoski and Jim Rumph, discusses how this idea relates to IT.
June 17, 2020
I am supposed to be married on August 1, 2020, though it remains to be seen whether that will be possible, given the coronavirus pandemic. Like many other “corona brides,” I have spent the last few months trying to determine whether to postpone my wedding, continue with a much smaller wedding or just elope, while also closely monitoring guidance from the CDC and state and local governments.
June 12, 2020
I’m sure you have noticed this strange phenomenon of our times. I will call it “the polite walk around.”
For those of us who live in more densely populated areas, the daily walk or run around the neighborhood entails crossing paths with a number of individuals doing exactly the same thing. Six months ago, I would have been offended if I passed someone on the street and they intentionally stepped away from me or walked to the other side of the block or the street. I would have interpreted that as extremely rude or at the very least some form of social dysfunction. Now I consider it the height of respect and politeness.
June 3, 2020
By Austin Lentz
The other day I got an alert on my phone notifying me that I was running low on storage. After deleting some unnecessary apps and pictures, I decided it was best to back up my data so this didn’t happen again.
June 2, 2020
In our latest episode, Mike Vesel discusses liquidity risks and why liquidity will likely become more important as we progress through the current economic cycle. Mike and ERM specialist Karen Mitchell explore where financial institutions are currently at with liquidity, as well as what they should start to focus on.
Sharing their knowledge and experience, Mike and Karen go through the thought process required when considering liquidity with the possibility of a recession on the rise.
May 27, 2020
I work from the Wipfli offices most days. As I write this, it’s been 43 workdays since I left the house for work purposes. Like many others, I have no real reason to leave the house – nowhere really to go. But I try to keep my finger on the pulse of credit unions. I look at a lot of websites. I see what credit unions are doing on LinkedIn. I watch credit union Facebook pages.
May 20, 2020
As I was working on my calendar, I realized it has been almost seven weeks since I’ve left my home office to physically work at a client location. For me, that’s a long time to be in the office. Couple that with the limiting of personal trips out of the house, and it’s enough to cause major stress. I know you know what I’m talking about.
May 19, 2020
In our latest episode, Mike Vesel discusses the various information technology issues that have arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mike and two partners from the Wipfli Information Technology group, Durward Ferland and Mark Scholl, explore how their clients are handling these tech-related issues, new security and risk struggles and what the new normal may be looking like as states reopen their economies.
May 18, 2020
Have you ever played the game telephone?
One person tells another person a story until we get to laugh at what concocted story the last person in the chain puts together to tell the group. Besides being funny, there is a good life lesson in this game – everyone hears and then translates words differently.
May 14, 2020
For the past several weeks, we have been moving at a fast and furious pace to wrap our arms around COVID-19. Everyone was scrambling to understand the new legislative alphabet soup and its impact (e.g., FFCRA, CARES, SBA, PPP, PPE, PUC), to pivot to a predominantly remote workforces, to execute pandemic plans, to modify physical work environments of essential businesses and to manage the many and varied concerns of employees.
May 13, 2020
My husband and I enjoy watching our kids’ competitive team-sport games. During football season in the fall of 2018, our son kept dislocating his shoulder and we were advised that he should get surgery. So he did in October 2018, with an estimated five-month recovery period. Then during lacrosse season in the spring of 2019, our son tore his ACL playing lacrosse … surgery again! Post-surgery, he required time for healing, lots of physical therapy and rigorous exercise programs to strengthen the areas to be able to play competitive sports again in 9 to 12 months. Just as we were thinking luck had not been on our side lately, our daughter tore her ACL playing soccer in the fall of 2019. One could say that three sports-related surgeries for a family in a year’s time was a low-probability/high-impact scenario.
May 7, 2020
In our second episode, Mike Vesel, Wipfli's Financial Institutions Practice Leader, discusses how financial institutions are facing the COVID-19 pandemic and tackling some major employee-related developments. Mike and Julia Johnson, Director of Organizational Performance, dive into how employers are compensating their employees during these uncertain times, how their organizations are staying on top of overall employee performance, and the impact COVID-19 has made thus far.
May 6, 2020
Why do I feel like I have seen this movie (or should I say horror film) before? As an experienced human resources professional, I have come to expect that anytime there is a disruption in the economy (and the layoff of millions of people is a cataclysmic disruption), significant change will follow.
April 29, 2020
In this episode, Mike Vesel dives into loan modifications and how they may surface during the economic cycle by discussing troubled debt restructurings (TDR’s) and their history with Lee Christensen and Brett Schwantes.
April 28, 2020
Many people are bored at home these days. As they shelter at home and social distancing orders are being expanded, folks are more and more turning to the electronic world for news and information and to relieve the boredom of being cooped up. I am used to working in my home office. I spend many working days here as I service our clients. But being at home today, every day, and with no clear end in sight, many of my online contacts on social media are getting bored. I can tell. And they’re letting their guards down.
April 27, 2020
Yes, I am smack in the middle of the Baby Boom generation (1946 to 1964) having been born in 1954. At age 66 and having spanned a work history that started when I was 16, I’ve been in the world of work for 50 years. Talk about “been there done that” – “earned the t-shirt”! Each generation has social and political events that impacts its generational personality.
April 27, 2020
I drive a lot. I am terrible with directions, and I tend to get lost frequently when I rely on my internal ability to navigate. I rely on my GPS to get me almost everywhere using the most efficient route possible. I get in my car, type in the address of my destination and blindly follow the turn-by-turn directions my GPS gives me. Occasionally, it will send me on crazy routes that make no sense at all and end up taking me much longer than other routes.
April 20, 2020
It feels like the older I get the quicker time seems to go and the further behind I get. I try to stay organized, both digitally and old school, but I swear some days seem to have less than 24 hours.
April 17, 2020
Given the recent onset of the COVID-19 virus, financial institutions are struggling with myriad items that will impact their already approved budgets for 2020.
April 16, 2020
By Kevin Janke
Given the current times, the situation reminds me a bit of the Great Recession. I am not suggesting — and certainly not hoping — that the COVID-19 situation is similar, but what is similar is that we have external factors which are likely affecting the value of your stock.
April 15, 2020
Millennials have long been labeled as self-centered and accused of ruining some big traditions: Marriage, brick and mortar stores, face-to-face interaction (seems a bit ironic now), and the list goes on.
April 15, 2020
Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures.
I don’t know about you, but that phrase is growing more fatiguing by the day. I think it’s safe to say we all are acutely aware of the extraordinary measures that lie in front of us.
April 14, 2020
Recent events have created much uncertainty in the world. Uncertainty leads to anxiety in the financial markets and, invariably, stress in financial institutions. One particular area of stress that financial institutions across the U.S. are feeling right now is borrower inability to make loan payments.
April 3, 2020
When I first began working on this blog, we weren’t all immersed in learning a new language: coronavirus, social distancing, sheltering in place and all the other new words and phrases we are learning and interpreting hour by hour and day by day as it is all moving and changing so quickly. None of this was on my radar, and today it reflects what is top of mind for me and what our clients are sharing.
The employee experience is probably more important today than it was yesterday, and it will be more important tomorrow than it is today. The employee experience today demonstrates our values, our culture, our ability to come together as an organization and as communities to overcome and to carry on — both today when we are in the thick of it and in the near future when we consider what awaits us on the backside.
April 2, 2020
Customer experience. Fan experience. Employee experience. Everywhere you turn there is an emphasis on the “experience.” Working in human resources, I often engage in conversations with like-minded professionals to explore and discuss how can we structure the growth, development, opportunities and work environment for our employees in an effort to attract, motivate and retain. In short, in this tumultuous employment landscape, it is no small challenge and a significant feat to achieve retention of our associates. Even the words “associate,” “team member” and “colleague” change the perspective of the employer-employee experience.
April 1, 2020
A few weeks ago, my granddaughter, an active four-year-old, spent a few days at my house. On the last day of her visit, my feet needed a rest from going on bear hunts and being a superhero detective. As a way to spend some time on the couch, I found an app on my iPad where we could put makeup, outfits and accessories on princesses and mermaids with the swipe of a finger — and all for FREE. Twenty-plus games in one app! I downloaded the application, and to begin the fun, we chose a group of three princesses to make beautiful.
March 31, 2020
I read an article a couple of days ago about a bank on the Gulf Coast that literally handed out cash (which it had dug out of vaults and teller drawers covered with mud) to victims of Hurricane Katrina when people could not access their local financial institutions or ATM machines to buy food or other necessities. Cash was handed out to customers and noncustomers alike with the request to return it when they could. The result of that act of kindness was a phenomenal growth in deposits the following year, but more importantly, the experience left an indelible mark in the minds of the communities the bank served.
March 31, 2020
Stopping to reflect on how much life has fundamentally changed in the last week. Who could have predicted businesses shutting down, schools closing, restaurants and bars shuttering, toilet paper becoming more valuable than gold, etc., etc. Will we ever go back to normal? What will be the new normal?
March 26, 2020
By Anna Kooi
Over the course of the last two weeks, we have seen significant changes to just about everything that impacts our daily lives. Schools are closed; businesses are; the market had its biggest drop in 80 years, followed by the biggest point gain in history. COVID-19 continues to be the topic we cannot get away from, and Congress is trying to address the economic impacts starting to happen and the recession that some say is coming and others say is here.
March 23, 2020
When I was a college student studying finance, a professor explained that the theoretical value of any asset is the present value of the expected future cash flows from it. This is true for stocks, bonds, precious metals and real estate. The difficult part is to accurately estimate future cash flows (which include the price you sell it for). Since financial institutions often lend on real estate, the estimated value of it, including cash flows, is quite relevant.
March 18, 2020
A few weeks ago, as I was trying to get out the door with my two boys and make sure I didn’t forget anything, I gave my boys instructions for last-minute tasks each of them had to do before getting in the car. I told my little one to make sure the lights were off and told my oldest to make sure the radio was on for our dog, Belle.
March 6, 2020
Bank, credit union and leaders of all financial institutions it’s time to stop all the problem-solving and let your team shine.
It’s time to look in the mirror and decide whether we are helping or hindering with our leadership style.
March 2, 2020
Have you ever made a decision you later regretted?
February 24, 2020
Within the last two weeks, my brothers and I have put my parents (who are 91 and 94) into two different assisted living facilities. Between dealing with doctors, social workers, people from the various facilities and family, we have had challenges that we are just simply not familiar with and frankly unprepared for. Luckily, everyone has been very helpful, and we are accomplishing our goal — keeping my parents comfortable and safe.
February 21, 2020
Winter is finally here, which is hard to believe given the lack of snow this year where I live. I am not one of those people who hates winter or summer — I try to find activities to do regardless of the season. Growing up in Montana, I have always loved skiing as a winter activity. So of course I want my son to love skiing as much as I do, and that takes practice. As I work toward the goal of helping my son enjoy skiing as much as I do (so we can spend our days up on the hill without his instructor), many things come into play. Hopefully my goals and his goals will line up, which is looking very promising.
February 10, 2020
My husband and I welcomed our third child into our family this past year and have been acclimating to our new chaotic lifestyle as a family of five. With a six-year-old, four-year-old and eight-month-old, we are constantly on our toes, and every day brings new adventures.
February 3, 2020
A new decade presents us with the opportunity for a fresh start. A fresh start will be different for each one of us — maybe a new career path, a new hobby or even just new carpet or paint in your home. Anything that may give you a fresh perspective in life.
January 27, 2020
By Mark Scholl
My introduction to computer technology began in 1981 on an Apple II series, with the Radio Shack TRS-80 soon to follow. It’s been exciting to see the digital transformation over my years of working as a programmer, network engineer and IT auditor. As I write this, 2020 closes out another decade. Some changes have been welcome and some not so welcome.
January 20, 2020
This year is my family’s biannual family vacation to Disney World! While the family gets excited about the vacation — my wife builds a countdown chart, and the kids start to watch videos of all the rides they get to go on — I get to start planning.
January 16, 2020
By Tracy Bush
We all have tough choices to make as we go through life. My son is graduating in May and recently selected which college to attend for the next four years (okay, I’m a realist — maybe five years). He spent his time preparing for the application process by studying hard, being an active member of student council and National Honor Society, volunteering in the community, participating in the sailing club and working at a restaurant. This led him to the point where he was able to meet the qualifications at just about any university across the country.
January 5, 2020
By Nick Bonnema
Much like with a board game, truly understanding the multitude of regulatory requirements requires the ability to see the big picture, manage risk, identify the known and anticipate the unknown. Whether it is a risk assessment, a compliance engagement, specialized training or assistance with day-to-day compliance questions through ComplianceHelp, Wipfli is here to help with your compliance challenges today and can work with you to achieve your future strategic goals.
December 24, 2019
As talent management consultants, we see more frustration among our clients over performance management and compensation issues than any other human resource issue. But aligning these two things is critical to helping employees understand your organization’s expectations around performance and how performance impacts compensation.
December 16, 2019
I was born in Florida, but I’ve lived in Minnesota most of my life (or at least as long as I’ve been old enough to drive). Through high school and college and since I started my career, I’ve driven small-sized sedans with front wheel drive. Although I like to think that I’ve mastered winter driving in Minnesota, I’ve always dreamed of having an all-wheel-drive vehicle. Finally, my dream was fulfilled this year!
December 13, 2019
You’ve likely heard of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act, or FDICIA, a time or two, since most bankers are aware of the significance of crossing the $1 billion asset threshold. While most banks are aware of FDICIA, many don’t fully understand the whole process that goes into being compliant.
December 9, 2019
By Mike Morris
Financial institutions tend to be in a good position for assessing and managing the standards of their overall risk. Whether overseeing compliance associated with industry regulations like Anti-Money Laundering and the Bank Secrecy Act or monitoring their own internal controls, most institutions understand the need to be diligent and make informed decisions. However, when it comes to early adoption of new, innovative financial technologies, those same conservative views that serve them well elsewhere can cause hesitation and, ultimately, stagnation.
December 5, 2019
Now that the school year is in full swing and the holiday season is here, I am receiving more emails for SignUpGenius.com for various events. If you haven’t heard of SignUpGenius, it’s a website that is used to organize events that need volunteers.
November 22, 2019
When did life become so complicated? I found myself pondering this question last weekend as I drove each of our four children to different activities in different locations. When the kids were little, I naively assumed that life would become simpler as they became more independent. If anything, the opposite has proven true.
November 18, 2019
My wife’s job has the flexible benefit of working remotely from home. Of course, one of the benefits of working from home is that you don’t have the hassle of dealing with a daily commute into the office, fighting traffic and bad weather. A natural side effect of not having a commute is that her vehicle doesn’t get driven nearly as often as mine.
November 6, 2019
By Tim Tedrick
"Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” Winston Churchill
November 4, 2019
By Toby Handel
We recently moved our daughter to Columbia, Missouri, to start school at the University of Missouri. A few years ago, we moved our son to Iowa City, Iowa, to start school at the University of Iowa. In both cases, the kids saw benefits to becoming official residents of their respective states, so they followed their state’s respective requirements — getting a driver’s license, registering to vote, etc.
October 28, 2019
It seems like every time I bring my car in for an oil change, what should be a $65.00 expenditure ends up being $1,000. Somehow the tread on my tires is not quite right or the front brakes are showing signs of wear (last time it was the rear brakes). Inevitably I’m left with the decision to fix the small problem now or wait until I’m stranded on the side of the road, speed-dialing AAA. Miraculously, this last oil change cost me only the $65.00. The other inspection points were “in the green zone” not the cautionary “yellow zone” or the dreaded “red zone.” I was very pleased and naturally bragged to friends and family about this last oil change.
October 23, 2019
Investors and business managers, including agricultural producers and agribusiness, are averse to increased levels of uncertainty and the elevated risk that may accompany it. Uncertainty is part of the business environment; however, managers seek opportunities to manage and mitigate risk presented in the industry.
October 16, 2019
Digital disruption is changing the financial institutions industry.
We don’t know what the financial institutions of tomorrow will look like. We do know people will be a driving force in whether our organizations keep up with change (or better yet, get out ahead).
October 7, 2019
As we all know, the financial services industry has been consolidating for many years. In the more than 38 years I have been working with financial institutions, there has never been a year when there were more institutions one year than there were in the previous year.
October 1, 2019
With the labor market tightening, there are more jobs being created than there are people to fill them. And for management and leadership roles — where we’re seeing many long-time leaders retiring — the skill gap only compounds this reality.
September 24, 2019
Our news cycle is exhausting. Our globally connected lives mean we get news from all over the world in almost real time. We get political spin from both directions constantly on our TVs, in our ears, and on our news feeds. We get news about disasters, natural and manmade, as they happen. We hear about tragedies as they unfold, as they are posted live to Facebook and Twitter. And many of us — most of us, I think — just check out. We tune it out, turn it all off. It’s just too much to take in.
September 17, 2019
On July 17, 2019, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) voted to delay the effective date for accounting for credit losses, commonly referred to as CECL. The effective date for calendar year-end SEC filers, excluding smaller reporting companies, will remain January 1, 2020. The new effective date for all other calendar year-end entities will be January 1, 2023.
September 4, 2019
Unfortunately, I have had multiple reasons in the past couple of years to find out what is covered under my homeowner’s and auto insurance policy. My basement flooded in December 2016, and I got hit by a deer in December 2018. I know, Happy Holidays, right? I spent years feeling good about being insured and knowing that if something happened, I would be covered. Unfortunately, in one of these instances I realized I was not covered under my insurance policy because of the type of flooding that happened in my basement.
August 29, 2019
September is a month when organizations start to think about projects they want completed by January 1st. It’s a busy and exciting time for a compensation professional like me. Lots of numbers to analyze and increases to give. We call this the Reward and Recognition component of the Talent Management Effectiveness Loop.
August 26, 2019
Ours is a world of instant gratification, instant information, and instant opinion. You can open an internet browser at any moment for news, sports scores, and social activities and find no shortage of other people’s thoughts on matters from politics to restaurants to goods and services. Sites like Amazon and Yelp are built with customer feedback as a critical component.
August 20, 2019
Has your organization tended to view the strategic planning process as linear? In many organizations, leadership develops a plan that outlines the organization’s strategic priorities, shapes its goals and drives its action plans. A leads to B, which leads to C and so on, until annual review time when the plan is updated.
August 14, 2019
In just two short weeks, my two-year-old son and I will be saying goodbye to my husband as he embarks on a six-month deployment with the United States Air Force. Although we have known this time would be coming for almost a year, it didn’t really start to hit home until very recently. Thankfully my husband is very organized, so over the past six months he has been making a list of things for me to remember that he would normally take care of. For example, emptying the gas in the lawn mower before winter, blowing out the sprinklers, and covering the deck furniture (although I have faith in myself that I would have done this one without a reminder).
August 1, 2019
We recently had a contractor do two different projects on our house. The invoice we received had one total price, and I wondered what the breakdown between the two projects was. The purpose of obtaining the breakdown was to satisfy my curiosity, and it had no other impact. But for financial institutions, obtaining the breakdown for work performed could result in a higher tax deduction and lower tax liability.
July 31, 2019
The recent threat of Iranian cyberattacks isn’t new to financial institutions.
July 22, 2019
My car has been in the shop for the last four days after I heard an alarming noise coming from the brakes. After much diagnosis from the technicians, it turned out to be the antilock brakes causing the problem. Apparently, much of the noise I had been hearing was just them kicking in…oops!
July 14, 2019
Have you ever had one of those Homer Simpson “Doh!” moments? Well, I did a couple of days ago while chatting with my son at dinner. He is in a co-op at a manufacturing company, entering his junior year in mechanical engineering. He was talking about using a computer program to design parts of a molding machine and how to check to make sure the part will fit.
July 7, 2019
While through the years indirect lending has proven to be a viable way to increase the loan portfolio for many financial institutions, that growth has not come without a price. Indirect loans are often associated with a higher degree of losses because of default and, sometimes, fraud.
June 30, 2019
It is finally summer, and I am looking forward to going on vacation and taking a good long road trip. Over the years my family and I have taken a few road trips to the national parks. Some trips have taken us a few days to arrive at our destination and some did not go as planned and we never made it to our destination.
June 23, 2019
Your financial institution may also be thinking about making a new purchase. You probably won’t be buying a camper, but you may be looking to upgrade computers, software or office furniture or put a new addition on your building. Are you up-to-date on the current depreciation and expensing rules to help you maximize your tax deduction on these purchases? Below is a summary of the depreciation rules under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).
June 16, 2019
For Mother’s Day, my wife and I had a long weekend in Montgomery, Alabama, visiting our daughter’s family. There was a flight to Birmingham and then a drive to Montgomery. I returned on Sunday evening, careful to have booked a flight in time for an ALM presentation I had on Monday for a state CPA financial institutions program. My wife, a third-grade teacher, had a substitute for Monday so she could spend an additional day with the grandchildren.
June 10, 2019
With our endless spring season, we finally made it up to open our cabin for the summer. The first visit tends to be our annual checkup. By that I mean after we arrive and as we start looking around, we make note of what might need our attention.
June 4, 2019
Now is the time to take a step back and look at your compliance program and see where your risks are. See where you lack testing, peek into areas you have not in a while.
May 27, 2019
Since I began my time with Wipfli, I have had the opportunity to visit close to 100 financial institutions across the Midwest, each with unique client bases, processes and general lending philosophies. I have reviewed loans businesses and individuals including everything from logging companies in upper Michigan to grain farmers in Iowa to real estate developers in Chicago. I could never have gained that type of experience in a lifetime of working for institutions myself. In addition, I work with several reviewers who each have different backgrounds and lending experiences than mine.
May 20, 2019
As I packed my tackle box for my trip to northern Minnesota for the 2019 fishing opener, I reflected on some previous fishing trips, trying to evaluate what tactics worked well and which ones were complete duds. I was reminded of one trip that included a fair amount of simple bobber fishing for panfish, specifically bluegill (necessary when young children are in the boat, which I am sure many of you can relate to).
May 12, 2019
Every financial institution is required to comply with the NACHA Operating Rules for the exchange and settlement of electronic funds transfers through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network. These rules require an annual ACH audit be performed by December 31 each calendar year. Historically, the rules included Appendix Eight, which outlined the minimum requirements of each ACH audit. However, effective for 2019 ACH audits, Appendix Eight no longer exists! So now what?
May 6, 2019
By the time this blog is posted, May 1 will have come and gone. May Day, when I was growing up, was always a great day. It was the harbinger of springtime and a time of great fun. We scoured our craft drawers and boxes for construction paper and lace doilies, and I hounded my father (who at that time was a pipe smoker) for pipe cleaners. Using those materials, we constructed May baskets. Then the fun began.
May 1, 2019
When I think back to when I watched movies as a kid, I remember waiting for the “good part.” Whether it was a car chase, the big fight scene or the final defeat of the villain, it always involved some action, the more the better. The boring, long dialog scenes and plot building culminated in the final action sequence, and I wanted to skip to that and see the film’s heroes win!
April 22, 2019
Eliminating wasteful activities is one way to drive improved metrics in a bank, including the organization’s efficiency rating. While attacking problem areas and processes can be engaging, there are times when your team may think the people, rather than the process, are the problem. Utilizing some tips and tools to get the staff accustomed to looking deeply at a process helps takes the emotion out of the review and allows them to review activities through a new lens.
April 15, 2019
By Mark Scholl
I was recently on a trip to Colorado with my wife to visit friends and family while also getting in a couple of afternoons of snow skiing. The Rocky Mountains have gotten plenty of snow this season, with some areas getting over 70 inches in the first part of March. While I believe I am an experienced driver, navigating through the winding, mountainous curves of Berthoud Pass tested my skills. As I came around a curve just a few miles outside Winter Park, Colorado, the three lanes of traffic came to a sudden halt. There was a small avalanche that covered the road a few minutes before I arrived. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
April 8, 2019
Okay, I said it: outsourcing. But I do not associate it with low-quality offshoring. As I wrestle with life with five-week-old and two-and-a-half-year-old-going-on-preteen children, I am continually looking for ways to outsource or automate tasks to make my — and particularly my wife’s — life easier. Diapers, wipes and formula are automatically ordered and delivered without a thought — wonderful! It leaves more time for baby snuggles and toddler time.
March 31, 2019
My daughter came home this weekend for a visit, and we were reminiscing about some of the vacations our family has taken. We have been to places like England and Ireland, Mexico, Florida on spring breaks, cruising the Caribbean, and several other trips in the United States. One of the most memorable, though, was a trip we took several years ago to Niagara Falls — but probably not for the reason you might think.
March 26, 2019
My husband and I were decluttering, Maria Kondo style, and came across a Best Buy advertising insert from December 2003. Featured products were video games and consoles, music CDs (Radiohead or Limp Bizkit, anyone?) and of course, movie DVDs — all of which have now been replaced with Internet streaming.
March 17, 2019
As a banker, not that many years ago, when we received word the examiners were coming, we knew that meant two to three weeks (maybe more) of our friends setting up shop in available conference rooms for a safety and soundness review of the bank. For those of us on the loan side, that meant making sure we had printed and filed current memos, loan presentations, status reports, etc.
March 14, 2019
My mom had a bathroom remodel done. She paid good money for some “extras,” not the least of which included two shower heads—one mounted on the wall and the other a moveable, handheld piece. The mounted showerhead has rings that turn, allowing the water to come out in a variety of ways: pulsing, gentle flow, circular, etc.
March 7, 2019
Like many of you, my life can get hectic, both at home and at work. In risk advisory services, the last few months of the year are our busiest time, and there are a lot of balls to keep in the air during those months. During these busy times, to manage my chaotic life, I try hard to be a planner. I plan my schedule in advance and make daily and weekly to-do lists.
February 28, 2019
Super Bowl week used to be one of my favorite weeks of the year. Not because of the great football game with the clever commercials. Or the buffalo wings, chili or other cold-weather comfort food that added to the enjoyment of watching the big event. Super Bowl was the signal of the end of my football season.
February 21, 2019
While it might be a stretch to say that we live our lives online, it is a simple fact that we interact with the internet for a significant portion of our days. Many of our interactions — certainly our most important and valuable ones — are controlled by an ID and a password. We know we’re not supposed to reuse the same password for multiple sites, but it gets hard not to do that when you have so many.
February 14, 2019
Over the past 25 years of my professional career, I have always known that communication lies at the heart of effective relationships — any relationship. Whether that relationship is between a leader and an employee, colleagues, or family members, the number one reason for the cause of consternation in those relationships is communication.
February 7, 2019
By Nick Bonnema
Finding the right answer to your banking questions can seem just as fraught when you are trying to find the solution to a complex fact pattern or navigating the regulatory requirements for a new product or service. As useful as Google (or Bing or AskJeeves) can seem, if you aren’t careful, you may come away with a distorted or outdated regulatory analysis.
January 27, 2019
It’s around this time each year, as the NFL playoffs inch closer to the Super Bowl, that I begin thinking about one of the other annual traditions associated with the “Big Game” — watching Super Bowl commercials! Over the course of many years, advertisers have pulled on our heartstrings, left us laughing and sometimes stunned or confused us with their ever-growing unique, catchy or inspiring messages.
January 23, 2019
Every year in late December, I evaluate whether to pay my real estate taxes before December 31 or wait until the due date. In the past, this was strictly related to cash flow and accelerating deductions.
January 14, 2019
By Teri Downey
I had forgotten how much kids can focus on the number of Christmas presents they get. This year my little grandson reminded me of the numbers game. Every time he came over to our house, he would count the number of presents under the tree. He would sort them out and stack them and count them again and again, as if he expected the number to grow each time he counted them.
January 8, 2019
By Toby Handel
Stock market record highs and record daily drops, trade tariffs, rising interest rates, FinTech expansion, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, implementation of sweeping tax law changes, cryptocurrency market volatility — these are just a few of the many changes in our world in 2018. No doubt 2019 will bring its share as well.
January 1, 2019
By Tim Tedrick
Like many new grandparents, my wife and I want to properly nurture our 15-month-old grandson. During the last year, we have visited him and his parents, watched him while his parents went to functions and had some “away time” and helped our grandson become more comfortable with other people.
December 25, 2018
Many of us spent the last few months getting ready for the holidays. While you were getting all this done, did you set your priorities and make a plan? Accomplishing all of this often takes some planning and determining what is most important. Checklists, calendars, and to-do lists are tools that help to make the preparation easier and ensure it all gets done.
December 17, 2018
Around Thanksgiving each year my family puts up our holiday decorations. My wife and I are suckers for the classic holiday movies (“White Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” are our two favorites), and this year while decorating our Christmas tree, we had “It’s a Wonderful Life” on in the background. My eldest son Jack, who will be six at the end of the year, kept stopping to watch the movie. He asked if I worked with money, and I said yes, indirectly. He was fascinated by the way people would go inside the bank to get money and that people had these things called a wallet to stash the money in.
December 12, 2018
As we move into 2019, we see that FinTech is becoming an integral part of the financial services value chain. FinTech companies are no longer outsiders, and virtually every financial institution is now already engaging in an innovation drive or is interested in pursuing a digital transformation plan, spurred on by competition from tech-savvy FinTech startups. We at Wipfli have seen technology moving from the “operations” plan to a “strategic” plan in many financial institutions.
December 3, 2018
After surviving the planning and execution of an archery party for my nine-year-old son and about 18 of his closest friends, I came to realize the end of the year was hurtling toward me faster than I could keep up with. Packed in the fourth quarter each year are occasions such as his birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas — all within approximately 75 days! No wonder I may feel a little more “high strung” toward the end of the year!
November 29, 2018
Have you ever played a memory matching game with a three- or four-year-old? Those are the games where you have a deck of cards with pairs of matching pictures.
November 22, 2018
This fall my oldest child started kindergarten. This is new territory for me as a parent in many ways. My husband and I now get to worry about bus routes, lunch menus, no-school days, and even homework. While it has been a lot of fun watching my five-year-old gain more independence, it has been a big change for all of us.
November 12, 2018
I recently sat down to help my seven-year-old son with his math homework. It was simple addition and subtraction; however, the methodology used to calculate the answer was much different than I had learned. After helping him for a while, I showed him the method I had learned when I was his age. While the methods were very different, they came to the same answer.
November 8, 2018
By Tim Tedrick
During the Civil War, the Army had all of this in its manual, the same way your financial institution should have its procedures written out. Imagine the calamity that would ensue if one of the steps were taken out of order! Thankfully, if your financial institution does not have procedures documented, it won’t result in loss of limb or life, but it can still be catastrophic in different ways!
November 1, 2018
By Kevin Janke
The value of your bank and holding company change...sometimes slowly, sometimes quite quickly. The amount you pay to buy back stock should as well. We value many banks annually. Let us help you come up with today’s value…not the value from 2007 or 2012.
October 25, 2018
In September, the Federal Reserve Board released its August 2018 Beige Book update, which contains a summary of commentary from Federal Reserve districts. Several Federal Reserve banks in the Midwest expressed concerns about the weakening credit conditions of the agricultural sector.
October 18, 2018
By Teri Downey
My husband and I are classic car enthusiasts and enjoy attending car shows with our 66 Nova, but a few weeks ago we had a horrible experience that could have been avoided if we had just paid better attention to the information we had. It started out to be a great day as we headed out early in the morning, but the first mishap occurred when we got lost on the way to Amboy. We had the GPS on our phones but ignored the directions, thinking we knew a better route than the phone did. So after going several miles and not finding the highway we needed, Siri finally got us back on track, but that made us late to the show, and we wound up getting a horrible spot with no shade on a bright, sunny, 100-degree day.
October 11, 2018
Have you ever noticed how loud a clock can be when you lie awake in bed at night trying to formulate a plan or come up with a solution to a problem? You toss and turn and tell yourself to stop thinking, while the minute hand on the clock slowly moves ahead. Then the unthinkable happens, just when you have fallen asleep (or at least that’s how it feels) the alarm starts buzzing. You wake up with a headache and are no closer to a plan or solution then you were when you went to bed.
October 5, 2018
Fall is a time of transition. Leaves are falling, winter is coming, and we begin to think about our goals for 2019. As we interacted with our clients throughout the year, we were part of a good many conversations around transition. In reflecting on the past year, there are three themes that we want to share with you to help with your transitions: strategic planning, succession planning, and the impact of your organizational culture on both.
September 28, 2018
This summer I have been spending a lot of time in the car with my son teaching him how to drive. We started out in deserted parking lots at 5 mph to 20 mph to practice moving the car, making turns, and parking. We moved on to business districts after 5 p.m. with little traffic and a few roundabouts to attempt. With about 15 hours behind the wheel, we are now driving on back-country roads and getting up to 55 mph on occasion.
September 21, 2018
Baseball is my favorite sport to watch. It is a team sport with lots of strategy and statistics and important contributions by different types of players. It is also a game with very complex rules that have evolved over the years. Every so often, those rules still surprise the announcers, coaches, players and fans. Some of the more confusing rules relate to interference, balks and how many bases to award runners if a fielder’s throw goes out of play.
September 14, 2018
It’s that time of year — back to school! For each of us with school-age children, this marks the beginning of another year of building their pathway to success. Several years ago, when my oldest son was entering high school, I began trying to instill in him the importance of setting goals and plans for achieving them.
September 7, 2018
Wouldn’t it be great if you had an “Alexa” to answer all of your banking questions, whether it were a rather simple question like, “What date do beneficial ownership rules apply when opening a new checking account?” or a more complex question such as, “What do I need to do to prepare for CECL?”
August 31, 2018
This summer, my husband and I decided to add a large backyard patio to our home. We had a fairly “blank slate” and didn’t know where to start. We found a landscape designer who helped get our ideas onto paper and lay the groundwork for an action plan. Then came the biggest decision: Do we act on this plan on our own or hire a landscaper to do all the heavy lifting (literally)?
August 23, 2018
Every day we wake up, we get another day older! So as bank management, directors, shareholders and even customers, we are another day closer to our eventual exit from our banks. Unless we know when that exit is going to happen, planning for this eventual exit needs to happen — well, yesterday!
August 16, 2018
It’s been a whirlwind summer so far. And the quote, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” certainly applied to me. I headed off for a bit of R&R to the island of Guernsey, a British bailiwick, to visit some family through marriage and introduce a group that my husband and I travel with to the wonderful Channel Islands.
August 9, 2018
Have you ever imagined your customers walking into an Apple-store-like bank branch, sipping their favorite cup of joe while performing a significant financial transaction, which they were not able to do on their smartphone for some reason? The future of banking will be all about providing customers with the best experience possible.
July 31, 2018
In the past few years, I have started a love affair with exercise. It started with running, and now my new passion is CrossFit®. For those of you unfamiliar with CrossFit®, it is a strength and conditioning program consisting of a mix of aerobic exercise, calisthenics and Olympic weightlifting. Hour-long classes at local gyms, or “boxes” as we call them, typically include a warm-up, skill development, a high-intensity workout of the day (WOD) and group stretching.
July 24, 2018
The implementation of the final phase of same-day electronic payment processing via Automated Clearing House (ACH) was just completed in March. With same-day processing, ACH entries can now be initiated and settled on the same day. But other, faster payment processing options continue to grow and are in high demand by consumers and businesses.
July 17, 2018
I have a large window in my kitchen that I am pretty sure is older than me. It is one of those single-pane old glass windows that people seem to covet for the historical charm. The window is full of character and was likely built on site by a skilled craftsman with state-of-the-art technology for the 1950s.
July 10, 2018
By Mark Scholl
The culture of an organization is very important. I didn’t realize this until I began working at Wipfli. Our culture is our beliefs and behaviors related to how we treat our employees, business partners and clients. An effective organizational culture is not something you just say you do; the organization must live it. And it should start at the top. The leaders define the culture by the way they conduct themselves. Financial institutions must include cybersecurity in their organizational culture.
July 4, 2018
The last few weeks have been an exciting and highly anticipated transition for the Wipfli office in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. We have finally moved into our new office building. We were beginning to feel the constraints in our old office as our firm grows and we continue to hire new talent for our team. After much thought and deliberation, it was decided we needed more space, so the process of planning and constructing a new office began. A team was formed to manage the construction process for the new space. Part of the team’s responsibility was to evaluate what furniture, fixtures, and equipment could be salvaged from the old location and what should be purchased new.
June 26, 2018
Users of cloud-based services often assume that the provider is responsible for managing the security of their services. While Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Office 365 (O365) and Azure are compliant with security best practices, their compliance only covers the components they are responsible for. Using a shared security model, their customers are still primarily responsible for the security of many other components.
June 19, 2018
Memorial Day weekend for many of us is a time when we attend family gatherings or get together with friends. For me it is a time when my wife and now-adult kids go to the cabin on the Wisconsin-Michigan border. After all, musky season opens. But this year was different. Because of some extended-family needs, we were unable to go to the cabin. Though we were disappointed, it gave us an opportunity to host a get-together. A close friend who works at the Pentagon was moving his son to the Madison area. My daughter brought her boyfriend who is in the Army National Guard. As the conversation between our guests progressed, it dawned on me that I had lost the true meaning of Memorial Day.
June 12, 2018
By Jeff Olejnik
The past few years have seen a marked increase in the frequency of cyber-attacks, data breaches and fraud, with the targeted companies often being household names. It has become clear to boards of directors that cybersecurity is more than an IT issue — it’s a major business risk that needs a proactive action plan.
June 5, 2018
Summer weather has finally arrived. Spring seemed to skip right over us this year, and here in the Midwest we seemed to go directly from massive snowbanks to warm breezes and sunny skies (not that I am complaining). On a warm summery day, what is better than getting out of the office for a round of golf or a few innings at the ballpark? I’ll even settle for lunch out on the patio. Bring along a customer, do some business, and the result can be a wonderfully refreshing and productive day!
May 29, 2018
As my husband and I quickly approach the end of our 40s, we’re giving thought to our retirement and how we’d like to spend our golden years. We’d like to enjoy retirement and not have to work. My parents are both retired, and while my dad still works, it’s more for fun and extra spending money than it is out of necessity. I recently went with them to meet with their financial advisor to discuss their retirement account. Imagine my surprise when I found out they were in a very high-risk account! While I’m not risk averse, I was alarmed because this account holds most of their retirement money. It got me thinking about how life is full of risk and whether my husband and I have considered all risks to be financially prepared for retirement.
May 23, 2018
Now that our annual “busy season” is over, my wife is on my case to get a little exercise and lose some weight. It’s typical during the first few months of the year that there is way too little exercise and probably too much unhealthy food. The long hours and weather during that time of year are simply not conducive to the healthy lifestyle I should be following. In fact, I just got a text from her telling me to “wrap it up” so we can go for our four- or five-mile walk (which we try to do three or four times a week this time of year). I see many of our clients trying to “lose a little weight” as well, but in a different way.
May 16, 2018
I am a leader, and for me leadership means so much. Just as I lead as a partner in a CPA and consulting firm, you lead in the banking industry. And just as I lead people, projects, and hopefully lasting impacts for the legacy of the firm, you do the same every day for your financial institution. I lead the more tenured as they move into retirement and the next generation of leaders, who will not lead the same way the generations before them have led.
May 9, 2018
The reality of most hiring decisions is that both the organization and the candidate are crossing their fingers for the first three to six months, at best. The candidate experience is grueling. You spend hours researching the best jobs, customizing your resume and cover letters, preparing for interview after interview, and then waiting … so much waiting. Then, you get the good news — you got the job! Even with the excitement, there is an overwhelming element of the unknown:
May 3, 2018
Are you or someone you know impatiently awaiting the release of Solo, A Star Wars Story? We’re still a full three weeks away from the May 25 opening. If those three weeks seem like a light-year to you, compare that with how long it takes to fill an open credit analyst or portfolio manager position. More and more, I’m hearing how difficult it is to recruit qualified candidates for these essential roles in the world of commercial lending.
April 24, 2018
By Kevin Janke
In the movie “Fletch,” the main character, Fletch, played by Chevy Chase, responds, “110, 220 … whatever it takes.” While he was talking about electricity and not banking, this sort of response can’t help but make you think of recent price-to-book multiples. In early 2017, we saw multiples similar to what we had seen in the previous couple of years, but by the end of 2017 (and continuing into 2018), multiples had generally increased.
April 17, 2018
Road trips were not something I was acquainted with in my youth. I recall being in grade school and pleading with my father, "Can we take just one trip in the Oldsmobile like other families do?" My wife however, fondly recalls cross-country road trips during her formative years. Now, with children of our own, we have continued my wife's family tradition of piling into the family vehicle and heading to a new place to discover. When laying out this year's road trip, I began to realize how differently the planning portion of trips has become with teenagers versus younger children. The standard protocol previously required infant seats, special food, and other necessary supplies—oh, and don't forget the toys! Today, the default checklist looks very different. It appears to center around data connectivity and the ability to stream music from a cloud. Sure, food and drink are still included on the planning checklist, but the specificities are much less rigid. I guess you could say, what we accept as our baseline standards for family travel have shifted to align with the current needs of a family with two teenagers.
April 10, 2018
By Tim Tedrick
January 15, 1973, was my first day working in a bank. We didn’t have a proof machine, we didn’t have separate teller cash, and RESPA didn’t exist yet. The regulations were still in the single letters. There was no CRA. It was still legal to run “help wanted men” and “help wanted women” ads in the newspaper. I got married, our son and daughter were born, and after 11 years of very broad training in banking, including teller duties, lending, security, compliance, computer operations, and shoveling snow, I was hired as an external-internal auditor at Lindgren, Callihan, Van Osdol and Co. Ltd. (LCV). You see, long before the term “outsourced” was coined, LCV had identified a community bank need for independent internal auditors who did not work full-time at the bank. I helped develop our first internal audit program, and the firm’s entire banking practice was fewer than 20 banks. We subsequently added “EDP audits,” loan review, ACH audits, and BSA consultations on top of the directors’ exams and financial statement audits. The practice grew to over 100 banks. The number of regulations increased dramatically, and the number of people on the team hovered around five.
April 3, 2018
By Teri Downey
Last week after all the snow came, followed by all the salt on the roads, I badly needed a car wash. All the car washes I passed on my drive home had at least four cars waiting in line. I started doing the math, and with an average of eight minutes per car (praying that no one would buy the super extreme wash), it would be at least 48 minutes before I would be exiting with a clean car. The question became, could I spare 48 minutes just for a car wash?
March 27, 2018
As spring approaches, I have started planning my home remodeling projects. First, I made a list of the improvements I wanted made, including a general timeline and budget for each project. Next, through discussions with friends and family as well as online searches, I compiled a list of potential contractors. The list included general contractors (one-man shops that do it all); experts that specialize in specific areas such as windows, flooring, or gutters; and companies that do it all but are not a one-man shop because they have specialists in each area.
March 20, 2018
One of the things you (hopefully) don’t have to go through very often is selling your house. I am the type of person who needs to ensure that all the logistics involved in getting a house ready to put on the market are in place. And since I don’t do this often, I was not consciously aware of the changes that have happened in the technology that goes into selling a house. Recently I have had to jump into this area and was surprised by the differences in technology that exist since the last time I went through this process. I must say that it is nice to be able to see when someone accesses the property and when they leave, all driven by an app on a smartphone. Also, there are apps that allow the realtor to access the key for the front door through an app. This got me thinking about what factors go into verifying that the right person is requesting this access.
March 13, 2018
I think we can all agree that technology in general is a great thing. I have witnessed firsthand how many processes in financial institutions have evolved and become more efficient since I started working in the industry 20+ years ago. When I was first taught how to “spread” or summarize financial statements for commercial loan customers, I used a very simplistic spreadsheet. I had to make my own determination of how to input various balance sheet and income statement items, how they should flow to the cash flows statement, and which ones were important for my cash flow analysis.
March 6, 2018
Just as we cannot predict the weather, we can’t predict the next credit crisis, the next regulation that will overtax our resources, or that one event that will put our institution at risk.
February 28, 2018
I am “mom” to four rescue pups who always keep me on my toes. I get a chuckle from their Pavlovian response when they come in from outside and eagerly sit in front of the treat closet (that’s right, closet) and await their treat for being the adorable creatures they are. As a reward for their recent good behavior and terminal cuteness, they were lavished with super healthy soy‑, corn-, and grain-free, non-GMO doggy treats and hearty belly rubs. I perused their treat and meal offerings, and it struck me that my dogs were living the life I strive for. They eat the healthiest, most nutritious food available and get plenty of exercise and lots of love and attention.
February 20, 2018
Change is always happening all around us, but lately I feel like it is everywhere. As we started 2018, there were significant changes to tax laws that have not seen an overhaul since 1986, which was 32 years ago! A few things have changed since 1986, with one exception—the New England Patriots played in the Super Bowl that year too (they lost to the Chicago Bears), so I guess not everything has changed.
February 13, 2018
I got my driver’s license on the day of my 16th birthday. Only 43 days later, I caused a fender bender at an intersection. Naturally, my parents questioned my underdeveloped skills and ability to focus but thankfully footed the bill to fix my car. Twenty days after I got my motorcycle license, I took a curve too fast and crashed my Harley in a ditch. I questioned my own skills and ability, but this time I had to foot the bill to fix the bike. It was an expensive mistake!
February 6, 2018
By Jeff Olejnik
Last summer my daughter came home for a week, and I asked her what she wanted to do while she was home. She said she wanted to go walleye fishing for a couple days. Because of her short stay and my busy schedule, I wanted to make sure that whatever we did was low maintenance and, most importantly, that we would catch fish!
January 31, 2018
One of the vaguest buzz phrases in business is “change management.” We all know it helps get organizations “rowing the same direction,” but what does it mean to business leaders to manage change when we’re constantly evolving, improving, and growing our businesses?
January 24, 2018
Everyone always wants to start the New Year with new resolutions! For most of us, these resolutions probably include something related to weight loss, eating healthier, exercising more, etc. This year, I want us to not lose sight of those things because they are important to being successful in all aspects of our life. But I want to advocate setting resolutions of a different nature this year!
January 18, 2018
If you were to ask me what my elevator speech would be as an auditor/consultant, I would say, “We sell time.” We offer the opportunity for you to delegate and collaborate, creating the potential to unlock valuable time.
January 11, 2018
The end of the year is a time when many of us reflect on what happened throughout the year, what we accomplished or did not accomplish. It is also time for social activities that include overeating, eating unhealthy foods, staying out late, etc. So why would I schedule my physical at the end of the year? Mostly it is because one year I put it off until December, and I got into the habit of having my physical in December.
January 3, 2018
I was talking with a friend who knows that I work in banking. My friend said to me, “I think my bank is going to close.” I asked him why, and he said, “Because there are never any cars in the parking lot.” I responded that many financial institutions are experiencing reduced foot traffic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the institution is going to close. In fact, it could be the opposite.
December 27, 2017
When I left my house before 5:00 this morning to catch an early flight, I noticed that none of the roads in my neighborhood, or even the town, had been plowed from the overnight storm that brought almost six inches of snow. I live in a relatively small town of around 40,000 people, and even though it is Montana, these storms always seem to catch us off guard, and we end up having to dig ourselves out. Luckily, I have a four-wheel-drive vehicle and made it to the airport in plenty of time.
December 19, 2017
It is deer hunting season! Each season follows a very similar routine… planting food plots, scouting the woods, cutting trails, building hunting stands, sighting rifles, and so forth. We do all of this with the goal of tagging a deer—and not just any deer, but the deer of a lifetime! But what exactly does the deer of a lifetime look like?
December 13, 2017
I spent a week hiking in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park with my sister in September. If you have never done this it is a great way to enjoy the beautiful country we are so fortunate to live in. I will warn you, make sure you wear comfortable hiking boots that have already been broken in, carry bear spray (we didn’t need it this time, though), and pack for all types of weather. When I arrived, it was almost 80 degrees, and three days later we were hiking in snow! But it was so worth it, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
December 6, 2017
Well, it’s that time between Thanksgiving and Christmas—SOOOOO exciting if you’re like me and love the craziness (and specialness) of the holidays. Not so much if you are more on the Scrooge-y side.
November 29, 2017
Preschoolers can be challenging. They consistently test the limits of what they can do independently but in an instant can also revert to wanting things done for them. They require teachers’ and parents’ consistent oversight of activities and behaviors to ensure they are on the right path. On the other hand, my son’s grandparents live out of town and see him only occasionally. When they see him, they don’t get stuck in the day-to-day struggles/rewards of parenting but instead can more easily see the bigger picture of how much he has grown and the things he is doing differently from when they last saw him. It really does take a village to raise a child.
November 20, 2017
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.” All too often I find that my philosophy on life is more along the lines of, “Why do today that which can wait for tomorrow?”
November 14, 2017
In my last blog, I mentioned that I had a wonderful trip to Bozeman, MT to work on a client engagement. During that engagement I was “wowed” with the changes that had occurred in the community and the Bank from the last trip I had there. As I thought about that trip, there were other things that impressed me as well.
November 8, 2017
The past week, I have had the pleasure of working with a bank that was out of my region. In fact, I traveled several miles (1,368 to be exact) to Bozeman, Montana, to help on an internal control project. However, what I didn’t expect was what a wonderful little city Bozeman was. Of course, it is fall, so the contrast of the dark green mountain fir trees and golden-leaf poplar trees, offset by the white of snow-capped mountaintops is a remarkable sight. And the shops! It was hard not to spend my lunch hour in many of the amazing art galleries, jewelry shops, gift shops, cowboy boot stores, and baby clothing stores. (Did I tell you I am expecting my first grandchild any day?!) Fortunately for my bank account, I have to fly home, and I do not want to pay for extra baggage! And while I haven’t checked the facts, just walking and driving down Main Street seems to indicate that there are more coffee and tea shops per capita in Bozeman than most places in the world.
October 31, 2017
In the 1930s and 40s, Abbott and Costello, a comedian duo, entertained audiences with their famous sketch “Who’s on First?” The sketch used plays on words and names. The first base player was named “Who,” the second base player was “What,” and third base was “I Don’t know.” Costello was trying to learn the names of the team members, and as Abbott tried to provide them, Costello became confused and annoyed resulting from the miscommunication of the meaning of the words.
October 25, 2017
Recently I was talking with a Wipfli colleague about helping people through change and the challenges of getting folks to accept an adjustment to how they’ve always done things. We exchanged thoughts on what it means to bring two different teams—each with their own traditions (Hawaiian shirts on Friday!), ways of doing things, and communication styles—together. Some combinations are temporary, like a team assembled for a specific project. Others are more permanent, such as combining offices. Different groups have different cultures, and they may not always come together smoothly.
October 16, 2017
As a child I had the good fortune to be raised on an apple orchard. To this day my parents still own and operate a 6,000+-tree orchard in central Minnesota. As a result, fall is always a special time of year for my family. It’s finally harvest time. All the hard work put in from the first day the tree blooms to the day the apple is picked is worth it for the moment when you bite into that crisp, sweet, juicy Honeycrisp or SweeTango apple (both of which were developed at the University of Minnesota).
October 11, 2017
The calendar has officially changed from summer to autumn. The temperature here in Wisconsin this last week would not make you believe that, but the kids are back in school and the pumpkins are ready for picking. This is my favorite time of year because I want to cherish every great weather day, knowing it will not be long before the snow starts to fall and I will need to put my motorcycle away for the winter. It is a sad day when the cycles are pushed to the back of the garage and covered up.
October 4, 2017
I took up running several years ago as a way to improve my health, both physical and mental. I figure once you enter your 40s, you can either wallow in the fact you are getting older or do something to prolong this great journey. I chose the latter. Never one to take the easy route, I signed up for a half marathon for my first race, 13.1 miles. I did a 10-week running clinic the prior summer so I thought I knew everything I needed to know. And what they didn’t teach me, I could just Google (mistake #1).
September 26, 2017
By Mark Scholl
Hot dogs. I don't eat them often, but when watching the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field or attending an occasional minor league game, it's what I look forward to. It completes the baseball experience. It's American.
September 19, 2017
For my past blogs, I’ve tried to keep the tone light. However, as I write this blog, hurricanes have devastated and continue to devastate the U.S. and nearby islands. Some early damage estimates for just Harvey are exceeding $100 billion.
September 13, 2017
By Tim Tedrick
While traveling away from home, I like to seek out books by local authors or nonfiction books about the area I am visiting. Because I have done this for years, my kids often bring back a souvenir book for me from their travels. My daughter and son-in-law recently returned from a trip to Arizona and brought me the book, The Blue Tattoo, The Life of Olive Oatman, by Margot Mifflin.
September 5, 2017
As we get into fall and the school year begins, I am reminded of high school sports, the level of excitement, and the amount of school camaraderie. As a former high school athlete, I remember how a collection of individuals would come together to achieve a goal. Today as I sit here writing this blog, the past couple of weeks have really driven home to me the value of teamwork and ensuring you have the right team in place.
August 29, 2017
Summer is coming to an end, and my high school freshman has spent much of his summer on his iPad. How things have changed. I remember spending my summers taking long bike rides, swimming in the lake, and playing badminton over the fence in my parent’s backyard. As a parent, I worry about the time spent on the iPad and the dangers the Internet brings. The auditor in me wants to dig into the activity history on the iPad to see what he is viewing and the messages he is sending so I can keep him safe. But are we invading our children’s privacy?
August 23, 2017
I recently came across a mobile app, “Sweatcoin,” which gives you digital money for the steps you walk or run. You can use the digital money, Sweatcoin, to shop for things online using the same app! Lovely, I thought—earn money for sweating it out while walking or running!
August 15, 2017
From bombs involving public transportation to tsunamis, it seems we hear about horrific events with increasing frequency. During the last couple of decades, businesses of all sizes and in all sectors have sadly grown to realize that a disaster recovery and business continuity plan is necessary.
August 8, 2017
We have come to the end of the dog days, that period of time often associated with the hot, sultry, and lazy days of summer. Cue the desert scenes, the sun umbrellas, and the lemonade stands. Do the dog days really have anything to do with dogs? Maybe the dog days are related to hot dogs?
August 1, 2017
The lead-off speaker at Wipfli’s leadership meeting last month was John O’Leary. (If you get the opportunity to hear him speak, it is worth it!) His story has been on ESPN because of its ties to Jack Buck, the St. Louis Cardinals radio announcer.
July 25, 2017
Recently I returned from a vacation in Ireland with my family. Ireland has been on my bucket list. (My grandparents on my mother’s side came from Ireland and Scotland.) We saw lots of things, learned a lot, and obviously created some memories, and I even had a few pints of Guinness. I would also be remiss if I didn’t say I heard a few “stories.”
July 19, 2017
The annual Harris Corporation Reputation Poll recently named Amazon as the number one company for the second year in a row. This online poll analyzes social responsibility, vision and leadership, financial performance, products and services, workplace environment, and emotional appeal. While some may argue the poll is biased, it would be tough to deny that Amazon is doing a lot of things well.
July 11, 2017
I started in banking 42 years ago at my hometown, locally owned, bank working part-time as a teller and going to school at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Seems like a long time ago. I met my wife there and still stay in touch with many of the people I worked with. In my years involved with banking, I have seen significant changes in the way community banks operate.
July 5, 2017
During 4th of July celebrations we see the American Flag at parades, sporting events, in front of homes and businesses, and embroidered on shirts and hats. We refer to our flag by many different names: Old Glory; the Stars and Stripes; the Red, White, and Blue; the Star-Spangled Banner. No matter what term we use, the flag is a symbol for our country, which is made up of individuals who are proud to live, work, and raise their families on its shores.
June 27, 2017
Unless you’ve been in solitary confinement or otherwise “off the grid” in the world of wealth management and retirement accounts, you have probably heard of the Department of Labor’s Conflict of Interest Rule, more commonly known as “the Fiduciary Rule.” The Fiduciary Rule was published in the Federal Register on April 8, 2016, became effective on June 7, 2016, and had an original applicability date of April 10, 2017, with a phased implementation period ending on January 1, 2018. Original time frames were established under President Obama’s administration, but after President Trump took office in January, things began to get “interesting” – for lack of a better term.
June 21, 2017
Our oldest child recently turned 16 and got his driver’s license this past spring. What amazed me was how quickly after this we had to figure out how the three drivers in our family were going to get to three different places with two vehicles! With some careful planning, we were able to get everyone where they needed to go, but it quickly became evident the third car we were planning to buy this fall would come in handy sooner rather than later.
June 14, 2017
By Tim Tedrick
The CEO complained, “What kind of regulatory moron doesn’t understand that when two people sign an application, they intend to borrow jointly?” The meaning of a word in general conversation is sometimes different from the meaning of a word in a specialized context.
June 6, 2017
Recently, I helped my daughter move out of her college dormitory. Once I got over the fact that my firstborn child had just completed her first year of college and that I must be getting old, I reflected on how much the “college move out” process had changed since when I was a freshman. While there were a lot of typical activities like the moving of boxes, disassembling of bunk beds, and fighting for elevator time, there were many changes that I noticed. At the heart of these changes was technology.
May 31, 2017
I’m amazed by leaders who are able to take a mediocre team and make them great. Unfortunately, I’m also saddened to see so many leaders consent to mediocrity as an acceptable standard.
May 23, 2017
I’ve worked at Wipfli for a long time—20 years to be specific. In that time I have seen many people come and go. I have seen younger coworkers grow and develop into great leaders. I have seen leaders before me retire and move into their next phase of life. And of course I have seen individuals with great talent and potential pursue opportunities outside Wipfli. These things happen at all organizations, but when you stay at one company for a long time you gain this sense of historical knowledge and understanding of how talent affects the trajectory of an organization’s success (or failure). When I look back over the last 20 years I’m amazed at the success and growth great talent has provided to build upon the services we offer and markets we serve.
May 15, 2017
I had the pleasure of joining my daughter’s 7th and 8th grade classes on a dual bus trip to Washington, DC, this April. Although I had been to DC many times for the AICPA’s annual National Conference on Banks and Savings Institutions, I had never visited any of the historical attractions. When my wife originally asked me if I wanted to go on this trip, I thought only about finally having the wonderful opportunity to explore our country’s history. I definitely didn’t consider the 14-hour bus trip full of 7th graders and moms. You’d be amazed by the amount of snacks they brought!
May 8, 2017
Decisions, decisions. We all have to make them. Some are easy and don’t require much thought, while others are much more difficult. Several weeks ago I was given an opportunity I had never thought I would pass up. Tickets were available to attend a dinner for a community event where Donald Driver was the speaker. My friends and family know that this opportunity was something I have dreamed about and that I have waited years hoping for the chance to see this particular pro football player. I was a very happy person for about five minutes…until I realized my husband and I would be on vacation at a Cher concert the same day as the dinner. I had to make a decision about which dream to make a reality.
May 3, 2017
As a mother with my first school-aged child, I have realized no one warned me about the amount of patience I was going to need once my child brought home homework, especially since my five-year-old already “knows it all”—just ask him! He completed a nightly assignment and was proud to show me. As I reviewed it, I pointed out to him that cucumbers is not spelled Qcumbrs, there should not be a capital “T” in with, and his period should not be the same size as his lowercase “a.” His response was, “I know.” While it is good to have confidence that something is done right, it is even better to have validation!
April 25, 2017
By Kevin Janke
What do current hot topics such as Trump Bump, tax reform, change in the regulatory tone, and improvement in net interest margin mean for M&A? As many of you know, publicly traded bank stocks have enjoyed a robust run-up in pricing post-election.
April 19, 2017
If you are anything like me, you get so excited and can’t believe your eyes when you get a 50% off, 75% off, or even better, $50 off coupon in the mail or through a text. Normally, at the same time I receive one of these “fantastic” coupons, the store it is from is also having an unbelievable sale, which makes me think that if I do not go shopping immediately I will be losing money. After my initial excitement, reality sets in. I start to think it is too good to be true, and I begin to read all of the fine print on the coupon. I end up taking the five minutes required to read and understand the exclusions of items that are not eligible for the coupon as listed in the fine print; and after I think I understand it, I head out to shop.
April 11, 2017
Compliance professionals can be a really fun group, right? We have a reputation of picking apart ideas or products and are often viewed as the “anti-sales” department. To all of the compliance professionals out there, I am going to offer a challenge to you: Be the “can do” department, not the “can’t do” department.
April 5, 2017
In the fall of 2013, a manager at a company that operates heating and cooling systems received an email from his IT department asking him to verify his Windows ID and password. Without thinking about it, he provided the information and went on with his day. What he did not know was that the email he answered was not from his IT department, but rather from hackers. Weeks later, by exploiting other vulnerabilities, those hackers had compromised one of that company’s clients and gained access to millions of credit card records. You know this as the “Target breach.”
March 31, 2017
The year 2016 was the year of blockchain prototypes, or proofs of concept. From innovation labs to big banks to consortiums, we witnessed a number of research efforts in understanding blockchain. According to CoinDesk, one of the earliest online blogs to track the development of blockchain, investments in blockchain technology in 2015 totaled $600 million, and they rose more than 50% to over $1 billion in 2016.
March 24, 2017
Because my mother’s family has researched our family tree and traced our lineage back to Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day has always held special meaning to me. This year it was even more meaningful for my family. My husband recently took a DNA test to find out more about his ancestry and lineage, and the results of the test indicated that his heritage is mainly Irish as well. Growing up he had always been led to believe that he was of Scandinavian decent. I realize that I sound like a popular commercial when I say this, but knowing more about his heritage has changed my husband’s outlook on the present and the future.
March 17, 2017
By Tim Tedrick
In 1973 Knox College’s newly hired math professor Dr. Dennis Schneider taught, among other classes, a first-year calculus class. Dr. Schneider stood at the front of the room, a piece of chalk in one hand to write on the blackboard and a filter-less Pall Mall cigarette in the other. I was always surprised that he never confused those two white tubular shapes and never put the chalk in his mouth. As he taught, when he wanted students to provide answers to solve the problem on the board, he would call out, “vite, vite.” I eventually learned that vite was French for “rapid” or “fast,” meaning he wanted the answer quickly. After a student solved a particularly important or challenging problem, Dr. Schneider would jubilantly declaim that everything was “sunshine and bunny rabbits.” In other words, life was good; the theorem was proved, or the problem was solved.
March 10, 2017
Have you ever gotten the feeling you forgot something? Well, I have had that feeling for a few weeks now, and it finally hit me…I never scheduled my son’s annual checkup. I know the importance of my son’s annual checkup and the value it brings to his health now and in the future, not to mention the role annual checkups play in early detection of any health problems. But it is still hard to fit this important task into our hectic schedule.
March 1, 2017
Was it really only two short months ago that the ball dropped at Times Square as we rang in the New Year? As we moved from the holiday season into January, many people went through that annual exercise of making New Year’s resolutions. Whether dealing with weight management and fitness or living a more balanced lifestyle, the common theme here is striving to be as good as we can be.
February 21, 2017
When we were kids in Ipswich, England, my brother and I looked forward to the decadent Cadbury chocolates we enjoyed in the days leading up to Easter. We had Mum and Dad to thank for this, since the Easter Bunny is less commercialized in Britain than in the United States. Although not considered gourmet by any means, those Cadbury eggs and bunnies have always been special to me, perhaps a comforting reminder of home.
February 15, 2017
I recently went to lunch with a coworker, and she paid for her meal using her debit card. When we sat down at our table, she pulled out her cell phone, and when I asked what she was doing, she explained she was recording the purchase using an app on her cell phone. Hmmm…I am still using a checkbook register to record my debit card purchases. I’m the one who tells our clients how much the phrase, “I’ve always done it that way,” bothers me. And here I am still recording my checks and deposits and reconciling my monthly statements to my checkbook register because I’ve always done it that way!
February 8, 2017
Last week I had a small reunion with two former coworkers from my very first banking job after graduating from college. It was great to catch up after 30 years! It was easy to laugh as we looked back at ourselves and how much we all had to learn. While the bank we all worked for had been acquired in the 1990s, one of my former colleagues is once again working in our original building, for a different institution, of course. What a wonderful coincidence! But of the original eight of us who started together in the formal credit training program, he was the only one who remained in commercial lending.
February 2, 2017
Recently after one of our Minnesota winter snowstorms, we built a snow slide in our backyard for our grandchildren to go sledding on. It took some effort to smooth out the slide and create an unobstructed path that avoided potential collisions with poles for our bird feeders. However, after a few trial runs and corrections to the banked sides, the ride from top to bottom became smooth sledding!
February 2, 2017
The New Year for 2016 has come and gone. We’re far enough into January that those well-intended resolutions about getting more exercise and avoiding junk food might have been pushed to the back burner. We all want to do things right, but given our schedules and juggling of multiple priorities it’s easier said than done. Plus, for many who consider the treadmill as their go-to equipment for working out, let’s face it: A basic treadmill workout might be downright boring.
February 1, 2017
In addition to flying frequently as part of our extended Wipfli consulting footprint, my husband and I do as much traveling as we can, while we can. As frequent fliers on a major airline with a Minneapolis hub, the benefits we receive as a “preferred customer” with this airline have created loyalty on our behalf that would make it challenging for us to book with any other airline. I am sure the day will come when our travel is more limited and that status is diminished, but for now, the relationship is secure.
January 24, 2017
I am sitting here this wintry evening as I write this blog, debating whether I should go home or stay at work for a while. You see, there is a storm coming, with snow or freezing rain forecasted. Would it be better if I stayed here until the salt trucks come out or try my luck now?
January 17, 2017
I generally fall into the “nonpolitical” category of people. I care about our state’s/country’s leadership, and I pay enough attention to vote, but I don’t want to discuss it—even with my husband! Given that, it is amazing to me how many Trump-related conversations I have had over the last month, both at work and at family holiday gatherings.
January 11, 2017
About a year ago, my husband and I decided to plan a trip to Disney World in Orlando, taking our four-year-old daughter. If you have ever been to a Disney Theme Park, you know that the cast, crew, and Imagineers offer wonderful opportunities for families to create lifetime memories. We don’t travel a lot, but we knew that to make the most of the Disney Experience, planning would involve much more than simply going online to make flight and hotel reservations.
January 4, 2017
Because I am a financial statement auditor, my blogs tend to be accounting related, but for this blog, I have decided to step out of my comfort zone to talk about how people relate to each other.
December 27, 2016
When it comes to hosting applications and sensitive customer data on public clouds, a highly regulated industry such as financial services has every reason to think before it blinks. Data security is predictably the main reason financial services organizations seek to understand more.
December 21, 2016
One of the fondest memories I have of my father around the holidays is of him sitting in his favorite chair near the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. My father was a special person who saw joy in the simplest things. One of those simple pleasures was watching his six kids frantically opening presents. While we did not have much some years, many of the presents were lovingly handmade, which made each one a treasure to cherish.
December 14, 2016
My wife has a comfortable routine for balancing her checkbook that involves a cozy chair, a cup of coffee, and checking her ledger against the information provided by her bank’s telephone banking system. Despite the advantages of technology, I realize that some prefer a printed book to digital or the morning paper in their hands instead of on a tablet, so far be it from me to disrupt that.
December 6, 2016
Time is a funny thing. It often feels like you have a lot of time to prepare for the holidays, a vacation, or another special event, and then suddenly it’s here. That’s how I feel right now with less than 30 days to go before Christmas. I have managed to procrastinate the last 11 months and have yet to think of a single gift I’m going to buy.
December 1, 2016
There’s an old saying that “defense wins championships.” As I reflect on some of the demographical changes within the banking industry, however, it occurs to me that reactive, slow, or defensive strategies will likely lead to the demise of many financial institutions. The business environment and customer expectations are changing at a pace never seen before. In fact, I believe that tomorrow’s winners in the financial services industry will excel at playing offense.
November 21, 2016
People are often classified as either an optimist or pessimist. I have found that when it comes to Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-13, Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, better known as CECL (the Current Expected Credit Loss model), management of community institutions often falls into these two categories. The optimists believe there will be a carve-out of some sort that will exempt small institutions and allow them to use the “old model.” The pessimists believe their reserves will double and that an additional software package must be purchased just to comply with the standard. However, there is a third option: somewhere in the middle. At this point, all institutions will be required to comply with CECL, but implementation is scalable. Implementation is set for 2020 for SEC institutions and 2021 for non-SEC institutions. So the big question is, “What, if anything, should I be doing now?”
November 15, 2016
During the World Series my husband and I stayed up late watching the games. Several things about the World Series made me feel old. First, it is oh-so-true that I am unable to stay up late and then get up six hours later. Next, almost all the players on the Cubs are younger than me, and the few over 35 are “close to retirement.” When did most professional athletes being younger than me happen?
November 9, 2016
What an honor to be posting a blog on Veterans Day. Thank you to the men and women who serve and who have served in our military. Without your commitment and sacrifice, our freedom and our way of life in the United States wouldn’t be possible.
November 2, 2016
I believe some of the greatest successes in life are achieved through passion, perseverance, and teamwork. Passion and perseverance are attributed to individualized characteristics that contribute to success, and the good ‘ole saying that became a common phrase in English, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” is what creates synergy through the power of teamwork.
October 26, 2016
A recent visit brought two-year-old Nola and her parents for the weekend. Our single-family home is somewhat larger than the condominium she is used to, and we don’t have any noise restrictions. That means freedom to a toddler. Nola quickly discovered that a favorite activity was to convince any willing family member to hide and then to pop out and yell “BOO!” when she approached. Every startling encounter produced squeals and laughter, and she simply couldn’t get enough of this game. If only all surprises were this delightful.
October 20, 2016
By Jeff Olejnik
Last year, the Packers started out with a 1-2 record after beginning the season as the odds-on favorite to win the NFC North. Panic spread throughout Packer Nation, with some suggesting that a call be made to Sumrall, Mississippi, to coax #4 out of retirement to once again lead the team.
October 12, 2016
If you are anything like me, getting mail is a little like receiving a wrapped present: “What is it? What’s new today?!” As you flip through the stack of envelopes, you see one that looks official, and it’s from the IRS or a state taxing authority. Your initial excitement goes from anticipation to anxiousness. You open the envelope, and there it is . . . a dreaded tax notice. What are you going to do now?
October 4, 2016
By Tim Tedrick
In 1670 when approximately 120 English settlers arrived at Charles Towne landing and established what would become the Carolina colony, the first order of business was to build a palisade to defend the settlers from possible hostility from Spanish forces or Native Americans in the region. This was before any crops were planted; this was before any housing was built. After the palisade was completed, the next step was experimentation to determine which crops would actually grow in the environment. And these were meant to be cash crops, crops that could be shipped back to England and sold for a profit. Rice was ultimately the choice.
September 28, 2016
Recently I was visiting an amusement park with my kids. The newest roller coaster had a line that was nearly two hours long. We were each given a numbered ticket upon entering the line. The amusement park had implemented a control to ensure there were no line jumpers. I loved it—even an amusement park was using internal controls!
September 21, 2016
Whether literal or metaphorical, we all wear many hats. During the fall, these may include baseball or golf caps, gardening/yard work hats, and bike or football helmets. In our financial institutions, we wear many hats as well. Sometimes the hats change by the week, the day, or the situation in which we find ourselves at any given moment.
September 14, 2016
I recently experienced the loss of my father, a loss many of you have felt, so you know the hollowness it leaves in your stomach. He was a great dad, grandfather, and mentor—and a pretty darn good Irishman to boot! As much as that was a tremendous loss to all of us, it was a great day for him because he was truly just a semblance of his former self, a man who had been emaciated from illness. Within a very short time, however, I learned that one of my children and his wife would usher yet another grandchild into our lives, and the feeling of loss was almost immediately overwhelmed by joy. I knew my father would be smiling from his resting place, albeit with a bit of a smirk knowing that we would soon have 10 little ones running around and bringing us madness and joy at the same time.
September 8, 2016
We have all heard the timeless phrase, “You can’t teach an old dog a new trick!” Popular wisdom has it that the older we get, the harder it is for us to change our habits or acquire new skills. A lot of us are probably guilty of being hesitant or even somewhat resistant toward changing how we do things in our daily work and personal lives, especially when we have been doing it the same way for a long time.
August 31, 2016
Movie goers have been entertained this summer with the next chapter in the saga of Jason Bourne. This popular spy thriller takes us to exotic places around the world, keeping us enthralled as good guys and villains alike scale walls and dodge traffic in their relentless pursuits. Escapades, illusions, and deceptions are not the exception, but the norm.
August 25, 2016
If you have ever taken a course in public speaking, you likely heard the instructor emphasize tailoring your speech to the audience you are addressing. This guidance is also fundamental in our day-to-day communications with one another. Let me share my story as an example.
August 16, 2016
If you have ever taken a course in public speaking, you likely heard the instructor emphasize tailoring your speech to the audience you are addressing. This guidance is also fundamental in our day-to-day communications with one another. Let me share my story as an example.
August 10, 2016
I grew up in a large family in a small town in Iowa. With eight kids coming from the same gene pool and the same parenting, it really is amazing how different we all turned out in many ways—career choices, educational achievements, political views, and family dynamics, to name a few. To say we turned out to be a diverse group would be an understatement!
August 3, 2016
If you are like most Americans, I am sure you and your family have some traditions that have stood the test of time, doing the same thing year after year, with little change. Holiday meals, family vacations at the same resort, Mother’s Day brunch, Father’s Day golf, or watching the Fourth of July fireworks from the same location are examples. Traditions are easy, comfortable.
July 27, 2016
As a kid at heart, I enjoy trying new experiences, often pushing my comfort zone. Whether zip lining in the trees, jumping a snowmobile over frozen snowdrifts, or exploring on ATVs through mountains, I believed there was minimal risk, except perhaps a minor cut or bruise to me and a ding or two to the equipment. And yes, I’ve survived these events with no injuries or damage. I felt in control of my risks, but in retrospect, this was pure luck, since I didn’t truly even understand all my risks.
July 20, 2016
About a month ago we experienced a tragedy at Wipfli. One of our associates saw two girls who were struggling in the waters of Lake Superior and jumped in to save them. Luckily, one of the girls survived, but our associate and the other girl did not. This not only impacted many people here at Wipfli, but had a very personal impact on me, as well, because Justin (our associate) was engaged to my niece Suzy. To make the story sadder, he was at the lake taking a break from finalizing wedding plans with Suzy.
July 13, 2016
We all dream of winning the lottery. My hopes of winning “big” are often crushed by a friend or family member screeching in delight as they realize they have a winning ticket. A friend recently introduced me to a free website that she claimed can produce the emotional exhilaration of winning the jackpot. This website turned out to be a free search for unclaimed property. It works by combining the databases of many states so people can search for unclaimed property from those states.
July 6, 2016
I’m privileged to work with a number of financial institutions that are regularly voted as top places to work. Usually, these institutions have developed a culture in which employees aren’t simply trying to be friendly with one another, but are actually taking the time to understand their coworkers and their objectives. Not surprisingly, these institutions often are the most efficient, because the entire team is mindful of how their actions impact the jobs of those they work with.
June 29, 2016
I am from a very small town in North Dakota, and it is still my favorite place to be on the 4th of July. The population triples, and there is more going on during that week than during the rest of the year altogether. There are street dances, a demolition derby, and school/family reunions. Everyone walks to the main street to watch the parade that morning, and then they drive 10 miles to watch the exact same parade again in our neighboring town. Family barbeques are an expectation, and no one misses the fireworks in the park that night.
June 22, 2016
Like many people today, I wear a Fitbit to remind me to keep moving. As Fitbit technology has advanced, not only does it suggest that you take 10,000 steps in one day, it now suggests that 250 steps per hour should be taken between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. At 10 minutes before the hour, my Fitbit will vibrate and remind me if I have not yet reached 250 steps for the hour. This periodic reminder will often cause me to stand up and take a stroll. But the concept is still the same, right? You can’t remain idle.
June 15, 2016
Are there things you do naturally, simply because you have done them so many times before? I am an avid outdoorsman, and for the past 25 years, with friends and family in tow, I have taken a June fishing trip to Lake of the Woods. Since our group has taken this trip so many times, we know exactly how to prepare to ensure our adventure is successful, fun-filled, and most important, without incident. The trip and planning are now second nature to us. When things aren’t second nature, though, the end result can be drastically different!
June 8, 2016
I do (or try to do) a lot of bow hunting for deer. As many of you know, most bow hunters hunt from a tree stand. Over the course of the 40 years or so I have been hunting, I have been fortunate in that I have not had a fall out of the tree. I read a statistic somewhere recently that about 40% of hunters who hunt from tree stands will have a fall at some time, with some of these resulting in serious injury or even death!
June 1, 2016
It is graduation season and time for commencement speeches. If you’re like me, you smile at the choices of celebrities various institutions invite to share advice and wisdom with new graduates. Having three children and many nieces and nephews, I’ve listened to my share of speeches. I’ll also admit that I’ve watched a few on YouTube. Graduates of recent years represent the new generation of workers entering the workforce looking to make their mark in the world and start new careers.
May 25, 2016
I enjoy spending quiet time with my granddaughter, who is three and very energetic. Since she does not take naps, she has an hour of quiet time after lunch, which is spent on activities such as reading, coloring, or playing learning games on her iPad. Recently, we read some books that are helping her learn her ABCs.
Learning the ABCs of banking regulations is also a process, not only for those who are new to the industry, but also for those of us who have been in this business for a long time.
May 18, 2016
Now that tax season is done, I have more time to watch TV, but there seems to be nothing I want to watch. I’m pretty sure I have watched all the “Law & Order” episodes and classy reality shows. With access to over 200 channels, you would think there would be something new I would want to watch. Nope!
May 11, 2016
I am a lifelong, loyal fan of the Chicago Cubs. This is said with all due respect to Chicago’s South Siders and other baseball fans from coast to coast who support many great teams. For most Cubs fans, hearing about the curse of the goat and “wait ‘til next year” are so normal, it’s easy to just shrug off such banter. Discussions about rebuilding have been taking place for years, but we still haven’t made it to the World Series. Completely Useless By September (CUBS). Yeah, we know. And so it goes.
May 4, 2016
My six-year-old grandson loves to tell us jokes when we Skype with him. A recent question was, “Why do chickens sit on their eggs?” I’ll let you ponder that for a moment, but this type of question from him reminds me that we can easily overlook the most basic questions because they become so routine that we never stop to really think about them.
April 27, 2016
April 15 (or this year, April 18) is a big day for many people, including a number of public accountants. It seems, though, that some people believe we don’t have much to do for the rest of the year, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, we put in a lot of time and effort to get all of the tax returns filed, but some of our best and most exciting work comes after Tax Day is over.
April 20, 2016
The financial services industry requires that we rely on many different people, businesses, agencies, and other various entities. Think of the trust you place in your employees and how strong your organization is as a result. You rely on your vendors to deliver the results they promise. You rely on your customers and members to use your products and services appropriately. What would happen if there were trust issues with any of these groups?
April 13, 2016
Sunday Morning is a CBS staple on the viewing schedule for many households. Recently this American newsmagazine television program featured a story about Myles Eckert, who was eight years old when he made headlines in 2014 by gifting a stranger, fellow patron Lt. Col. Frank Dailey, at a restaurant in Ohio with the $20 bill he had just found in the parking lot. As a Gold Star kid, seeing a man in uniform reminded him of his dad, and he wanted to pay it forward. So he wrapped the $20 inside a note saying his dad had been a soldier and thanking Lt. Col. Dailey for his service. But the story doesn’t end there.
April 6, 2016
Whether we observe actively or passively at this point, the 2016 presidential election has already surpassed a virtual reality show for a portion of the U.S. population and perhaps for the world. We are pummeled daily with analysis and coverage that becomes increasingly dramatic and at times overly stimulating and that just may be unprecedented. Masses of our population demonstrate a need or desire for change from “status quo.” The younger generation is finding and using their voice to unsettle what some would call tradition and traditional norms. And so we are left with the as yet unanswered question, “Who ultimately will govern?”
March 30, 2016
I flew home from Chicago and was lucky enough to sit in a row with a side exit door. With that seat came LOTS of leg room and a great window view, but it also presented more than just a comfortable ride home; I had responsibilities and a decision to make! Was I willing to spend a few extra moments reading the airplane map and instruction card located conveniently in the seat pocket to my front left? Was I capable of being a leader and taking action if my fellow fliers needed me?
March 16, 2016
I recently attended a summit dedicated to the topic of blockchain technology. Prior to attending, I had heard of blockchain but didn’t really know what it was all about. While some of the summit was a bit Pollyanna-ish, it broadened my perspective to blockchain’s potential applications. Let me share some of my takeaways and try to open your mind to the potential applications of this technology.
March 16, 2016
Looking back, 2015 was an eventful year for me and my family, with the most important and exciting thing being my daughter’s wedding. I remember the planning started nearly a year in advance. Anyone who has been through this knows how complex the issues, processes, and procedures can become. Check, double check, and plan for every possible scenario to ensure everything is perfect. You would think with that much time to plan and attention to detail, nothing could go wrong, but when the big day comes, of course, it does.
March 9, 2016
My best friends and I are planning to celebrate one of those milestone birthdays this year with a weekend in Las Vegas. It sure would be fun to win a little cash at the casinos, so it’s a good thing I recently heard about the Gambler’s Fallacy. I’m hoping it will reduce my risk of losing everything in the first five minutes.
March 2, 2016
I have been writing and speaking a lot recently about organizational “culture.” It seems to be a topic that has reemerged as a business priority, and for very good reason. The forces shaping our internal and external workplaces today are having a profound impact on the definition of financial institution. The changes we are experiencing in our political, social, and economic environments, as well as changes in workforce demographics and technology, are astounding. But sometimes a word can be overused, to the point that it loses its meaning and impact. I’m afraid that culture is becoming one of those words.
February 24, 2016
Living in a house with a family of six, soon to be seven, things can easily become chaotic, especially if you know the kids (ages 8, 4, and 2-year-old twins). Certain tasks such as laundry and picking stuff up need to be done . . . EVERY . . . SINGLE . . . DAY. The kids are not yet at that age when we can count on them to help with these and other chores, but we try to reign them in to this responsibility. I remember the simpler days (before kids) when it was just my wife and me and it was easy to maintain the household.
February 10, 2016
I am the proud “grandma” of an adorable, high-energy Siberian husky named Shasta. Huskies are clever, and you have to maintain a high level of consistent training. They also think they are the “alpha.” My daughter Dana, Shasta’s dog “mom,” is an awesome trainer and is clearly the alpha in the relationship. Shasta likes to test that, but Dana rules with a firm and loving hand. Grandma . . . not so much. It is really easy to let things slide here and there. So maybe Shasta gets to lick my hands after I eat a hamburger, or maybe I don’t make her sit before she goes out. No big deal, right? But it actually is.
February 3, 2016
Super Bowl Sunday has become an American ritual of football, innovative advertising, halftime entertainment, and a wide array of chips/dip and other decadent offerings. Each year, we invite friends and family to our home to enjoy this annual last hurrah for the football season while we cheer our favorite team and give a thumbs up or thumbs down to each new commercial that cost its sponsor big bucks.
January 20, 2016
At the end of December, I made my annual trip to the treasurer’s office to pay my property taxes. Over the past few weeks, I have had contacts from a handful of clients about their property taxes increasing over last year. Unfortunately, by the time you receive the tax bill, there generally are limited or no opportunities to contest the assessed values and corresponding tax amount due.
January 13, 2016
Each of your team may have a different view on managing resources and taking risks.
January 6, 2016
Anyone who lives in the Midwest knows there really are only two seasons: winter and road construction season. What does that have to do with banking? In short, the banking industry now has been asked to help foot the new transportation bill.