Four Helpful Options Available For Office Phone Systems

To compare business phone systems and find the right fit for a particular company, four benefits should be heavily considered. Ideal office phone systems will include a virtual receptionist, voicemail transcriptions, ‘contact us’ web widgets, call routing to cells and office phones, and HD voice quality.

Compare Business Phone Systems That Come With Voicemail Transcription

An option known as voicemail transcription transmits a text version of voicemail messages to the email address an individual has selected. The written transcription arrives at the user’s email address and/or email-enabled cellular device along with an audio file of the message. Some providers include this feature in their packages. Others offer a free 30-day trial of voicemail transcription service to all users on a company’s account. Once the trial period has concluded, a manager can choose to continue this option as a paid service on certain extensions of his choice. Fully automated, voicemail transcription utilizes high-tech voice recognition technology. The transcribing does not need a live agent. By using automated technology, communication vendors can ensure total privacy and speedy delivery of the transcribed message.

‘Contact Us’ Web Widget Offers Added Value

Business owners who compare business phone systems find that a web widget with ‘contact us’ capabilities gives online publishers the chance to increase value and following to blogs, social networks, home pages, and websites. Easily embedded into a page, a widget is a small web application. This capability is included with some office phone systems that are designed with the components needed to be embedded in a blog or web page. The most common of internet forms, ‘contact us’ web widgets can be located on numerous websites and blogs. Typically, they all consist of the same structure including a user information section (name, company, email, etc.), and a contact detail section (purpose for contact, subject, and description).

Call Routing, From Cells To External Offices

Call routing entails answering an incoming telephone call and routing it to another point that could be any extension number in the office, a handheld or portable device like a cell phone, or to another landline number. The biggest selling point of call routing is that it ensures that no important calls are missed when a person is unavailable or at a location where the telephone number usually exists. Today’s providers often offer deals that come with call routing to cell and office cubicles, even with a basic package. In some instances, the subscribers can receive cellular call forwarding services. If the cell number incurs problems, then the subscriber can route the call to any other desired number until a solution is put into place. There are countless positive aspects of call forwarding services. For example, when the chief executive officer is not physically present at the office, he can still answer the calls coming into his office line. This ability to forward calls to an employee’s cell phone, landline, or any other number desired makes managing a company far more efficient. With this technology, the desired party can speak to directly to clients, answer their questions, and provide information, regardless of their location.

Importance Of HD Voice Quality

As individuals who operate a company compare business phone systems, they should consider the importance of HD (high-definition) voice quality. Also called wideband voice, this advancement has received a lot of attention recently. The audio technology, which allows office phone systems to send a far broader range of sounds over internet lines than traditional phones, greatly improves the clarity of voice calls. Conventional lines use PSTN (public switched telephone network) circuits that produce more static and less lucidity. Businesses can tangibly benefit from HD voice quality by not dealing with calls coming in that are inaudible or get cut off. Business owners trying to close a deal prefer to depend on HD voice quality instead of traditional fuzzy lines.

Network Marketing Blog Traffic Training

Let me guess. You’ve created a network marketing blog complete with graphical headers, opt-in boxes and banner ads for your favorite affiliate programs, but you aren’t making any money because you don’t have sufficient traffic to your a network marketing blog. Now that the blog is up and running, you’ve realized that just having a network marketing blog is only half the battle. The other half is blog traffic. You’ve landed on this post looking for a network marketing blog traffic strategies, tools or training. Am I right so far?

Or perhaps you don’t have a network marketing blog yet and are thinking about creating one. You’ll be glad you landed here because a blog without any traffic won’t make any money or generate any leads. Be sure you have a traffic plan for leading people to your blog.

Either way, you are in the right place. This particular MLM blog gets plenty of traffic and I can teach you how to do it too.This will be an overview article discussing your options for network marketing blog traffic. We can’t possibly teach you how to do all this stuff in one article…but the tutorials and resources on rest of the site will get you pretty far.

Network Marketing Blog Traffic Sources

Search Engines

Paid search

You can run pay-per-click (PPC) ads on any of the major search engines. When someone searches for a keyword like “network marketing blog” your ad will be served to them. A click takes them directly to your website. You pay for each click. The amount depends on how many other advertisers you are competing with. You can turn it on or turn it off at any time.

Organic search

Organic search is also called SEO or search engine optimization. This is the process of optimizing your website to appear high in the free search results for a particular keyword phrase. It takes time and patience, but once your MLM blog ranks well for a couple popular searches, you’ll get lots of free clicks and visitors.

Referring Sites

Text Ads/Banner Ads

You can place sponsored links, text ads and banner ads on other websites to bring in referral traffic to your own website. This can be done through large ad servers that place links on thousands of sites or by negotiating directly with the owner of the target site. Prices will vary and most consumers will know it is a paid ad. Turn on or off at any time.

Content Links

Every site owner needs content. When you provide quality content in the form of a guest blog post or a useful blog comment you are generally able to provide a link back to your own network marketing blog. If the reader enjoys your article or finds your comment helpful (and if you have something enticing to offer them on your site) they will often click the link to visit.

Email

Email is a fast and cheap way to reach many people. If you don’t have your own large email list yet you can do a list rental. This allows you to send a promotional message to thousands of people at a time. You can do a solo ad where you are the only sponsor of the email or have your message batched with other advertisers. Prices are based on list size, quality and how prominently your message is featured.

Smart Phones

QR codes and text messages are two ways to get people to your blog from smart phones. This strategy is currently very effective because not many people are doing it, but you want to make sure you have a mobile-friendly network marketing blog before sending a bunch of smart phone traffic to it. Stay tuned to this one…it is the wave of the future.

Offline

Ever heard of drop cards? They are mini-advertisements printed on business card-sized paper than you can drop around town. The card directs people to your network marketing blog for more information about the headline on the card. They are very inexpensive to print and easy to work into your daily routine.

Getting Started with Network Marketing Blog Traffic

The smartest thing you can do is to learn a little bit about each of the options for network marketing blog traffic and then select ONE strategy to get really good at. Don’t try to do them all at the same time. Build up your blog traffic to 300 or more visitors per month from a single method before launching into any others. This amount of traffic will be enough to give you early feedback on the effectiveness of the offer and opt-ins on your network marketing blog. The rest is tweaking, refining and adding more traffic.

The world of online network marketing is vast and confusing. Some might say it is hostile to the new-comer with lots on entrenched experts selling the newbies systems and tools that they really don’t need. We understand that it is hard to know who to trust.

Give us the opportunity to earn your trust and confidence. We created networkmarketingleadsblog.com to provide the best network marketing content without any of the BS. Just for stopping by you can pick up 3 different free ebooks and several cool tools.

A “Less Narrow” Narrow Banking

Ultimately the “correct solution” to the US’s banking troubles are not going to come from a simple return to narrow banking or a switch to macro-prudential banking either. While macro-prudential banking looks in its early stages to be working in Columbia and Spain, it has no proven success in an advanced economy to this point, and its reliance on data and data analysis is fairly dangerous. While of course new is not always “bad,” when dealing with the American economy I think it is essential to start off with a system that has been proven to work soundly, and then implement smaller reforms on this system to make the system work even better. Research has shown that macro-prudential analyses were unable to detect the subprime crisis because it was not the “common bank crisis”. Additionally, there is always a tendency for the authorities and those conducting the analyses to get caught up in the same sort of optimism as the private sector, and this could be especially prevalent in a society as driven by wealth as the US’s. On the other hand, simply narrow banking (completely separating commercial and investment banks) has been shown to be restrictive on both the commercial and investment sector and would thus lower potential economic growth. The “too big to fail” proposal, while it has many positive aspects, really seems like an answer to only part of the problem.

The top solution I believe will take aspects from all three, and the banking solution I propose does this to some degree. Narrow banking- when done correctly- has worked very well in the past for the American economy: From post-WWII up through the late 90’s, the US was essentially void of any long (1+ year) recessions, outside of those due to extreme jumps in oil prices (rise in OPEC oil prices in 1973 along with Vietnam spending and also 1981 with jump in oil prices due to the Iranian Revolution). This was while following a strict narrow banking strategy as imposed by the Glass Steagall Act. As a reference, prior to the implementation of narrow banking there were over 10 recessions of 1+ year in the US in the previous 100 years (including a number that lasted over 2 years). With less enforcement of the act in the 1990s and finally the repeal of it in 1999, investment banks quickly began playing the role of commercial banks and taking on deposits, and commercial banks began selling off their deposits as investments. Quickly this led to the worst financial crisis in the US since the Great Depression. However, it is important to remember that while the financial crisis did emerge from the mixing of banking roles, extreme economic growth occurred initially. The best solution should seek to embrace this economic growth while preventing large financial crises that can stagnate it. My proposal plans to follow a “less narrow” form of narrow banking that will be less restrictive on banks while keeping a closer eye on their actions, less reliant on data analysis, but prevent the devaluing of assets from bringing down the entire financial institution, thus keeping the number of 1+ year recessions at a minimum.

– The first reform to implement is a simple restriction on the size financial institutions are allowed to grow to relative to the whole system. When one bank gets too intertwined in the affairs of all other banks and is essentially “too large to fail,” this can be a huge problem and have market-wide implications. Restrictions on the percentage of market assets held by any one financial institution need to be implemented to prevent the dependency of an entire economy on this single institution. Banks will still be able to continue growing, just not at a significantly faster rate than the rest, and this will essentially eliminate any sort of monopolization inside the banking sector. While this can eliminate the possibility for economies of scale, it will also prevent them from making risky decisions, knowing that the government will be forced to bail them out if they do indeed fail.

– A clear distinction must be made between investment banking and commercial banking, just as with the Glass Steagall Act. Investment banks must be in no case allowed to take on deposits of their own. Commercial banks must be restricted from selling off their deposits as assets, outside of Prime, low risk mortgages. Requiring commercial banks to hold onto all but the most risk-free mortgages will as an incentive for them to not let the mortgages default. They will only give out mortgages to credit-worthy customers if they must bear the burden of a default. In my proposed strategy, all assets would fall under 3 “tiers” according to their riskiness. Tier 1 would include low risk highly liquid assets, tier 2 less liquid and more risky assets, and tier 3 the highest risk and least liquid assets. The basics of each tier are outlined in the table below:

Tier 1 MMMFs, Treasury Bills, Certificates of Deposit, Gov’t Bonds, Euro debt securities

Tier 2 Corporate Bonds, Preference shares

Tier 3 Debentures, Corporate stocks, credit card debt, derivitives, triple A securities (rated by Fed)

– In this proposed model, investment banks would be allowed to invest in all 3 tiers. During times of market efficiency/stability, commercial banks would be limited to investing in tier 1 assets. Close regulation of the financial system (as in macro-prudential banking), would be put into place by the Fed to closely monitor market-wide risk, and based on this risk commercial banks would be permitted to invest in Medium risk (tier 2) assets depending on the financial conditions- during times of recession tier 2 assets will become available for commercial investment, and during booms the availability of investment in these assets would close off. But because in this model investment banking and commercial banking will be largely separate, a failure of the Fed to correctly predict the risk in the market will not result in a possible crisis as in pure macro-prudential economy.

– Because commercial banks and mortgage companies will have to hold onto their mortgages and other loans, they will continue to only give loans to credit-worthy borrowers since they themselves will face the problems of creditworthiness rather than the investment banks and other customers of MBS’s. In any recessions the Fed will advise banks to lower their credit standards to help jump-start the economy- during booms the opposite will occur and the Fed will advise banks to tighten their lending standards. The model will require the Fed to closely monitor that banks are not selling off these loans, but aside from that their will be no incentive for banks to raise/lower standards against the success of the economy since they alone will feel the effects of a loan defaults.

How Banking Systems Originally Started

What is a banking system? It seems like a simple question. However, depending on where you sit and your personal perspective there can be several different answers.

When I pose this question to participants on my courses I invariably get an answer that deals exclusively with a computerized process. In today’s jargon the word “system” seems to automatically refer to a computer and a computer only.

However a “system” is bigger than just a computer. A “system” is a grouping or combination of things or parts forming a complex or unitary whole. An easily understood example is the postal system which includes things like letters, stamps, parcels, letter boxes, post offices, sorting offices, computers, clerks, mailmen, delivery vans, airlines; just to mention a few of its components. It is how all this is organised and made to work that makes it worthy of the title “postal system”. So, when we speak of a system, we speak of something much larger and more complex than the computerized part of that system.

The same logic relates to any other “system” and “banking systems” are no different.

The cheque clearing system (or check clearing system to our American cousins) can probably lay claim to the honour of being the oldest banking system in the world. This system, with variations, is used to this very day in all countries where the cheque still forms a part of the national payment system.

Today in the twenty first century, in most countries where the cheque is still in use, the cheque clearing system is a highly sophisticated process using state of the art technology, readers, sorters, scanners, coded cheques, electronic images and lots and lots of computing power.

The cheque is basically a humble piece of paper, an instruction to a bank to make a payment. The story of the cheque clearing system is a story that is worth telling. It is that story of a banking system that is now in its third century of operation. It is the story of a banking system that has evolved and changed and been improved through countless innovations and changes. It is a story of the key payment instrument that has helped grease the wheels of commerce and industry.

How did the cheque begin? Most probably in ancient times. There is talk of cheque-like instruments from the Roman empire, from India and Persia, dating back two millennia or more.

The cheque is a written order addressed by an account holder, the “drawer”, to his or her bank, to pay a specific amount to the payee (also known as the “drawee”). The cheque is a payment instrument, meaning that it is the actual vehicle by which a payment can be taken from one account and transferred to another account. A cheque has a legal personality – it is a negotiable instrument governed in most countries by law.

To illustrate let us use an example. Your Aunt Sally gives you a present for your birthday. A cheque for one hundred pounds. To get a hold of your real present (the cash that is) you have two options. You can take yourself off to Aunt Sally’s bank and claim payment in cash by presenting the cheque there yourself, or you could give the cheque to your own bank and ask them to collect the amount on your behalf.

Collecting your present in person can be a real bind, especially if Aunt Sally lives in another town, miles away from where you live. So you deposit your cheque with your bank.

Cheque clearing is the process (or system) that is used to get the cheque that Aunt Sally gave you for your birthday, from your bank branch, where you deposited it, to Aunt Sally’s bank branch and to get settlement for the amount due back to your own branch. Given that on any one day millions and millions of cheques are processed, sorted, processed, transported; getting payment for and keeping tabs on all of these items is no easy feat.

A year or two back the annual number of cheques processed in the United Kingdom was just over five million. Not per year but PER DAY!

However, we are digressing. We need to get back to our story, now unfolding almost two and a half centuries ago. Until about 1770 the collection of cheques in London, which by then had already become the world’s premier banking centre, was pretty much an informal, tedious affair. Each afternoon clerks from each of the dozens of London banks would set out with a leather bag tucked under their arms. In the bags were the cheques that had been deposited with their banks drawn on all the other London banks.

They would trudge from one bank to another, through rain and through mud, in summer and winter. At each bank they would present the cheques that had been deposited with them for collection and would receive in exchange cash payment for the items presented. When necessary they would also take delivery of cheques drawn on themselves and deposited at these other banks, keeping a tally of balances between them and the other bank until they settled with each other. This dreary exhausting trudge from one bank to another would often take the best part of each afternoon. On their return the cash received in payment of those cheques would be balanced up. Life was indeed hard.

And then it happened! A spark of innovation flashed across the mind of one of those weary clerks. Who it was, is not known, but he had a real brainwave, probably driven by thoughts of how to boost his leisure time or settle his nerves with that extra pint of ale.

The logic was simple. If the clerks could all meet at a set time at a single place, they could transact their business, each with the other in a fraction of the time and without the need to walk miles and miles to dozens of banks. They started doing this by arranging to meet daily at the Five Bells, a tavern in Lombard Street in the City of London, to exchange all their cheques in one place and settle the balances in cash. In the spirit of the efficiency gained they could maximise their leisure and drinking time – which they promptly did, much to the satisfaction of the local publican. An added benefit was that all this now happened out of the cold and the wet and the gloom.

The cheque clearing system had been born.

There were other benefits to be gained from this new system too. By having all the banks present at a single exchange session permitted interbank obligations to be settled on a multilateral net basis. This provided a huge savings in the amount of cash that each of the clerks had to carry to settle his banks obligations.

Pretty soon the next innovation kicked in when the banks dispensed with settling in cash. This was replaced when the banks set up a process of exchanging IOUs drawn on their respective accounts at the Bank of England, for the net amounts payable or due. The IOU was called… you guessed it; a clearance voucher.

In the next two hundred years the process or system was replicated around the world as the only method for the collection and settlement of cheques, which at that time was the only domestic payment instrument.

Different countries adapted the system with minor variations. However the principal remained the same. While the various systems operated beautifully in terms of operational and technical efficiency, the legal risk in the netting process was neatly ignored. This lacuna was only corrected in the 1990s with the realization of the systemic risk that this gap had created.

The nineteenth century saw the previously handwritten cheques being replaced by printed forms issued by banks to their clients, often embodying some form of security feature to hamper attempts at forgery.

Nothing much changed until the 1960s and 1970s when automation was introduced into the cheque clearing system. Growing volumes of cheques around the world necessitated new ways to process the flood of new payments being made. During this period we saw a proliferation of automated clearing houses in which machine-readable cheques were processed, sorted, batched, cleared and settled. The method used for this was the code-line printed on the cheque, either in magnetic ink (MICR -Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) or using a special font (OCR – Optical Character Recognition).

Subsequent innovations have seen this data being transmitted electronically from bank to clearing house and then to the bank again. Images of the cheques are now also regularly transmitted between banks. In many jurisdictions the digitized image of the cheque has become the legal replacement of the original paper cheque allowing the paper instrument to be truncated at source.

Despite the growing popularity of pure electronic payments in many parts of the world, the use of the cheque still remains popular in the United States. Perhaps the ultimate accolade to the durability of the cheque and the cheque clearing system is the fact that many American banks today allow their customers to photograph their cheques, using a bank developed app, for deposit via their smartphone. The cheque image, both front and back, is transmitted to their bank for credit of their account.

This original banking system has certainly come a long way in two and a quarter centuries since the first cheque clearing house began its operations in a room at the Five Bells Tavern in the City of London, as a smart idea to give a bunch of young bank clerks more drinking and leisure time, out of the cold and the damp.

Loan Files – Automation Through Digitization at Banks

With recent technological advancements in the financial industry, banks throughout the United States (and the rest of the world) continue to search for tools to optimize traditionally manual processes. With administrative costs comprising such a large portion of a bank’s annual expenses, banking software systems that provide effective automation will continue to experience solid growth for decades to come. A major trend among banks is the automation of loan files. As any banker knows, a single file can represent mountains of paperwork and possibly years of work. This article takes a look at the ways banks are using bank imaging technology to streamline the management of loan and credit files.

Questions For Consideration

Before considering your options for loan file automation, it is wise to first review some basic questions about your bank’s current situation. By thinking critically about your bank workflow as it stands today, your financial institution can maximize return on investment. The following questions may be helpful when starting the process of optimization.

How efficient / effective is your current paper loan file system?
How much money does your financial institution spend each year creating and organizing physical files?
How frequently do physical files have to be transferred from one branch to another?
Things to consider: courier costs – routing for credit analysis, approval officer review, etc
Has your bank every misplaced, damaged, or completely lost a loan file, creating mountains of duplicate administrative work to restore the original files?
Have customers or lending officers ever complained about the length of time it takes to approve or update loan files at your bank?

Loan Approval Process: A Very Good Place to Start

Once you have identified the need to automate your loan process, a wise place to begin is at the very start of the application process. By implementing a banking software system that can manage your loan files from start to finish, your organization will yield the greatest ROI from such a platform. When evaluating the offerings from different banking software companies, it is a good idea to find a system that will integrate with your existing applications, underwriting software, credit analysis platform, and documentation. It is also important to find a system that will provide up to the minute loan status information, electronic routing, and multi-party document viewing rights. Through automated updates to the assigned user, loan status, and approval status, your bank will experience formerly unrealized economies of scale.

Optimizing Your Bank’s Loan Pipeline

With the volume of loans being processed each day in a single bank branch, keeping up with the status of each paper loan file has historically been a challenge for institutions of all sizes. When implementing bank loan software to centralize such activity, it is crucial that your bank select a banking software company that offers a loan pipeline management and reporting tool. Such tools typically offer a customizable dashboard for instant analysis of a bank’s existing loan pipeline. In addition, such platforms should provide a wide variety of reporting options, allowing users to subscribe to email alerts for specified pipeline activity. Also, reports should have the ability to be easily exported to the standard formats, such as.pdf and.csv, allowing deeper analysis by management.

Customize Loan Files for Your Bank Workflow Needs

Perhaps the greatest benefit of automating loan files via bank management software, is the ability to quickly glance at the entire documentation workflow and instantly understand which documents are still missing. As documents are routed from user to user through your bank workflow, users can be automatically notified via email that their action is required. When choosing a banking document management system to streamline your loan filing, it is vital that you go with a vendor that allows you set up unlimited workflow actions in your system. By customizing every workflow action to your bank’s needs, you can ensure that your system will reflect the operational goals of your institution. Such elements to consider in your workflow automation include: managing exceptions, defining user groups, email notification recipients, setting lending limits, etc.

Closing Thoughts – Loan File Digitization

By automating the approval and life cycle of a loan file, your bank can reap significant benefits. Studies have shown that many financial institutions are able to recoup their investment in loan portfolio management software within a twelve to eighteen period. By digitally capturing every action associated with a loan file, banks have been known to save money in the areas of administrative costs, courier / overnight shipping expenses, storage space, and overall productivity.

Keeping Your Bank Account Safe From Fraud

Financial exploitation of seniors is an increasing problem (National Center on Elder Abuse), including cases where money is stolen directly from a senior’s bank account. The research company Gartner Inc. estimates that two million people in the United States have had money stolen from their bank accounts in the past year. The average amount lost was $1,200.

We often think that fraud is committed by people we don’t know who gain access to our personal information. While that can be true, for seniors the probability is greater that a family member or caregiver is the one who takes advantage of them financially. A survey by the Adult Protective Services agencies found that the most common financial abuser was a son or daughter, accounting for 33% of the reported cases of fiscal exploitation of seniors age 60 or over.

Red flags for financial abuse to seniors, as reported by the National Association for Professional Geriatric Care Managers, include:

Someone who is responsible for paying bills for the senior, but the bills have not been paid and there are not adequate resources to pay them;
Unexplained money missing from the senior’s accounts;
Family member/caregiver withdrawing large amounts of money from accounts;
Someone taking money under false pretenses;
Forgery;
Seniors who are forced to make property transfers or transfers that are completed through lies or deceit.

Fraudulent bank account activity occurs both through standard accounts and online, so a variety of safeguards are necessary to defend against fraud. Begin by confirming that your bank is financially sound and your bank deposits are fully covered by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). The FDIC is an independent agency of the federal government that was set up in the 1930s to preserve and promote public confidence in the U.S. financial system by insuring deposits in banks. All reputable banks will have FDIC coverage.

Once you find a bank you are comfortable with, a bank officer can help you determine a good plan for your specific circumstances and help put safety measures in place. There are many different precautions available to ensure the safety of a senior’s bank account.

Standard bank accounts rely heavily on a paper trail, such as checks, deposit slips, and bank account statements. With this much information readily available through the mail and filed within the home, seniors need to create a secure method for receiving and storing bank account documents.

To protect standard bank accounts:

Read statements as soon as you receive them. Review each withdrawal and deposit for accuracy. Report any inaccuracies to your bank immediately.
Never leave bank statements or checkbooks in open view around the house, especially if there is an outside caregiver coming into the home.
Take precautions with your ATM card. Never lend it to someone or give another person your password or personal identification number (PIN). When using your ATM card, shield your transactions from others around you who may be trying to watch what you are doing.
Shred old and unused checks and old bank account statements. Check with your bank or accountant regarding how long to keep bank records. Store statements in a secure location and away from visitors to the home.
Never give anyone a signed blank check.
Always initiate contact with your bank yourself. If you receive a phone call from someone saying they are with your bank, hang up and call the bank back.
If necessary, get a joint checking account so two signatures are required for withdrawals.
Consider setting up a custodial account. The bank collects the senior’s income and pays the senior’s bills. If the senior needs money, the bank will issue a check or debit card so the senior has access to cash.

Online banking has become a common and accepted way to manage bank accounts. It gives consumers immediate access to bank information and the ability to check that all transactions are accurate. However, fraud can occur online as well.

Precautions to take for online banking include:

Log onto your account regularly to check accuracy of transactions. Report any inaccuracies to your bank immediately.
Never do online banking in a public place such as the library or at a coffee shop. Others may be able to access your information.
Always initiate contact with your bank yourself. If you receive an email from your bank requesting that you log in or provide personal information, do not.
Check for secure connections. One way to do this is to see if the bank’s site starts with “https.” The “s” means that the URL address is on a secure server.
Change your password regularly. A few times a year is recommended.
Install software barriers such as firewalls, spyware blocking, and anti-virus.

If multiple people are involved in the care of a loved one, a plan for managing the money and putting safeguards in place is even more important. If each person providing care for the senior has access to the bank account for his or her part of the care, spotting fraud in the account would be challenging. If possible, designate one person to oversee the account, pay bills and provide money or reimbursements to the people involved in the senior’s care. That way, all money goes through one place and can be tracked easily.

Consistently monitor bank accounts and immediately report any suspicious activity to your financial institution for their help in remedying the situation. A good bank will respond quickly to any questionable transactions and help you recover lost funds. Protecting your finances by setting up a sound bank account and banking system for yourself or a loved one is a proven way to avoid fraud by family members, caregivers, or strangers.

Bank Secrecy

Bank secrecy is a practice that prevents the financial institution from revealing the information of the customers’ accounts. The Swiss Banking Act of 1934 originally introduced the legal principle. It was introduced after a public scandal took place in France. M. P. Fabien revealed that several rich French people are trying to avoid tax by keeping their money in the Bank of Switzerland. Fabien criticized them because Switzerland is lending the money of these people to Germany. From that time onwards, many people started to criticize Switzerland for encouraging illegal activities such as laundering, embezzlement of the money, and etc.

The purpose of inventing bank secrecy act is to enforce the security of the bank account holders. A financial institution that practices the legal principle will not share information with the tax authorities, government from foreign country, and the local government. However, if the Swiss judge demands the information, the bank has to reveal it.

Some governments criticize it as contributing to the underground criminal activity. There are more criticisms on bank secrecy after the September 11 event occurred. In bank secrecy, the bank cannot reveal the account information of a customer unless someone filed a complaint. When a third party requests for the account information, the bank representative will use his discretion. Every staff that works at the bank must obey the legal principle. The legal principle will protect the client and not the bank.

The banking secrecy is based on two laws including civil law and banking law. In civil law, the financial institution must keep the client bank information as a secret and never reveal to anyone. In banking law, the banker will get fine or imprisonment if he violated the rule of bank secrecy and revealed the bank account information. In some countries such as Switzerland, the banks use numbered account to hide the identity of the client. In Switzerland, the bank must know the identity of the client. However, the bank is allowed to replace the name of the account holder with a number. Numbered accounts can be used on various types of bank accounts including checking account, deposit account, and etc. By using numbered account, only the bank knows the account holder’s identity. Since the name is shown as number to the public, no one will ever know the real identity of the account holder. The client can waive the bank secrecy if he doesn’t want this kind of protection. The bank has no absolute decision to waive the bank secrecy.

There are many reasons why people like secrecy. Secrecy can be used for bad and good reasons. One of the reasons that people use bank secrecy is to protect their accounts from criminals. Criminals in certain countries are able to gain access to the bank information of the customers. Because of this risk, it is necessary that bank follow the bank secrecy principle to protect customers from all kinds of criminals such as identity thieves. Besides, secrecy can also protect the clients from spongers. Examples of spongers that are likely to find out about the bank information include beggars, salesman and etc.

Liquid wealth tends to attract a lot of publicity. With bank secrecy, your bank information will no longer become public. In addition, it can protect you from the press. Many magazines like to search for the bank information of rich people and publish the rich list. If your account is protected, the magazine editor won’t be able to find out the information. Many factors are used to determine the wealth of a person. It can also prevent the money from being confiscated in the event that you file for bankruptcy. If you don’t want people to know the amount of money in your bank, you should use banking privacy.

Control With Bank Reconciliations

Reconciling the entity’s accounting records with those of their bank provides an important control over banking transactions and confirms the bank balance disclosed in the statement of financial position. The bank statement is, in effect, a copy of the bank’s ledger account reflecting transactions from the bank’s standpoint. This statement, while not infallible, is a useful independent source of information against which to check the completeness and accuracy of the entity’s information on its banking activities.

Bank statements record all deposits by the customer as credit entries and all withdrawals as debits, reflecting the bank’s view of these transactions. Deposits by customers are liabilities (credits) of the bank, and withdrawals are either reductions of these deposits (and hence debits) or are advances by the bank, which constitute assets of the bank (debits). Hence all transactions will be recorded as ‘mirror images’ (with opposite signs) by the entity and the bank.

Furthermore, the timing of entries will differ, making it unlikely that, at any given time, the balance in the general ledger account will be the same as that on the bank statement. Each entity records transactions as it becomes aware of them, for example, on receipt of a customer’s payment or on drawing a check on settlement of a supplier’s account. The bank entry will be triggered by presentation of the item at the bank – as part of a (combined) deposit of customer payments, or when the supplier presents the check or payment (via their bank).

In addition, some entries will be made by the bank before the client entity receives advice of the transaction. Examples are bank charges and interest, automatic payments (APs), direct debits (DDs) and direct credits (DCs), where customers pay by bank transfer rather than by mail or in person. Automatic payments require the payer to authorize varying amounts, whereas DDs (and DCs) allow variations in amount, subject to the right of cancellation.

The reconciliation procedure is as follows:

1. Compare and tick off each matching pair of:

(a) Deposits and direct credits in the bank column of the cash receipts journal with amounts in the credit column of the bank statement ensure dates are compatible

(b) Checks drawn or auto payments recorded in the cash payments journal with checks presented in the debit column on the bank statement (ensure checks numbers or details of auto payments agree).

2. Adjust the entity’s records for omissions or errors:

(a) Enter omitted (unticked) items on the bank statement into the appropriate cash journal: (i) Credit items on the bank statement are entered in the cash receipts journal. These are deposits (a liability of the bank to its customer), for example, direct credits or interest on savings. (ii) Debit items on the bank statement are entered in the cash payments journal. These are withdrawals that reduce in-fund balances (or increase overdrafts). Examples include payments under auto payment or direct debit authorities, or interest and fees charged by the bank.

(b) Correcting journal entries may also be needed where amounts have been initially entered incorrectly in the journals. In practice it is necessary to check from original sources which entry is correct – the bank’s or the entity’s record.

3. Adjust the balance on the bank statement for any items not yet recorded by the bank – for example, deposits in transit and unpresented checks at the date of the statement; or any errors in the bank’s recording process.

4. Prepare the reconciliation. This takes the form of a statement prepared as at a certain date, starting with the bank statement balance – the independent amount – and adjusting it for any deposits not yet credited (outstanding deposits) and any checks not yet debited (unpresented checks).

This procedure confirms the accuracy of the recording process and the existence of the funds, as confirmed by the bank. Note the use of in funds (I/F), or O/D if overdrawn, to avoid the confusion of using Dr or Cr, which have differing meanings on the bank account and on the bank statement.

To gain maximum benefit from this control, organizations should obtain bank statements regularly, and ensure that the bank account (in the general ledger) is compared with the bank statement and any differences adequately explained and followed up. The frequency depends on the volume of transactions and the reliability of other controls, but it should be carried out at least monthly.

Bank reconciliations must be carried out on a regular basis, especially with the large number of electronic transactions that are now first recorded on bank statements. In addition, reconciliations provide a strong control over cash handling (for example, by high lighting any delays in making deposits), as well as providing assurance that the entity’s accounting records are reliable.

U.OL Defining “Commercial Banking”

“Commercial banking” was defined in the previous edition of this book as the activity of a banking institution whose “principal business is to accept deposits, make loans, collect commercial paper, and arrange the transfer of funds.” Under the banking law from the adoption of the Glass-Steagall Act in the 1930s until the beginning of the 1980s, there was a distinct demarcation between commercial banks and other financial institutions, such as investment banks, securities firms, and commercial financial services conglomerates.

AH this is changing. The types of institutions that can engage in traditional commercial banking functions have enlarged as a result of legislation giving additional powers to thrift institutions. The types of activities commercial banks engage in have expanded as a result of legislation at both the state and federal levels and as a result of judicial decisions dismantling parts of the wall erected by the Glass-Steagall Act to keep commercial banks insulated from the risks of dealing in securities. The “nonbank bank” explosion has started a restructuring of the banking market into holding companies capable of offering an array of financial services. In light of these developments, perhaps the most suitable definition is one offered by an English texi: “[B]anks come in all shapes and sizes, with different name tags applied indifferent countries, often quite loosely. Banks make most of their money from the difference between interest rates paid to depositors and charged to borrowers.” Commercial banks are “publicly quoted and profit oriented. They deal directly with the public, taking deposits, making loans and providing a range of financial services from foreign exchange to investment advice. Most countries have settled for between four and ten;” but in the United States there are nearly 15,000 because of “banking laws that have prevented banks operating in more than one state, and in different types of business,..

In addition to commercial banks, there are many specialized depository institutions that have been established to perform specialized roles. Thrift insti­tutions such as savings and loan associations and credit unions are important examples. At their inception, savings and loan associations primarily engaged in home mortgage lending and offering passbook-type savings to consumers. With the enactment of the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Con­trol Act of 1980, thrifts gained expanded authority to engage in commercial banking activities. Further incorporation into the general banking market has occurred as a result of the restructuring brought about by the financial failures and weakened condition of thrift institutions in the 1980s, which led to changes in the law to encourage the acquisition and merger of weak institutions with stronger financial institutions, including banks. To a great extent, thrift institutions are subject to a regulatory regime similar to that governing commercial banks, and engage in banking functions similar to those of commercial banks. Subsequent chapters discuss how thrifts fit into this regulatory scheme.

There are other specialized consumer-oriented financial companies. Credit unions may be organized under state and federal statutes with the power to maintain customer share accounts against which drafts may be drawn payable i n a manner similar to checks. There are also personal finance loan organizations authorized under the laws of the several states that loan small amounts of money to consumers, often at specially regulated rates that are higher than the usual interest rates allowed. These organizations normally are not deposit-taking institutions but operate with their own capital and credit. Banks often have their own small loan depart­ments to make the same type of loans, and holding companies may have special consumer loan subsidiaries or affiliate companies.

Although trust activities have become a part of the activity of many com­mercial banks,1 this book does not deal with the laws that govern these trustee relationships and activities. The competition for funds has led some banks to offer managed investment accounts through their trust departments similar to those offered by mutual funds and other securities firms. Again, there are trust companies organized under state law that operate by accepting money for the purpose of investment where the beneficial interest in the funds remains in the original owner.

There are other types of banking functions and specialized banks: for exam­ple, reserve banks, which are really bankers’ banks; investment banks, whose chief business is underwriting and dealing in securities, and providing financial advice and aid in corporate acquisitions and mergers; agricultural banks; foreign trade banks; and other specialized banks that have charters to engage in particu­lar types of business. Further, the peculiarities of federal laws regulating bank holding companies have encouraged the proliferation of various financial institutions that have been chartered as full-service banks but that limit their functions to activities such as consumer lending and credit card operations.

Because of the diversity of functions of commercial banks and the variety of depository institutions involved in them, this book does not attempt a compre­hensive survey of all banking activity. Rather, it emphasizes the basic regulatory structure that governs traditional commercial banking institutions and the com­mercial activities associated with accepting deposits, collecting commercial paper, making payments and transferring funds, and engaging in certain credit transactions.

As this introduction indicates, the laws and regulations that govern com­mercial banking are numerous and complex. The various types of financial institutions engaging in commercial banking activities are matched by an equal activities. The Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 also gave thrift institutions chartered by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board the author­ity to engage in trust activities under certain conditions. 12 USC § 1464(n) (1982).

In addition, the law governing the transactions of commercial banks is complex. The Uniform Commercial Code has brought a desirable uniformity to the law in many areas, but there are many special purpose statutes, frequently intended to give special consumer protection, that must be taken into account in analyzing banking transactions. There is a growing body of federal law that must be considered along with the state commercial law of the UCC and common law. This book is intended to serve as a beginning guide for the bank officer engaged in these commercial banking transactions and the attorneys called upon to advise in banking matters. It is not a substitute for careful legal counsel, how­ever, and such assistance should be obtained because this book can neither cover all the details applicable in particular matters, especially at the regulatory level, nor report on all the local variations, changes, and new developments. More­over, the facts of a particular situation will vary in ways that may introduce new legal problems or otherwise affect the legal analysis. Obtaining the advice of competent legal counsel is essential.

Bank On It

With more than twenty years experience as a Bank Teller and Customer, I have grown accustomed to the ins and outs of retail or commercial banking. You rarely get advice how to shop for banking services. We see advertisements in the media about rates and features but seldom see the benefits. I will share a few important facts on how to choose the right bank for your personal or financial goals. Once you are enlightened, you will be able to make wiser banking decisions. Let’s go to the Bank!

One of the most important factors in choosing where to open your bank account is finding a convenient location that suits your needs. Rates are not the issue since most banks have competitive interest rates.

The main focus is convenience and this does not necessarily mean close in proximity to work or home since banking is now more automated and we can bank anywhere using the ATM (Automated Teller Machine), telephone and online services. Your bank must be accessible twenty-four hours per day whether offline or online.

Here is a caution: not all transactions can be conducted remotely. For routine services, we don’t have to go to the location where we opened our account but finding a convenient location is always good. Be prepared to visit the bank to carry out the following transactions;

• Security update
• Signature update
• Cashing large sums of money
• Adding individuals or opening a new account
• Closing account

Know Your Bank

It is important to know what products are offered by your bank. Don’t rely on cross-selling opportunities by the Teller or Customer Service Representative. You need to determine your most important banking needs when conducting commercial banking. While it is the bank’s responsibility to provide information about other products and services it offers, it is your responsibility to know which ones will provide you value, so you will not pay for products you do not need.

Here are few facilities that are offered by Banks nationwide:

ATM or ABM (Automated Teller/Banking Machine)

Depending on the machine used, there are fees charged to access funds. If you use your own bank’s ATM you might not be charged for using the machine. If you do otherwise, you may be charged a minimum fee per transaction.

Machines with the ‘Plus’, ‘Visa’ and ‘Master card’ signs are generally international brands that facilitate international transactions. This means that you can access funds outside the home country of your bank. One of the most discomforting things about some ATM’s primarily in the United States is that they only pay out a minimum $20 denomination. I would imagine that any bank that pays out lower denominations especially $10 and $5 notes, would grab a greater percentage of the teller machine market.

Money Transfer Facilities

Money transfer facilities are courier services that work in tandem with financial institutions to remit funds on their behalf between remote locations, whether international or intra-country. Customers are charged by their domicile remittance couriers (their own institution) whenever funds are sent. The most recent funds transfer service is sending money through email and Paypal. The banks have even tightened their grips on this SUPER convenient remittance service as unscrupulous individuals seek ways to rob unsuspected consumers.

Night Depository

Another convenient deposit service in commercial banking is Night Depository. This offers depositors the convenience of depositing their money outside of regular banking hours. A depository vault with lock is attached to the wall of the bank where customers have unlimited access 24 hours a day. There is usually a charge to utilize this facility, however, some banks may offer this service free to preferred customers. This product is normally geared to businesses who manage large sums of cash on a daily basis.

Similar to this is the Safety Deposit Box but the minor difference is that it allows you to store personal effect in a vault on the bank’s premises, for your own security. This may also attract a monthly or annual charge. This facility is accessed inside bank.

Assurance and Insurance

Bank assurance or insurance banking is also a profitable business niche for banks and Insurance companies. The banks saw it fit to compete with the Insurance companies when they embarked on this operation some years ago. Now it is one of the biggest markets in the financial sector, as wise investors and consumers save funds for retirement and unforeseen future events.

Foreign Exchange Trading

Foreign exchange trading is extremely volatile which means the stock market can appreciate (go up) or depreciate (go down) by the second as a result of irregular trends in the market. This fluctuation (change in value) is dependent on foreign market investors who depend on foreign exchange in their international business trading.

The Bloomberg Stock Money Market and the Jamaica Stock Exchange draw nationwide and worldwide attention on a daily basis as millions of dollars of foreign exchange passes through this medium. Private bankers most times act as brokers to find the right market for larger or riskier investors. On a smaller scale, commercial banking opportunities provide foreign exchange trading within their branches for their customers’ business and personal needs.

Saturday And Sunday Banking

One super convenience is weekend banking but there is a race between the banks. Some have scaled down operations to facilitate this as this is an expensive operation, while others have flexible opening hours to facilitate later or earlier transactions.

Credit Card And Commercial Paper

Commercial banking offers short-term lending through Credit Cards and Commercial papers. Credit cards allow users to spend now and pay later but be careful how you spend, as this unpaid balance attracts high rates of interest and is charged to your card.

Commercial paper is a promissory note issued to you by the bank in the form of credit. This could be a refinancing opportunity for any debt that you might currently have. However, the rule of thumb is; always remember that a debt is never complete until it is paid off in full and there will always be charges for the use of the facility.

Loan
A loan is also a well-known product on everybody’s lips. One of the ways that commercial banking earn funding is through interest charged on issuing loans. The interest that is calculated from the principal borrowed, is used to finance further lending and growth for the institution.

There are two ways in which interest is calculated; straight line and reducing balance method. Most banks now have amortized their loan facility. This means that payments are fixed each month. The monthly figure is shared by paying the interest on the loan, while the rest reduces the principal borrowed over the life of the loan.

Another form of a loan could be an overdraft facility. This type of credit facility is similar to the credit card as the bank offers an opportunity to exceed your balance in your checking or savings account. Most times this additional credit is secured, which means that the bank hypothecates (hold) funds or assets in similar value against the amount overdrawn.

Fixed and Ordinary Deposit
Fixed or ordinary deposits is another source of income for commercial banking. Fixed deposit means that a certain amount is deposited at an agreed rate, while an ordinary deposit is a regular saving account that you manage on a normal basis. These funds are reinvested by the bank at a higher rate and a portion of the proceeds from the return is paid over to the customer as interest.

Currently, these rates range from as low as 0.5 percent to 1 percent or higher (USA) and.085 to 3.75, percent (JAM) depending on how it is tiered (split). The amount of money you deposit and the length of time it is held by the bank will determine the rate of interest that you will receive from your bank. An ordinary savings account doesn’t receive much interest but it could certainly offset the charges from the tax that is levied (charged) against the account.

Bank On Your Bank

These are few products and services offered through commercial banking. The Bank should be your friend and not your enemy. Know your bank and allow your bank to know you. On the other side of the counter, monies that are deposited in our financial institutions help our country to operate effectively on a macro level or larger scale.

We are the ones who controls or determine the country’s inflation as monies are circulated daily through banking. The central bank also forms the center or nucleus of all the financial operations related commercial banking.

Once we develop a good rapport and relationship with our trusted financial adviser, we can always bank on our banks!