Strategic Planning Topic of February Dinner Meeting
Economy and Interest Rates Featured at Mini-Session
The Chapter’s February meeting featured a pair of informative educational sessions presented by two quality speakers. The event was held at the Stony Hill Inn in Hackensack on Wednesday, February 22, 2012.

George Millward, Managing Director from the Kafafian Group, presented Strategic Planning in the Age of Uncertainty following the full course dinner. The Economy, the Fed and Interest Rates were the topics of the afternoon mini-session presented by Matthew Resch CFA, Managing Director from the Ambassador Financial Group. The cocktail hour followed the mini-session which gave Members the opportunity to exchange ideas while enjoying their favorite cocktail along with an endless array of tasty hors d’oeuvres served by the expert staff at the Stony Hill Inn.

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George Millward photo
George Millward, Managing Director of The Kafafian Group, presents Strategic Planning in the Age of Uncertainty following the full course dinner.

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George Millward photo
Chapter Members follow the expert dinner presentation by George Millward.

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Matthew Resch photo
Matthew Resch, Managing Director from the Ambassador Financial Group, presents The Economy, the Fed and Interest Rates at the afternoon Mini-Session.

George Millward emphasized the overall approach to strategic planning as “Plan your work; work your Plan”, a saying made famous by Ed Crump, Boss of Memphis, Tennessee during the 1920s. George noted the negative connotation toward strategic planning expressed by many executives: it’s something they do when they “have to” or when the examiners “push them”.

He noted how financial managers are facing ever-increasing pressures from the uncertain economic environment that require careful planning to navigate. He noted how the industry dynamics will change resulting in lower profit levels for banks and mergers of small banks will create fewer, but larger banks.

He stressed the importance of strategic planning considering the current economic climate. He then outlined the critical steps the financial manager should consider to formulate the basic planning process, which included the following:

  • Survey your environment, capabilities and risk tolerance;
  • Establish an overall mission statement;
  • Define the critical issues;
  • Build objectives, goals and tasks;
  • Develop financial projections to meet your objectives.

George discussed the key elements of each of the steps in the planning process. He touched on the current economic environment, an overview of the financial industry in the metropolitan area, the continuing adverse effects the industry faces from the economic fallout and that the long expected industry consolidation has yet to happen.

He then discussed the challenges in the current regulatory environment and he emphasized the regulator’s continued philosophy that “capital is king”. George explained the common criticisms that examiners have expressed concerning institutions’ strategic plans and the steps the financial manager can take to avoid them.
He concluded by emphasizing the importance of making the development and updating of your strategic plan a part of your normal financial reporting process.

In the afternoon Mini-Session, Matthew Resch presented an expert view on the current economy, the trend in interest rates and the effect of the Federal Reserve Bank’s (The “Fed”) monetary policy will have on each. Matthew noted that although the current U.S. economy remains mixed and has improved over recent months, there is much work to be done. He explained the Fed’s dual mandate of maximum employment and stable prices as well as the monetary tools the Fed is utilizing to measure and set monetary policy. He concluded by summarizing the resulting effects on loan and investment portfolios and the corresponding strategies to improve profitability.

Topics and Speakers

Strategic Planning in the Age of Uncertainty

George Millward photo
George Millward
Managing Director
The Kafafian Group
(973) 299-0300 Ext. 115

Slide Presentation

The Economy, the Fed
and Interest Rates

Matthew Resch Photo
Matthew Resch CFA
Managing Director
Ambassador Financial Group
(610) (610) (610) 351-1633

Slide Presentation

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FMS February 2012 Cocktail Hour photo
Nelson Fiordalisi (c.) enjoys the cocktail hour with Lady Solano (l.) from Schuyler Savings Bank and Ruth Piniero from Fontanella and Babitts.

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FMS February 2012 Mini-Session Attendees photo
Attendees hard at work "earning" CPE credits during the afternoon Mini-Session..