2015 GSBLSU Keynote- Jeff Lacker

Posted by Don Woodland on Sep 23, 2015 10:26:15 AM

On May 26, 2015, students and facility of the Graduate School of Banking at LSU gathered in the Union Theatre to hear Jeff Lacker, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, present an informative history on the “Quest for Financial Stability” in the U.S., and the changes that need to happen for a better financial system.

jeff_lacker_photo Dr. Jeff Lacker, who presently serves as a voting member of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee, recently stated in a press release that he feels that interest rates should rise before the end of 2015.  The press release on the July meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, published on September 17, 2015, indicates strengthening in the economy but a standstill in increase of the interest rate. Lacker was the sole vote to raise the target range in the July meeting.

 In his address to the 2015 GSBLSU students, Lacker discussed his personal views to restore market discipline by solving the problem of firms perceived as “too big to fail.” He explained the ironic origins of these firms with an analysis of the banking system in the 20th century. He argued that the moral hazard resulting from the establishment of the federal financial safety net attributed to an unstable financial system. His solutions to this problem are implementing long-term strategies to restore market discipline, such as resolution planning for large institutions known as living wills, and limiting the power of government agencies to intervene in turbulent economic times. 

 (The full speech can be viewed by clicking the link here.)

 In closing, Lacker emphasized that this strategy could bring the country a financial system independent of government support and financial institutions that can effectively support our “dynamic and innovative economy”. “This is going to be hard work, and some will claim it’s impossible,” he concluded. “But the alternative seems even less promising … that path is unlikely to serve our country well. So I believe we need to step up and face the challenge of creating a stable and resilient financial system.”

9 Important  Reasons To  Attend GSBLSU

Tags: GSBLSU 2015, Jeff Lacker Keynote

The Origin and Early History of the Graduate School of Banking at LSU

Posted by Don Woodland on Aug 20, 2015 2:45:05 PM

In the late 1940s, a Mississippi banker named Orrin Swayze set out to find a place to develop a school for bankers.  He visited with administrators of numerous schools and universities in the state of Mississippi and other states.  Despite his admirable intentions of providing valuable and concentrated banking knowledge to southern bankers, he couldn’t win approval to host the Graduate School of Banking sessions at any Mississippi institution.

Founder_Orrin_Swayze_right_from_Jackson_MS_with_President_William_Walker_Dothan_ALIn 1950, there were 19,278 commercial bank offices in the U.S., most of which were small institutions and many were family owned and controlled.  Often times, new family members entering the business lacked the formal financial education needed to manage a financial institution, and because of time constraints, enrollment in a university was not an option.  What was needed was a professional school which would provide the broad education necessary to manage a financial institution and which would allow the banker to retain full-time employment in the bank.  The Graduate School of Banking provided this education.

To gain acceptance of the proposed school on a university campus, the founders of the school had to convince school administration that the school would be a serious educational endeavor and would bear no resemblance to a bankers’ convention, which in the early post WWII period featured many purely social functions.  Orrin Swayze was emphatic that the banking school would not resemble a convention, and with this assurance, the administration of LSU agreed to allow the school on campus with the provision that the university had no financial involvement in its operation.

The Early Years at GSBLSU

So, the Graduate School of Banking at LSU was established, originally called School of Banking of the South.  Along with a solid group of founding bankers and executives from the original nine sponsoring state banker associations, Swayze welcomed the inaugural class of 99 bankers in August 1950.  The occasional banker planning for a “convention” received quite the shock when mandatory attendance, intensive assignments, exams, and even disciplinary measures were handed down. 

It didn’t take long for the banking industry to acknowledge that there was, in fact, a delineated difference between what was offered at conventions and at GSBSLU.  The state banking association sponsorship rose from nine to fifteen.

Student enrollment from these 15 core states has been constant throughout GSBLSU history, with 2 exceptions. The enrollment was cut in half in only the second year due to the Korean War.  The school narrowly made it through that period.  Following both the Korean War and WWI, young men returned to their homes to fill positions with family banks and the educational need was again paramount.

GSBLSU, Integrity and Quality in Banking Education

Every banker at GSBLSU has their own personal reasons for enrolling, but for many, their attendance is largely motivated by the desire to improve professionally and to gain a “generalists” banking perspective (as opposed to most students’ current comprehension as “specialists”). GSBLSU is widely regarded for producing valuable future banking executives with the 3 year commitment.

Don Woodland simply states that, “The one tradition that has maintained [at GSBLSU] is discipline.”  Alumni and current students can attest to this standard. It comes as no surprise that diplomas from GSBLSU are prominently placed in the offices of our graduates across the US and now, Mexico.  If you have an interest in becoming part of the banking elite, our applications can be located here for online submission or printing.

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Tags: GSBLSU history

GSBLSU Favorite Class: Negotiate to Win for Bankers

Posted by Don Woodland on Jul 31, 2015 2:51:36 PM

About the Professor: Jim Thomas

jim_thomasJim Thomas is a Washington, D.C. attorney, speaker, trainer, and author.  Throughout his 35 years of practicing law, Jim has specialized in negotiation, garnering himself a reputation as one of the nation’s best.  His experience includes mergers and acquisitions, arms control, labor relations, domestic and international business transactions, trade and diplomacy, and more.  His impressive client list includes the majority of the Fortune 500.

The name of the course and the content is directly from Jim’s book and Workshop series by the same name: Negotiate to Win.  First published in 2005, the book is a HarperCollins international bestseller, available in 18 languages around the globe.  He can often be found as a guest commentator on a number of radio and network news programs and is often invited to speak at events worldwide.  He is a partner in a Washington, D.C. law firm, a principal in a California venture capital firm, and a member of the faculty at The Georgetown University Law Center, the University of Washington’s Pacific Coast Banking School, and GSBLSU.

About the Course

Jim’s no-nonsense, highly interactive approach in his instruction is welcome by students.  The classroom is near capacity for each session of this elective course as he applies the principles of negotiation to a variety of scenarios designed to keep students interested and on their toes.  Realistic exercises allow students to work together through the negotiation process, applying the rules they have learned along the way.

Negotiation is not just an art, it is a make-or-break career competency that every banker needs in order to remain competitive.  From bargaining rates with customers to sorting out compliance issues with regulators, the ability to negotiate properly affects nearly aspect of the industry.  As Jim guides students through the process of successful negotiation in this series, he elaborates on each of the seven critical rules of negotiation:

  1. No free gifts!
  2. Start high
  3. Follow a dramatic initial concession with sharply diminishing concessions
  4. “Krunch” early and often
  5. Never settle issues individually
  6. Conclude with a  nibble
  7. Keep looking for creative (high value – low cost) concessions to trade

As Jim points out, Americans are historically poor negotiators and we have gotten away with it until now.  The globalization of the economy, tightening of economies, shrinking of margins, and growing scarcity of resources worldwide has made an inability to successfully negotiate unacceptable in today’s marketplace.

A Little Bit of Lagniappe

Negotiate to Win is an engaging class, and Jim’s expertise and experience mean that students will get a lot of additional knowledge and interesting facts throughout the series.  Here are just a few tidbits you may pick up:

  • There are actually 21 total rules of negotiation.  The first seven are “critical,” but the others are also important to becoming a successful negotiator.
  • Jim provides a comprehensive list of “krunches” ranging from the tried and true to the humorous.  It’s all about knowing in what situation and with whom you can use each one.
  • Jim was a member of the U.S. team during the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) negotiations with the former Soviet Union.  Under this treaty, nearly half of the world’s nuclear weapons were destroyed.

If we’re being completely honest with ourselves, we could all use some lessons in negotiation, regardless of profession.  However, it is essentially important for bankers.  To get full explanations, real life examples, and experience using the seven critical rules of negotiation and more, you’ll have to enroll at GSBLSU and choose this enlightening elective.

9 Important  Reasons To  Attend GSBLSU

Tags: GSBLSU Favorite Class, GBSLSU Favorite Class: Negotiate to Win, Banking Negotiating Education

GSBLSU Favorite Class: Bank Regulatory Law

Posted by Don Woodland on Jul 21, 2015 3:13:23 PM

The turbulent world of finance and economics coupled with the expansion of regulation and governmental oversight has changed the landscape of banking.  The laws that create requirements, restrictions, and guidelines for which U.S. banks must abide are, at the very least, complex.  One course offering at Graduate School of Banking at LSU, Bank Regulatory Law, taught by Carl J. Chaney can assist bankers in navigating the challenges and encumbrances of banking regulatory law. 

CarlChaneyAbout the Professor: Carl J. Chaney, President & CEO, Hancock Bank / Whitney Bank

After completing his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Mississippi, Chaney graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1986.  In 1998, he became the Chief Financial Officer at Hancock Bank and stayed in that role until 2006 when he became the President and CEO of Hancock & Whitney Banks.

About the Course: Bank Regulatory Law

As a second year class, the Bank Regulatory Law course is a required component of the curriculum.  The state of current and active legislation and economic conditions make the details of the class an understandably important topic.  This course is intended to assist bankers in the challenging and rapidly evolving environment of regulatory law.  Topics include regulatory enforcement actions, mergers and acquisitions (including FDIC assisted deals), bank secrecy act, C.R.A., fair lending, bankruptcy, lender liability, and survival tactics for the new financial services industry.  Attention is also given to current and proposed legislation as well as discussing the future of the financial services industry.

Three Takeaways

regulation_compliance1.) Real Life Applications: This course goes beyond simply listing the textbook jargon and examples of bank regulation.  The class is engaged and encouraged to think outside of conventional thought processes. The implications of how current laws can affect lending practices and how potential legislation and trends can impact business are only two of many issues covered in this course.  By using actual scenarios and leveraging experience, students learn how to make these laws malleable and to develop a proactive approach to banking.

2.) Business Strategy: Looking at real-world data alongside the economic impacts allows banks of various sizes the insight into laws applicable to specific situations and how to operate within the parameters.  In Recent Developments in Mergers & Acquisitions, the different regulations that pertain to “leveraged deals” are broken into two deposit sizes, <$500mm and >$500mm.  Maintaining balances as you approach this threshold can make a big difference in terms of what the laws allow.  Other strategic positioning applications which enable an organization either to acquire or be acquired are explored.  

3.) Expectations: Similar to the real life applications, Professor Chaney demonstrates numerous variations of possible outcomes in given scenarios . In one exercise the class was told to act as if everyone was on the board of a bank.  Next came the question, “Why would we sell?”  As different answers came from the students, a variety of different objections, plausible reasoning, catalysts, and examples changed the narrative.  Whether a potential sale or merger was being discussed, or lessons were taught on why regulatory laws could, or couldn’t, make an initiative possible, the very reality of how banking regulatory laws will influence the futures of the students at GSBLSU was abundantly earnest and significant.

While this course overview and the few takeaways presented here only scratch the surface of the knowledge handed down from Professor Chaney to the GSBLSU students, Bank Regulatory Law and its far reaching implications in the industry will not soon dissipate.  Regulatory law will only grow in scope and complexity in the coming years, so our students gain an edge in learning the base and building as new developments come at them.

Assisting Mr. Chaney in the course are three outstanding banking professionals.  John Heasley is EVP and General Counsel of the Texas Bankers Association, Jim Mabry is Managing Director, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Richmond, VA, and Robert Reynolds, Attorney-at-Law, Reynolds, Reynolds & Little, Tuscaloosa, AL.

With this course being taught by a banking professional who personally oversaw one of the largest mergers (Hancock & Whitney) in the southeast US region, students have the opportunity to learn so much more than simply the course outline.    For junior bankers looking to secure their futures in their banking careers and home banks, this type of knowledge cannot be obtained in such concentrated fashion anywhere but GSBLSU. To learn more about GSBLSU, click below.

9 Important  Reasons To  Attend GSBLSU

Tags: GSBLSU Favorite Class, bank regulatory law, classes on banking regulatory law

GSBLSU Favorite Class: Mergers and Acquisitions w/ Chris Hargrove

Posted by Don Woodland on Jul 10, 2015 12:03:57 PM

mergerAbout the Instructor:

Christopher Hargrove has been a faculty member at Louisiana State University’s Graduate School of Banking for over twenty years. He has an M.A. and a B.B.A. in Finance.


He is also the Chairman and CEO of Professional Bank Services, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. As an expert in the fields of Investment Banking and Litigation, Chris’ main responsibilities revolve around handling Mergers and Acquisitions as well as financial planning for his clients. He has represented over 400 institutions as an investment banker, and is a registered principle with the NASD.

About the course:

In his class at the Graduate School of Banking at LSU, Chris Hargrove gives an overview of what happens when one bank acquires another bank. Mergers and Acquisitions takes a look at the financial, regulatory and social aspects of mergers, the implementation of the process, and the personnel aspects of a merger, especially within a Community Bank. Hargrove uses real life anecdotes and examples as a backdrop to walking through a merger.

Some of the financial aspects answer the questions, when should community banks acquire new branches? Is it worth it? How do you generate a balance sheet, an income statement, and how do you determine if a branch is worth bidding. When it is, this course walks you through a cash acquisition analysis. The implementation takes the process from the pricing phase to the determination of terms and conditions, and how to minimize overhead throughout the process

Acquiring a new branch can be a great move, but can also be incredibly complicated. The financial elements of a merger are not the only factors involved. Hargrove also talks about some of the social aspects of a merger. Namely, critical personnel issues such as job reassignments, terminations and consolidations of positions, and the changes in “corporate cultures” are addressed in practical terms.

The course also focuses on the challenges of remaining independent.

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Checkout the video below for a few of the highlights of the course:

GSBLSU Favorite Class: Mega Trends of Agriculture, Rural, & Small Business Lending

Posted by Don Woodland on Jun 12, 2015 1:05:03 PM

About the Professor: Dr David Kohl

Dr_David_Kohl_GSBLSUThis elective course is taught by Dr David Kohl, Professor Emeritus Agriculture & Applied Economics at Virginia Tech in Blackburn, VA, has been teaching at GSBLSU for 25 years.  Dr Kohl spends significant amounts of time consulting across the US and Canada.

Dr Kohl ties in many of his agricultural and rural facts in his class to real-world applications from a business he founded 15 years ago with his two farmer business partners, Homestead Creamery- a company that sells milk in charming old fashioned glass bottles, provides home delivery to the Roanoke, VA area, and stocks the shelves of Kroger, Whole Foods, Earth Fare, and multiple others along the east coast.

About the Course

The 2015 class, attended by juniors and seniors, was nearly at capacity, but Dr Kohl explained just how much the demand for the course has varied over his tenure with GSBLSU.  The course was completely removed from the school’s offerings in the 1980’s due to low demand.  However, Dr Don Woodland approached Dr Kohl about re-working the course and bringing it back to students.  With renewed interest and surging enrollment in the class, a clear shift in the nature of rural and agricultural small business lending has become apparent and significant.

The content of the course focuses on the megatrends, both domestic and international, that influence rural and agricultural industry along with the implications for banks on the credit risk, lending, and growth opportunities with businesses in the agricultural/rural sectors.  Several of the topics covered in the class include:

  • Reasons To Be Optimistic About Agriculture
  • Trends To Expect: Populations and Consumerism
  • Macro Factors Impacting Agriculture
  • Industry Structure
  • Real Estate Valuation
  • Intergenerational Business Transfer
  • Significant Global Forecasts
  • Industry Specific Case Studies

The junior bankers attending the session with Dr Kohl were engaged and actively inquisitive on his material.  The valuable information will be implemented back at home banks with better understanding of management best practices, of underwriting, and of credit scoring.  With such rapid advancements in the agricultural world and the constantly undulating spectrum of global and domestic trends, the GSBLSU banking students  rightly foresee a need to educate and plan for the changes ahead in the rural and agricultural small business lending arena.

A Little Bit Of Lagniappe

Dr Kohl not only delivered on the course information, he also throws in several fun and interesting facts during his fast-talking sessions. A few of the gems he left students with were:

  • Dr Woodland has been the director of GSBLSU since 1967.
  • He encourages number-crunchers and bankers to think comprehensively and holistically in their lending situations, stating, “A lot of problems lie outside of the numbers.” Using his experience with Homestead Creamery and the listeria contamination at a similar dairy processing facility to show just how unpredictable business can truly be in the real world.
  • The 3,500 Hour Rule: Many bankers find themselves stretched too thin due to overcommitting at work and in the community, often dedicating 3,000 hours at work and an additional 500 hours in civic and volunteerism activities. This is a sure-fire path to burn out. He cautions his class to not exceed 2,500 hours annually or risk running out of momentum.
  • Dr Kohl is a runner and likes to get his runs in around the LSU lakes each morning. It would be a great time for a one-on-one conversation with a fellow runner in the banking world!

These are only a few tidbits of additional, bonus info (lagniappe, as we say in Louisiana) that can be garnered from the session with Dr Kohl.  In order to get more of these, you’ll have to enroll at GSBLSU and sign up for this fun and informative class.

Apply to GSBLSU

Tags: 2015 GSBLSU session, GSBLSU Favorite Class

New & Revised Courses at GSBLSU in 2015

Posted by Don Woodland on Mar 13, 2015 10:23:19 AM

newGSBLSUcoursesIn the commercial banking industry, changes have been coming more and more quickly. At GSBLSU, we have researched and conferred with others in the banking education arena to determine the best subject matter to present to students in the 2015 session of GSBLSU.  After careful consideration, GSB has decided to implement a few changes and additions to the courses offered for all classes of students.

At the end of each session, students complete course evaluations. Where better to gain an understanding of the information that is most useful to students as they return to their home banks?  This data is extensively combed through and reviewed in our development of course offerings and faculty.

Freshman Course Changes

  • Asset Liability Management: A complete revision of the materials presented; taught by Dr Stephen Lacewell
  • Credit Risk Management: Will now be taught by Mr Gary Higgins.

Junior Course Changes

  • Managing Bank Performance: An overhaul of the course by long-time instructor and BankSim coordinator, Dr Ernie Swift, better aligns students with the needs of the BankSim senior course.
  • Strategic Planning: A completely new course for the second week at GSB will be taught by Mr Ken W Johnson and Michael Woody.
  • Hot Topics in IT: Completely new course instructed by Ms Lisa Traina.

Senior Year Changes

  • Special Banking Issues: A final week course covering regulatory, managerial, and economic impacts on bank management; taught by Mr Ken W Proctor.

Mexican Student Course Changes:

  • A course, entirely taught in Spanish by Jesus Garza, will focus on the US banking environment from a Mexican banking standpoint.

Application Deadlines Are Nearing

GSBLSU is looking forward to another stellar year of educating the future leaders of banks across the US and Mexico.  If there are individuals in your institutions who are primed for upward movement in the bank and are promising candidates for the prestigious honor of attending and graduating from the Graduate School of Banking at LSU, urge them to apply online for a spot in the classes of 2015. 

The deadline for application is April 16, 2015.  The full Course Catalog can be viewed here. The online application can be accessed in the link below as well as the printable version of the GSBLSU application.

Apply to GSBLSU

Tags: GSBLSU curricula 2015, graduate banking school, GSBLSU 2015

GSBLSU is on Twitter!

Posted by Don Woodland on Feb 12, 2015 2:24:10 PM

GSBLSU-twitterThe Graduate School of Banking at LSU is now on Twitter! You can find us @gsblsu_banking

If you haven’t caught up with us on Linkedin yet, you can connect our page here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/graduate-school-of-banking-at-lsu

 A few other Twitter pages that you might be interested in are:

The Federal Reserve: @federalreserve

FRB Atlanta: @AtlantaFed

FRB Chicago: @ChicagoFed 

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2015 Banking Outlook Conference

Posted by Don Woodland on Feb 5, 2015 10:10:04 AM

The Graduate School of Banking at LSU will participate in the Atlanta Fed’s 2015 Banking Outlook Conference on Thursday, February 26.  The theme for this year’s conference is Preparing For Take-Off.  The sponsors for this event are Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Supervision & Regulation division and
Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University.

atl_banking_conference_2015Following several stagnant years, the banking industry has started to see growth trends emerging again.  The banking sector will face challenges with this return to growth, both old and new.  The conference will feature many expert opinions on the projected growth and implications of the risks.   The conference will take deeper dives into several important areas, including:

  • Economic conditions and policy environment
  • Designing risk frameworks
  • Peaks and valleys in the residential real estate sector
  • New trends in banking technology
  • Merger and acquisition environment
  • Banking Outlook: A Regional Perspective, presented  by GSBLSU
  • Keynote Address by Dennis Lockhart, President FRB of Atlanta

The conference is available to attend by invitation only and attendance carries CPE credit.  Should you need to contact those in charge of the conference, the email address is BankingOutlookConference@atl.frb.org  and live updates will be pushed out regularly on Twitter.  Use the hashtag #BankingOutlook15 or follow the conference on the FRB Atlanta’s Twitter feed.  The conference will also be available for live viewing on Ustream on 2/26.

 The conference agenda can be viewed by clicking here and additional information can be found here.

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How Banks Can Retain Top Junior Bankers

Posted by Don Woodland on Jan 27, 2015 10:43:05 AM

It’s no secret that banks are constantly scoping out the landscape of promising talent in the banking world.  For many institutions, the bulk of investment in development of junior bankers comes in the way of time, training, and identifying future professional paths.  However, junior bankers are also one of the most highly recruited individuals in the banking world because loyalties might not yet be developed and compensation packages aren’t quite exorbitant yet, making them prime targets for outside banks to entice away.

So, what’s a bank to do when it comes to recruiting the right people and retaining existing up-and-comers? Banks looking to acquire and retain top talent need to create strategies, some of which are: 

  • retaining_young_bankersEnsure the right individuals are hired
  •  Respect and trust employees
  •  Allow employees the authority and responsibility to get their jobs done as autonomously as possible
  •  Create a positive environment that fosters loyalty and positive morale
  • Give recognition for achievement and feedback on performance opportunities

What Motivates Junior Bankers?

Every individual is different and determining what is of most value to each banker in the organization will enable upper management to structure their handling of each banker specific to those motivators, increasing the growth of loyalty to the bank and improving the odds of retention of that high value employee.

The motivators that managers use to rank priorities of an individual and subsequently create custom profiles and professional pathways are:

  •          Personal and professional development
  •          Compensation
  •          Flex time and PTO
  •          Added responsibility opportunities and professional challenges
  •          Recognition and Respect
  •          Enjoyable environment, co-workers, and experiences

GSBLSU Helps Your Retention of Junior Bankers

The focused training and professional banking development that takes place in the GSBLSU 3 year program is one that current students and alumni will attest to its value and prestige.  Many junior bankers identify the appointment of attendance at the school as a vote of confidence in ability and a step in the pathway to upper-level banking roles.  It not only reinforces the investment of the bank in the junior level bankers but it also shows active movement along the path to promotion and leadership.

Take the next step in the development of your talented bankers and encourage them to complete an application for the 2015 session of GSBLSU.  The 2015 session dates are May 24 – June 5. The final date to submit an application for the 2015 session is April 16, 2015.  The application can be accessed here and can be completed online or in a printable version as well.

Graduate School of Banking vs MBA

Tags: How to Acquire and Retain Top Banking Professional, How GSBLSU Can Help Your Retention