Plansmith Blog

Peer Analysis: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

Posted by Chris Lake on 3/8/22 8:28 AM

As technology evolves and consumer trends are affected by outside social influences, including the COVID-19 pandemic, financial institutions are faced with ever-increasing competition. It is critical then, that organizations adopt new strategies to excel within their respective markets.
One of the best ways to do this is to incorporate peer analysis into your organization’s planning process.

Peer analysis is an impactful way to evaluate your bank’s performance within the context of your operating environment and business model. It can help you identify new opportunities, manage competitive pressures, and address regulatory hurdles. There are many facets to quality peer analysis but the most meaningful analysis hinges first on selecting the right peers.

Eliminate the ‘Yeah, buts’

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Core Planning Concepts: What Can Finance Learn from Marketing?

Posted by Megan Plis on 2/3/22 2:46 PM

For six wonderful years, I’ve had the privilege of being a part of Plansmith’s marketing team. From marketing assistant, to department manager, to my most recent role as Director of Marketing, I’ve experienced firsthand how important our company’s mission is: improving planning. Why? Because there is nothing more frustrating than having a brilliant idea with no real way of making it come to fruition. However, with incredible people and a quality plan, anything is possible – and doable.

Like many of you, I notice how important the planning process is when I’m putting together my ideas for next year. Though a marketing plan is a bit different than financial institution planning, the core concepts are the same.

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Transform Your Budget into RESULTS in 7 Steps

Posted by Jenny Kane on 1/5/22 12:17 PM

Each January, we love to set resolutions. We painstakingly choose a lofty goal or two and optimistically embark, declaring, “this will be THE year for change!”.

Unfortunately, we often lose steam and quickly return to what is comfortable. For lack of a better term, we fail. We fail to change our approach and to reach our goals.

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Three Most Frequent Pitfalls of Interest Rate Risk Management Programs

Posted by Dave Wicklund on 12/1/21 9:15 AM

Establishing and maintaining a sound interest rate risk (IRR) program is crucial to ensure proper balance sheet structure and comply with Regulatory expectations. During my 20+ years as a senior FDIC examiner, I routinely saw organizations experiencing issues with their ALM/IRR practices, ranging from loose misunderstandings of the guidance to critical errors that put the health of the organization at risk. Unfortunately, in my current advisory role, I see the same issues all too often.

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Should You Focus on CECL in 2021? The Short Answer is YES

Posted by Brett Hendricks on 10/5/21 2:23 PM

2020 was an unprecedented year. Just when you finished creating a budget, it was decimated by the economic crisis. From there, time was spent reforecasting, helping allocate PPP loans, and adjusting to changing rate environments. Fast forward a year, and we’re slowly starting to get back to business as usual.

In addition to the usual financial planning, what do regulators want you to focus on in 2021? For most financial institutions, it’s going to be CECL.

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When in Doubt, Peel the Onion

Posted by Sue West on 9/8/21 8:58 AM

Although we develop software to mathematically convert ideas into measurable outcomes, we have always viewed Plansmith as an education company. Not education as in ‘a + b = c,’ but in the way relationships and behaviors drive a financial outcome. This year, we are introducing a new educational solution called Budget Playbook. This online tool connects vision with purpose and execution to help you reach your budget targets. At Plansmith, we use Budget Playbook to dive into the relationship between ideation and plan execution to foster communication and drive better results.

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Planning Doesn’t Stop At 5:00 On Friday

Posted by David Schwieder on 8/4/21 12:59 PM

At Plansmith, we focus on not only helping our clients with preparing an annual budget, but identifying the action items involved in making the plan come to fruition. When you work all week helping banks and credit unions do a better job of planning, it’s probably not uncommon to take a step away on the weekend and refresh the batteries.

But do we ever really stop planning?

Last year, shortly before COVID hit, I was making plans (there’s that word again) to attend a concert at Chicago’s Thalia Hall. Since this was a general admission show, my goal was to arrive early in order to be relatively close to the stage. If you’re a bank or credit union CFO, think of this as my desired ROI.

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What Your Board Needs to Know and How to Train Them

Posted by Dave Wicklund on 6/2/21 9:51 AM

Regulatory guidance states that the board of directors has the ultimate responsibility for the risks undertaken by an institution – including interest rate risk (IRR) and liquidity management.

The board is typically made up of a diverse group of individuals from varying backgrounds and career paths. Unlike most positions within a financial institution, a board member does not necessarily come from a banking background. One board could easily include a local entrepreneur, a farmer, a financial planner, a retired financial institution CEO, and a local insurance agent; while another board could be comprised of almost all former bankers. It’s often the most differing group in a similar role across financial institutions – so, since one size does not fit all, how do you train directors for their position on the board?

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PPP Loans: Your Top 3 Questions Answered!

Posted by Jennifer Mello on 3/4/21 3:00 PM

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are a strange new addition to every banker’s reality. The role of the community bank and credit union has always been to serve customers and local businesses with compassion and trust. This responsibility has only been amplified by the current situation.

PPP loans help ensure businesses have funding to stay open and continue to pay their employees through the uncertainty of the crisis. Financial institutions play an essential role by assisting in creating, processing, approving, and allocating these loans.

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Fresh Tips for Successful Budgeting

Posted by Megan Plis on 2/2/21 12:09 PM

Plansmith is a planning company, as our name implies. For 50 years, budgeting has been what we’re known for. We get a lot of questions about our top budgeting advice, and as we kick off a new year, it’s the perfect time to offer some fresh tips for successful budgeting.

Though we certainly suggest using a robust budgeting solution like our Compass software, this advice applies to any process. We understand many organizations still use spreadsheets or outdated software, and that may work for them because they’re used to it. However, quality planning software makes budgeting much easier, more accurate, and more approachable for all parties involved – including the board during presentations.

So, what are some realistic tips for effective budgeting?

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