It is another glorious pre-dawn morning in the Midwest. The sun will soon make its appearance over the horizon and is encouraged by the beautiful pink and purple hues in the eastern sky. It is perfectly calm, as the sun has not yet heated and stirred the air. Something is a little different on this morning; not different in an unusual way, but different in the familiar sense that autumn is just around the corner.
The Midwest is an awesome place to live. We have the benefit of experiencing the fullness of all four seasons. Some seasons we may appreciate more than others, but there is a certain comfort in the consistency in which our time is marked on this earth.
The seasons and the years seem to pass by all too quickly. In the frenzy of the daily pursuit of career, family and other interests, it is important to take some time to reflect on how our days are spent, how we may choose to make changes, and where we see ourselves going. We may find ourselves pleased with the accomplishments, growth and maturity that have occurred over the seasons. We may know of areas of personal improvement that we desire, but do not yet have the motivation or time to achieve. We may also be aware of other areas that require some focus, but we have not yet fully defined those areas or made them a significant enough priority to begin to address them.
We can mark the seasons by changes with the temperature and the type of precipitation that falls from the sky. We can also mark our personal and professional seasons by what we’ve learned from our own continued growth and the changes happening in our own lives. To me, the seasons provide a natural benchmark of our progression. There is not a precise moment or deadline with the seasons, but we are aware of changes happening; another season is now complete and we need to plan for the next.
How does this tie in with banking and risk management? Changing seasons exist here, too. Budgets and performance goals, strategic objectives and initiatives, loan growth, and a reduction in problem assets are typically measured on a quarterly (seasonal) and annual basis. The desired period for measurement and monitoring will provide a point of reflection to determine the effectiveness of achieving the stated goals and objectives.
The seasons can also be marked in a less pronounced way with the continued evolution of our policies, processes, and procedures. Continuous improvement in the effectiveness and efficiency with which duties and responsibilities are performed should be expected and demanded. As the seasons pass, we also see how our customers and prospects change, our competition changes, the economic environment changes, and the level of risk within our loan portfolios changes. We must also adapt to be in the best position to successfully manage these changes.
Many times, an outside perspective provides an unbiased observation on the status of the policies, processes, and changing risk environment. Areas of strength and opportunities for improvement should be expected from your risk management consultants. These are the occasions to facilitate an evolution of a policy or procedure or reaffirm that they are appropriate for the institution. Good policies and procedures along with effective execution and monitoring of these hallmarks of risk management provide for additional stability during the turbulence that occurs as the seasons change.
We are happy to meet with you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding your current risk management practices, your loan portfolio or your credit administration. We would like all our customers to have policies and procedures in place that are executed and monitored consistent with prudent risk management strategies to help weather the storms of the seasons.
Enlighten Financial is a specialized consulting firm that focuses on loan review and risk management services to community banks and credit unions. Enlighten Financial has made it our business to shed light on the complex financial landscape, and lead clients in the right direction. We work with financial institutions and other providers to mitigate risk. To talk to us directly, please call: (920) 445-8881.