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"It was, without question, the best conference I've attended in nearly 29 years in banking."
   - Lisa Baker

Palm SpringsOne of the ways Harland Clarke keeps its finger on the pulse of the financial services industry is by meeting with those who face its challenges every day—our financial institution clients. Earlier this year, Harland Clarke hosted two client forums to gather insight on key issues and business challenges currently facing the financial services industry, and to help facilitate peer exchange.

The Harland Clarke National Bank Forum, “Growing Your Business in a Fiercely Competitive Marketplace,” was held during May 2007, in West Palm Beach, Florida, and featured both panel discussions and roundtable breakout sessions. During the first panel discussion, Approaches for Deposit Growth, attendees shared ideas and strategies about offering high-rate savings products online, the future of free checking, and the challenges of and potential solutions for a relationship-based pricing approach. The second panel discussion focused on de novo expansion, including activities that accelerate growth and the benefits of re-energizing existing branches versus opening new branches. The third panel eyed using reward programs to enhance customer loyalty. Attendees also shared with their peers during roundtable breakout sessions, which focused on online banking as a sales channel (challenges, along with website design, functionality and best practices), as well as what they see as innovations in the current marketplace.

Broadmoore“Growing Your Business in a Fiercely Competitive Marketplace” was also the title and focus of the Harland Clarke Community Bank Forum, held June 11-13 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Speakers spotlighted issues such as getting beyond “me too” banking and growing organically by driving profitable customer acquisition. Panel and roundtable discussions concentrated on getting the most from investments in de novo expansion, attracting customers using premiums and cash incentives, and developing approaches for growing deposits. Feedback from attendees at both forums was very positive. One of our Community Bank Forum panelists, Roger Ludemann, executive vice president and director of retail banking at TierOne Bank, said, “I have long been a promoter and supporter of peer exchanges, and of working with others to look at the general thinking on product development and marketing concepts that are at the forefront of today’s banking environment. At the Community Bank Forum, the size of the group was just right, providing everyone with the opportunity to participate.” He added, “I came away with some exceptional concepts in financial marketing that I hadn’t thought of. That provided me with the impetus to come back and explore some opportunities I may not have considered otherwise.”

Lisa Baker, vice president of branch administration for the consumer division of Banker’s Trust Co., was also enthusiastic. “It was, without question, the best conference I’ve attended in nearly 29 years in banking,” she said. “The topics and issues we addressed were current and relevant to our industry. The small group discussion provided an interactive environment, and the contacts I made were invaluable.”