Don Woodland

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6 Steps to Take When Transaction Risk is Too High [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Don Woodland on Jul 31, 2018 4:27:00 PM

Any banker, regardless of their position within the institution, can tell you that the industry is fraught with challenges and potential risks.  At GSBLSU, a core area of focus is preparing every student to understand these risks and how they impact not only their own position, but their bank as a whole.  Furthermore, students should understand the most appropriate steps to take when encountered with such situations.  This is precisely the goal of our “Credit Risk Management” class, instructed by Professor Gary Higgins.  Professor Higgins covers many topics throughout the course, including emerging trends, core functions of a risk rating system, and precise steps that can be taken when transaction risk is just too high.

Transaction Risk Too High

9 reasons to attend GSBLSU

6 Factors to Motivate Employees (Besides Money) [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Don Woodland on Jun 22, 2018 2:05:56 PM

If you think money is the best way to motivate your employees, you may be wrong!  According to GSBLSU professor, Steve Robichaux, money only comes into play as a motivator when there isn’t enough of it.  When you do have "enough" money, more may be nice, but it won’t necessarily serve as motivation.  Here are six other rewards to consider that are proven to truly motivate, not just satisfy:


9 reasons to attend GSBLSU

5 Reasons Bankers Should Attend GSBLSU [INFOGRAPHIC] 

Posted by Don Woodland on Apr 5, 2018 11:02:24 AM

If you are looking for a way to advance your career within your current financial institution, there are several reasons that attending the Graduate School of Banking at LSU should be at the top of your list.  From a proven track for professional development to invaluable networking opportunities, there are plenty of benefits associated with the program.  Below are just five of the top advantages awaiting future students, but there are still many more (crawfish boil, anyone?)!  Take a look, and when you’re done, click the button below to complete your application for the upcoming 2018 session and join us from May 20th to June 1st

GSBLSU infographic

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Current Banking Issues: Recognizing the Red Flags of Elder Financial Exploitation

Posted by Don Woodland on Oct 18, 2017 6:40:33 PM

Portrait of a very happy senior woman - indoors.jpegElder financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of an elderly person’s funds for someone else’s profit.  This type of financial fraud, while morally reprehensible, is unfortunately becoming a bigger problem for banks and their older clientele.  There are currently over 5 million cases of elder financial exploitation each year.  75% of these crimes are committed by family members.  The second most notorious group is caregivers; making seniors and the disabled prime targets for financial abuse.

During the 2017 session of the Graduate School of Banking at LSU, Pete Stuart, the Senior Vice President and Director of Security at State Bank and Trust, Atlanta, GA explained some of the common red flags that typically indicate elder financial exploitation.

Understanding how these customers like to do business, and knowing them on a personal level inside of your branch or office can make it easier to recognize and mitigate these risks.  Most seniors prefer to conduct business in person.  If you notice a long absence from a particular customer, or that their affairs are being handled remotely or by someone else, this could be a warning sign that something isn’t right.  Here are 10 indicators of elder financial exploitation.

  • Frequent, large withdrawals and/or daily maximum ATM withdrawals.
  • Sudden NSF activity.
  • Banking practices that are uncharacteristic for a particular client.
  • Large credit card cash advances or check withdrawals.
  • Being escorted by a 2nd party (family member, neighbor, caregiver, etc.)
  • Unauthorized withdrawals, or withdrawals that incur a penalty (i.e. early CD closure)
  • New names on signature cards.
  • Forged signatures.
  • A client that is unaware or does not seem to understand a financial agreement or transaction.
  • Recent acquaintances that have an interest in an elder client’s finances.

While these are only a handful of red flags that can indicate the misuse and abuse of an elder person’s finances, being mindful of them, as well as recognizing what is out of the ordinary for a client can save a lot of time, money, and heartache. 

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Current Banking Issues: Synthetic Identity Fraud & How it Happens

Posted by Don Woodland on Oct 9, 2017 7:18:00 PM

synthetic identity fraud.jpegMany things have changed rapidly with the growth of technology.  Many of these changes have been positive, making life more convenient and connecting people more than ever before.  Unfortunately, these same developments have also increased the number and types of threats that can put our personal and sensitive information in jeopardy.  The financial world is no stranger to these threats, but due to technology’s fast nature, new threats evolve just as current ones are mitigated.  The latest is synthetic identity fraud

While identity fraud has been public knowledge for several years now, and there are safeguards and measures to prevent and resolve it, synthetic identity fraud puts a new twist on an old crime.  Traditional identity theft is when a legitimate identity is stolen; synthetic identity theft is when an illegitimate identity is created and used. 

How do you create an identity that can be used?  Synthetic identities use a combination of real and fake information, and leverage CPNs, or credit privacy (or profile) numbers.  Many times these numbers are created with stolen information from: the elderly, the homeless, the incarcerated, and from children.  However most of these numbers are generated from data breaches.  The data breaches at Anthem, the IRS, and USOPM combined for over 106 million compromised records.

Synthetic identity fraud, also known as “ghosting”, poses several challenges for banks and law enforcement alike.  Who is the real victim?  It’s technically a fake ID.  The real victims in many cases are children that have their information used as part of a synthetic identity, resulting in compromised credit.  Financial institutions also fall victim in this scenario as there is no recourse against an illegitimate person.

How can synthetic identity fraud be stopped?  Awareness is first and foremost.  As this is becoming a more pressing risk, bank employees as well as law enforcement can be trained to understand and recognize synthetic identity fraud.  More major businesses are taking advanced steps to safeguard their data after recent breaches, many of the resources used should be harder to acquire.  Also, putting a freeze on children’s credit files until they turn 18 is a smart way to protect minors.

As technology continues to change, the number of threats on information, and to financial institutions will continue to grow.  Being aware and diligent when it comes to these new dangers can protect both your clients and your bank. 

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Interpreting Economic Change: A GSBLSU Favorite Class

Posted by Don Woodland on Sep 1, 2017 3:01:00 PM

Interpreting Economic Change.jpeg

There are those who are good in their careers, and there are those who are great. At the Graduate
School of Banking at LSU, we strive to impart greatness to each and every student over their three-year
course of study. We give them the tools they need, the ability to practice application of these tools, and
a foundation of knowledge to help them grow into the very best within their field. This is precisely why
we bring together the brightest and most accomplished industry experts to lead courses such as
Interpreting Economic Change.

About our Interpreting Economic Change Class

Predicting trends is important no matter the industry, but it is especially critical for bankers. The ability
to foresee economic change based on past trends and data is hugely important to protecting the
interests of both financial institutions and their consumers. In Interpreting Economic Change, students
learn about the most reliable predictive factors of major economic change such as an impending
recession. They objectively observe what the current state of the economy is and where it may be
headed based on factors such as:

 Leading Economic Indicators (LEI)
 Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)
 Consumer confidence
 Housing market
 Factory Utlization
 Unemployment
 Oil Prices

About Dr. David Kohl and Dr. Thomas Payne

When it comes to guiding students in the art of interpreting economic change, there are few as well-
equipped as Dr. Kohl and Dr. Payne. With extensive educational and professional backgrounds, both
professors bring years of first-hand experience and observation to the table.

Dr. David Kohl instructed over 10,000 students in his tenure with Virginia Tech. From 1978 to 2003, he
taught courses on small business management and entrepreneurship. Even today, he leads an average
of 140 talks a year on such topics. He has over 1,500 articles published in academic journals and has
been honored with numerous awards.

Dr. Thomas Paynecurrently serves as the Dean of the College of Business at Tennessee Tech University.
Previously, he as the University of Tennessee at Martin Dunagan Chair of Excellence in Banking, as well
as the chair of UTM department of Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Political Science. He has
contributed to the development of multiple nationally ranked academic and professional programs and
has previously instructed abroad at the University of Orleans in France.

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GSBLSU Case Work: Addressing the Managerial Challenges of Banks

Posted by Don Woodland on Feb 14, 2017 12:25:39 PM

managerial_challenges.jpegAlmost any experienced bank oficer when asked the question “What keeps you awake at night?” will list people problems near the top of the column.  This category of Managerial Challenges involves hiring, firing and motivating individuals to devote their best efforts to executing their responsibilities. 

At the 2017 Session members of the first year class will participate in a case discussing these Managerial Challenges lead by Jeff Turner, SVP and Director of the People Department, First Florida Integrity Bank, Naples.  In addition to his extensive banking environment Jeff has worked for PepsiCo., Frito-Lay, All State Insurance and IBM.  He brings to the casework a wide range of experience dealing with people in different professional environments.

Case groups typically have twenty or fewer participants and the groups are structured so that banks of different sizes located in different states are represented. Small groups provide the students the opportunity to discuss personnel problems they may be experiencing at their banks and to get feedback from knowledgeable faculty and fellow students.

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2017 Banking Outlook Conference

Posted by Don Woodland on Jan 3, 2017 4:18:34 PM

The Graduate School of Banking at LSU, for the fourth consecutive year, is participating in the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s annual Banking Outlook Conference, titled “Looking Back and Shifting Forward” to be held at the bank’s home office in Atlanta on February 23rd at 8:15 – 5:00 pm.  The program features senior FRB Atlanta officers, prominent economists from the industry, and consultants from major firms.

The school is offering a Regional Perspective on the Banking Industry by Dr. David Kohl and Dr. Tom Payne.  They will make a team presentation similar to their senior course, Interpreting Economic Change, which is a top-rated course taught in the senior year.

The link for free registration is below along with a hotel contact.  We hope to see you in Atlanta.

Banking outlook conference.jpg

Please join us on Thursday, February 23, 2017 for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Banking Outlook Conference as top industry experts share their views of the challenges, opportunities, and risks facing financial institutions in the year ahead. 

We are pleased to announce that Ed O’Boyle, Global Practice Leader, Gallup Inc., will be our keynote speaker.  He will speak about engaging customers and employees.  Additionally, as our President, Dennis Lockhart, prepares to retire, he will reflect on his career in the banking industry.  Highlights of other topics to be discussed include:

  • An Economic Update with Carl Tannenbaum, Executive Vice President and Chief Economist, Northern Trust
  • Policy Updates in a New Political Environment with Wayne Abernathy, Executive Vice President, Financial Institutions Policy and Regulatory Affairs, American Bankers Association
  • The Banking Outlook: A Regional Perspective: Industry panel of Dr. Dave Kohn and Dr. Tom Payne presented by the Graduate School of Banking at LSU 


The conference is free, although space is limited.  Please register at this link:

Note:  some fields in the registration form, such as Title and Organization do not accept special characters like “&”.

See the agenda and other information at our official conference website:

Book a discounted room by Jan 22nd at the Midtown Hyatt hotel here.

Should circumstances require you to cancel your registration, please kindly inform our staff at, so that a reservation slot may be utilized by the next person on the wait list.

9 Important Reasons To  Attend GSBLSU

Looking Ahead to 2017 in Banking

Posted by Don Woodland on Dec 29, 2016 11:53:41 AM

2017 in banking.jpegAs we begin a new year our thoughts often turn to the future. What will the next twelve months bring in the way of problems and opportunities?  For bankers, consideration of what the economy and the banking environment will be like in the New Year will be a top priority.  Will 2017 be a year of growth and prosperity?  What changes will monetary and fiscal police initiate?  Will the bank’s profit margin improve from the dismal levels of recent years?  Are more restrictive regulations on the horizon?

And, as the New Year begins, senior management must consider changes in personnel which will take place in the year because of retirements and resignations.

The past several years have been times of relative slow growth in the industry which has required prudent bank management to monitor carefully employment and other costs.  One result of this policy is that some banks find their staff so thin that it is difficult to identify potential leaders in the ranks.  Officer development has been neglected in the interest of attaining a reasonable return for shareholders.  But, while this sacrifice may be justified in the short run the long run cost is substantial.  To an increasing extent, senior bank management is recognizing this situation and is turning to banking schools, where many of them received their professional education, to develop replacement personnel for leadership positions.

For almost 70 years the Graduate school of Banking at LSU has provided advanced professional education to senior bank management.  The result of this effort is reflected in the thousands of graduates who occupy top positions in their banks.  Almost 16,000 graduates will attest to the quality of education received at the school.

The New Year is a good time to consider the bank’s future leadership and to install policies to assure that those in charge of the bank have the professional skills to manage future challenges and take advantage of developing opportunities. The 2017 session of the school will feature increased emphasis on the development of leaders. The session which will be held on the LSU campus May 21-June 2 will offer a new course in leadership, cases which emphasize the subject, as well as a new course in business ethics, a topic that is essential to the development of leaders.

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Ethics in Banking

Posted by Don Woodland on Dec 12, 2016 10:24:19 AM

Ethics in banking.jpegThe business of banking is one based on trust.  Clients deposit their funds, perhaps their life savings, their retirement funds, and other financial resources in their banks with the expectation that their money will be held securely, invested wisely, and returned when requested.  The industry has a reputation of ethical behavior which is essential to its historical success.  When this reputation is tarnished by the actions of a few institutions the entire industry is affected in a negative way and reacts with enhanced vigilance to assure that long-standing ethical standards are enforced.

The recent well-publicized actions by a very few employees of Wells Fargo Bank drew bankers' attention to the fact that failure to closely monitor employee relations with customers can lead to unethical and even illegal behavior.

At the 2017 session of the Graduate School of Banking at LSU, a new course will be required of second year students dealing with the topic of ethics.  This difficult and important topic will be addressed by a retired LSU management professor who has extensive experience teaching in the area.   We expect the course to be a great success.

Graduate School of Banking vs MBA