GSBLSU Junior Class President Spotlight

Jamie Johnson is a Vice President and Compliance Officer at Farmers Bank in Virginia. She’s been in the banking industry for over 14 years and is President for the current junior class of the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University. While her day-to-day role at Farmers Bank has her managing the compliance management program for deposit and lending compliance, her self-proclaimed role as an “eternal student,” led her to GSBLSU to further her knowledge and experience in the banking industry.

“As a compliance officer I’m constantly learning or pivoting my focus to the newest regulation or area of concern,” says Jamie. Furthering her education was the most effective option to enhance her knowledge on major banking functions. “I had a desire to better understand the areas of banking that I do not normally encounter.”

Before enrolling at GSBLSU, Jamie completed her state association’s banking school in Virginia, but still felt like she had more to learn. “At graduation I jokingly asked them to add another year to the program so I could return,” she jokes. It was at this point that the Graduate School of Banking at LSU was suggested. She would be the first attendee from her bank and checked with friends and peers from around the state who had already attended GSBLSU. “Once I compared all of my options, GSBLSU was the clear answer for continued learning.”

One of the greatest benefits that Jamie has received during her time at GSBLSU is the connections she’s made. “The caliber of people who attend GSBLSU are some of the best I’ve ever met,” remarks Jamie. Even in spite spending one session in a virtual environment, the relationships she’s made with instructors, staff, and classmates have been her favorite aspect. “We have bonded and created support systems with each other. Whether we are answering questions, sharing best practices, or discussing sports, the comradery between everyone has immeasurable value.”

While there are many courses and concentrations, Leading Through Motivation with Steve Robichaux was one of Jamie’s favorite classes and professors. “Leadership classes are not promoted enough, yet it is a subject where there is always room to grow,” says Jamie. She finds the takeaways from this particular class valuable, not only at her bank, but in life.

Although GSBLSU is a premier educational destination for banking professionals, it also offers many experiences outside of the classroom. “We start our mornings early in the gym, float the lazy river in the afternoon, and spend several nights with class parties and study sessions,” remembers Jamie. “We always go to dinner as a group and make several trips to The Chimes. I even learned how to eat crawfish, and surprisingly, liked them!”

As the Junior Class President, Jamie has some words of wisdom for anyone who is considering furthering their education and career. “Attending GSBLSU is not a decision that I would take lightly. It is a big commitment that involves leaving your family for two weeks, studying for exams, and writing papers in between the in-person sessions, all on top of the responsibilities in your bank. However, if you are willing to put in the effort and do the work, the reward is worth it.”

3 Steps to Help Mitigate Your Bank’s Data Breach Risk

There is a 1 in 960,000 chance of getting struck by lightning, and a 1 in 220 chance of dating a millionaire. The chances of experiencing a data breach? 1 in 4.

Long gone are the days when you did not have to worry about a cyber-attack on your organization. No matter the size of your bank, you are at risk. It’s not a matter of if, but when a breach will occur. Today, more than ever, it is imperative to have the correct processes, technology, training, and people in place to best protect your organization.

The first step to mitigating cyber-attack risk is understanding the types to which you are most susceptible. Threats like hackers, ransomware, phishing, corporate account takeover, and ATM compromise are just a few of the myriad of breaches an organization could experience. Identify which of these pose the greatest threat to your institution and customers. Then, put into place the following practices to ensure you are ready and equipped for a data breach when it occurs.

1. Train Bank Employees to Identify Potential Data Breaches

The only way employees will know about risk is if they are trained and tested to identify it. It isn’t enough to simply talk about risk. Risk awareness needs to be an ingrained part of the corporate culture, from the top down. Employees must be encouraged, empowered, and equipped to do their due diligence in seeking out potential threats, and they must understand the critical role they play in preventing potentially catastrophic data breaches.

It is also important to keep your customers in the loop. Keeping them abreast of your bank’s risk awareness procedures and policies will ultimately create a deeper sense of trust and transparency between bank and customer. They want to know their data is safe and what you plan to do to keep it that way.

2. Establish clear processes

A formalized and clear plan must be created for what the guidelines are in different risk situations. Every step, from the moment a breach has occurred, should be established and clearly communicated.

Governance Frameworks like NIST, ITIL, and COBIT need to be established from the beginning.

3. Use the correct technology

Having powerful technology to protect the data of both your bank and customers is important, but something that is even more crucial is making sure that employees are trained in how to use it correctly and to its full potential.

If your bank’s employees, processes, and technology are not working together, there will be a greater chance of a data breach. While risk may not be imminent, establishing a risk awareness framework for your organization needs to be done immediately to protect your bank’s data as well as that of your customers.

This is just a snippet of the teaching of Chad Tagtow, CISSP in his GSBLSU class, Risk Management & CyberSecurity.

Differences Between Leadership and Management [INFOGRAPHIC]

We’ve likely all had managers, and if we’re lucky, we’ve also had leaders. While the terms are often used interchangeably, the differences between these two individuals and their styles are vast. Under management, employees experience control, order, and generally less autonomy. There is less of a collaborative partnership between managers and those they oversee. Instead, it more closely resembles a traditional boss/worker relationship. Under leadership, employees work with their superiors, more so than under them. This is a relationship that thrives on encouragement, acknowledgement, and empowerment of team members.

While leadership may sound like the ideal option (and for many it is), the truth is that both styles have their place within any organization. Every person is unique, and while one may thrive under the autonomy of leadership, another may work best with the dedicated guidance of a manager. The key is to have the right personalities in the right roles. So, take note of those within your organization, how they prefer to work, and under which circumstances they perform best. Then, structure your teams accordingly.

This is just a snippet of the teaching of Steve Robichaux, MBA in his GSBLSU class, Leading Through Motivation.

8 Examples of Peer Analysis Measures [INFOGRAPHIC]

Peer analysis can be a valuable tool to provide benchmarks and performance insight for your bank. However, in order to make the most of this analysis, banks must first identify the right measures to use. In what areas should comparisons be drawn? Are all of the appropriate metrics being used? These are just some of the questions that bankers must ask themselves before being able to complete an efficient peer analysis review.

In his class, “Managing Bank Performance,” Paul Allen leads junior Graduate School of Banking students through the ins and outs of managing and measuring bank performance through ratio and peer analysis measures. Throughout the course, students study everything from bank balance sheets and income statements to commonly used ratios to case studies. Allen provides insight into the concepts, analysis tools, and strategies that will allow GSBLSU students to better understand and manage performance within their own institutions while also preparing them for the Bank Simulation Management course they will undertake as seniors.

The infographic below outlines eight examples of typical and useful peer analysis measures as outlined in the “Managing Bank Performance” class. If you are looking for insight into your own bank’s performance metrics, these areas are a great place to start. Likewise, a Graduate School of Banking education also brings great benefits to bankers and banks alike. Learn more about our upcoming session and how you can enroll at GSBLSU.

examples of peer analysis measures

Faculty Tribute to Dr. Don Woodland

5 Leadership Qualities to Develop for the Future [INFOGRAPHIC]

Regardless of title or position, leadership qualities are something everyone should strive to attain.  From running an entire organization to managing a team to being a parent, possessing the skills to inspire and guide others can set you up for success and simplify many aspects of life.  At GSBLSU, leadership qualities and techniques are an important area of focus for our future graduates, because we understand just how applicable these skills are in banking and beyond.  Below, we expand on just five aspects of leadership that we encourage students to develop for a successful future.

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GSBLSU Class of 2023