Bankers Get Social Part III: The online vertical professional network for the banking industry

on by Bryan Koontz, CEO

Read: Part II

CBANC—an acronym standing for “Community BANks and Credit Unions”—is the online vertical professional network for banks, specifically catering to local and community banks. Since starting as a concept a few years ago, the network has grown into a representative picture of banking in the U.S., with more than 85 percent of U.S. banks represented by its membership.

Much like other online vertical professional networks, CBANC started and grew quickly by offering a free solution to a common industry problem: the thorny issue of regulatory compliance. The solution was a free “document exchange,” where bankers could exchange policy information instead reinventing the wheel every time they had to complete a compliance document. CBANC also provides a free Q&A forum where questions about regulatory compliance, vendors, work procedures and other banking­-related topics are posted and answered by industry peers.

On average, more than 80 percent of questions asked at CBANC receive an answer from a fellow industry professional, with the first response typically provided in less than an hour. In fact, the median time of the first response to 75 percent of all questions posed on the network is 20 minutes.

That’s something LinkedIn can’t touch, nor does LinkedIn provide tens of thousands of regulatory policy documents for download or specialized workflow tools, like vendor management and vendor risk assessment hosted apps. The graph below illustrates the hottest topics on the network and how quickly questions regarding those topics get answered.

Recent questions asked by CBANC members include:

    • What intranet software do you use? $132M bank in Wisconsin
    • What solution does your bank use to allow customers to choose their own PIN numbers? ­ $106M Bank in Kansas
    • We are contemplating hiring a mortgage lender to work remotely from their home. Is anyone else doing this? And, if so, what security measures have you taken (i.e. document storage, encrypted laptop, etc.)? ­ $59M bank in Ohio
    • What department in your institution assumes ownership of your business continuity? IT? Compliance? Operations? ­ $345M credit union in Pennsylvania
    • Needing a company or software to breakdown the HMDA data into data used for analysis. We are currently pulling the information from Calyx point. ­ $27M bank in Oklahoma
    • Does anyone have an interest rate risk audit procedure they would like to share? $132M bank in Louisiana

Everyday at CBANC, bankers are helping other bankers solve the common problems they face in order to do more, be more efficient and compete at a higher level. But participation in this online vertical professional network goes beyond bank employees.

Banks aren’t unique when it comes to the challenges they face as small, community financial institutions looking for ways to cut costs and thrive. Credit unions also have common questions about technology and vendors, and are facing increasingly more regulatory compliance challenges, just like the banks.

Brandy Bruyere, the director of regulatory compliance at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, summarizes the increasingly challenging regulatory compliance environment facing credit unions today:

Regulatory Compliance: Summary of Challenges Credit Union face

Beyond the banks that are active within the CBANC network, about 31 percent of all U.S. credit unions are also represented by the CBANC membership. Interestingly, bankers and credit union employees are frequently helping each other on the network. In general, there is a 95 percent overlap with banks and credit unions in how they operate, the regulatory and competitive challenges they face, and the third­-party vendors they use. The roughly 5 percent that is different does matter, but mostly to bank and credit union CEOs and boards of directors, not so much to the rest of the bankers and credit union professionals who are well positioned to help each other.

As surprising as it may be that bankers and credit union pros are working together to solve problems and answer each other’s questions, vendors who serve community financial institutions (“CFIs”) are also jumping in to lend a hand.

Stay tuned for Part IV of Bankers Get Social, a four­-part blog series written by CBANC CEO Bryan Koontz.

About CBANC:

We are the professional network for the banking industry, powering the largest online community of banks and credit unions in the world. Every business day, CBANC helps thousands of verified financial professionals and their institutions make more intelligent vendor decisions, navigate compliance challenges, and answer questions.

Our software leverages the network effects inherent in our community, enabling our members and the vendors that serve them to work together to solve problems. The results are more efficient operations, the ability to better serve customers, and an improved competitive position for our members and the US banking system.