Consultative Banking, a sounding board for your business.
Thanksgiving Day offers each of us the opportunity to reflect on our lives and upon all that for which we are grateful. It is a day unique in its simplicity of purpose and joyous spirit; no wonder it is one of our nation’s most beloved holidays. In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln declared the first national Thanksgiving Day, recognizing that even in the darkest times we are blessed.
This Thanksgiving, it is especially appropriate to remember the words of President John F Kennedy: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
From all of us at Regents Bank, thank you. We are grateful for your allowing us to be a part of your lives, and wish you, your families and friends a very happy Thanksgiving.
California Governor Jerry Brown has officially signed AB 93 and SB 90 to repeal the long standing California Enterprise Zone Program at the end of 2013. The Enterprise Zone Program, founded over 25 years ago, offers state tax incentives to companies operating in targeted communities for qualified job creation and capital expenditures.
According to our affiliate and expert in the field, Brendan Foote, Senior Vice President of Hughes Marino, Inc., a leading commercial real estate brokerage firm in San Diego, companies who are located within the San Diego Regional Enterprise Zone have from now until December 31st to participate and generate state income tax credits.
Applications to secure available tax credits must be submitted no later than October 2014. Currently, companies can go retro-active four years to generate tax refunds as well. Any carryover Enterprise Zone credits must be utilized to reduce state income tax liabilities on or before tax year 2023.
The Enterprise Zone in San Diego encompasses the majority of the South Bay, North Bay, Downtown, Mission Gorge, Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa, Sorrento Mesa and part of Rancho Bernardo.
To receive a complimentary analysis to determine if you are in the Enterprise Zone and to determine eligibility, you may contact Hughes Marino at email@example.com.
Back in July when we blogged about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – more commonly known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or, more informally, Obamacare –employers were facing 2014 compliance deadlines. Of course, as most businesses are now aware, the employer mandate provisions of the ACA have been delayed until 2015 (for employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees). However, entrepreneurs and small business owners need to be fully informed and prepared for compliance. But with so much political discourse, where can you find practical information?
The U.S. Small Business Administration has a wealth of resources for small business owners interested in learning more about how the ACA will impact their businesses. On the SBA website, you’ll find up-to-date information for employers of all sizes, from the self-employed to those businesses with less than 25 employees, less than 50 employees or more than 50 employees. SBA is offering a free webinar series specifically designed for small employers. Also on the website there is a glossary of key terms , a timeline of the reforms, the full text of the ACA, training materials and even information that is specific to the state in which a business operates.
Though businesses have been given a reprieve in terms of the compliance start date, it is never too soon to get educated.
At a symposium we presented early this year in association with GS Levine Insurance Services, we assembled a panel of experts on the ACA to address the questions and concerns of local businesses.
As a reminder, among the key points raised by our distinguished panelists were the following:
- All employers with at least $500,000 of revenue were required to provide a notice to employees by October 1, 2013 entitled “Notice of Health Care Exchange.” It is a boilerplate notice, provided by the government online, advising employees of certain benefit options and requirements under the ACA. In addition to the original posting to all employees, the notice must be given to all new employees on the date of hire.
- The law applies differently to companies of varying sizes and revenues. Companies with fewer than 50 employees are generally not required to provide health insurance for their employees. The panelists agreed that for small businesses, the cost of health care benefits will likely increase.
- Determining whether the employer has 50 or more employees is, in some cases, complicated. Part-time employees may be treated as full-time equivalent employees. There are special rules for seasonal employees and affiliated groups of employers. Companies should work with their payroll vendors to help determine eligibility.
- Much attention has and will continue to be given to whether a company with more than 50 employees should “pay or play” – i.e., should a company provide benefits coverage to its employees or not provide health insurance coverage and pay the resulting penalties. A financial analysis for each company considering pay or play is an recommended option. For most large companies in Southern California, it will usually make financial sense to keep providing coverage since the penalty for not providing coverage is nondeductible, and uninsured employees will be required to obtain individual policies with after-tax dollars. Health care benefits should be considered from a recruiting, incentive and morale perspective.
- As a result of your relationship with Regents Bank, GS Levine Insurance Services has offered to provide consultative services to our clients. GS Levine has qualification software to assist business owners in navigating what a business must do and by when, among other resources. Please contact your Regents Bank relationship manager for more information.
A great deal about the ACA remains to be explained, learned and digested before it can be fully integrated into business planning, but the time to start is now.
As bankers, we know the importance of instilling good financial habits at an early age. That is why we are excited to be associated with Money Matters: Make It Count, a national finance program for teens created in collaboration with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The program is geared toward educating teens on the important and unavoidable financial hurtles they will encounter through their teenage years into adulthood.
Money Matters promotes financial responsibility and independence among Boys & Girls Club members ages 13 to 18. Participants learn how to manage a checking account, create a budget, save and invest, start small businesses and pay for college. The Money Matters website helps teens build their money management skills through interactive activities, games and tools such as a savings and financial aid calculator to help them plan for college.
The Money Matters program was the topic of discussion at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington’s Youth Partnership Luncheon on October 16 and of which Regents Bank was proud to have once again sponsored – our fifth straight year doing so! We value our relationship with the Boys & Girls Clubs and feel privileged to help with this event.
The Clubs provide Clark County youth with safe and positive places to go, equipped with supportive and caring adults, structured programs, the opportunity to set goals and the tools to achieve them.
At this year’s luncheon, Regents Bank’s Executive Vice President and Regional Manager Tami Nesburg had the honor of introducing the luncheon’s keynote speaker — Ms. Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz. Ms. Schwab-Pomerantz is president of the Charles Schwab Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization funded by The Charles Schwab Corporation whose mission is to help people achieve financial well-being.
Under her leadership, the Foundation has established the Money Matters program.
At Regents Bank, we have witnessed the success of youth at the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Washington, in school and in our community. We are proud to support such an important and effective organization.
We at Regents Bank take great pride in our people. If you go through our recent blog posts you’ll see the many accomplishments of our team. And this post is no different!
We are proud to announce that Vice President Sean Puckett has been named by SD METRO Magazine as one of the 40 Under 40 Award winners for 2013, a group of men and women who represent some of the best and brightest minds of San Diego County. Sean was one of 115 nominated, a record for this annual awards program.
Sean was honored for his hard work, knowledge and leadership skills, which have helped propel him through his banking career. SD METRO noted that his consultative banking approach has helped his clients’ companies to scale and build enterprise value.
He was also honored for his work in helping to grow the Strategic Trusted Advisors Roundtable (STAR) as well as serving on its board. In addition, Sean volunteers with the Laurels for Leadership Foundation which recognizes excellence in student leadership and he is a member of the corporate board of directors for the San Diego County YMCA.
We are proud that SD METRO and the San Diego community recognize what we know about Sean – he is a superstar!
We are pleased to announce that Executive Vice President Darla Clark has been named a 2013 Women Worth Watching by the Diversity Journal, a national magazine focusing on diversity/inclusion in business, government, non-profit, higher education and military settings. According to the publication, it is teamwork and leading by example that distinguishes Darla and the other women honored.
Darla received a full page profile in which she shared sage advice and great insights, including:
“I always tell my employees or others who are looking to enter into a new field or role to ask successful people what they did to get where they are – the answer may surprise you.”
Darla’s path to a senior leadership role at Regents Bank started as a bank teller at the Bank of Hawaii. She worked during the day and attended college at night to earn a business degree. When she entered the banking industry in the early 1970s, women did not typically have management positions.
“Success evolves from building relationships. I also believe completely in a philosophy that was best phrased by President Ronald Reagan: ‘There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.’”
Darla leads by example. She acts not only as a banker to her clients but also as a consultant. Utilizing this consultative strategy is a key component to Darla maintaining strong business relationships, many for 20 plus years.
“To stay competitive, you must work harder than everyone else. Keep abreast of political and economic news that affects your industry and your clients.”
Darla, like all of the Regents Bank professionals, understands the significance the economy and politics has on our clients’ businesses. To be a trusted advisor, one must understand all aspects of the challenges our clients are facing.
“Create your own destiny – be proactive in asking for and accomplishing what you want.”
Congratulations, Darla, on being a Women Worth Watching and thank you for your contributions to Regents Bank and the San Diego Community.
Tuesday marked a very special day for our Vancouver, Washington branch. As a long-time supporter of the Clark County First Citizen award, we are honored once again to have been a part of this 74-year old tradition of celebrating Clark County’s community leaders by the Community Foundation of Southwest Washington. Recipients are chosen for their accomplishments and contributions to the community in a number of areas.
This year’s recipient is Robert “Bob” Schaefer, a practicing attorney, former state legislator and civic leader.
Mr. Schaefer is an incredible role model for those looking to make a difference in their community. He grew up in Vancouver and has woven his parents’ value of civic involvement into his life for more than 50 years. After receiving his law degree, he worked as a deputy prosecuting attorney for Clark County and then served four terms in the House of Representatives. As both a legislator and lobbyist, Mr. Schaefer has won numerous boons for the southwest Washington region including the attraction and retention of many technology giants. He has been an advocate for growing an educated workforce and co-chaired the committee that developed the plan for the creation of Washington State University Vancouver. Over the years, his reputation for integrity, fair-mindedness, wisdom and collaboration have landed him on numerous boards dealing with such important issues as education, economic development and healthcare enhancement.
Regents Bank’s Executive Vice President and Regional Manager Tami Nesburg was on hand at the ceremony to present Mr. Schaefer with a $1,000 contribution to the charity of his choice. He selected the Clark College Foundation and Open House Ministries.
Regents Bank is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor of the 2013 First Citizen award and to take part in honoring Mr. Schaefer.
Recently, I had the pleasure of presenting alongside UT San Diego vice chairman & CEO John Lynch at a North County CEO Forum about mergers and acquisitions. I was asked to speak on our recent acquisition of California Community Bank, and I believe that the information I shared may be of interest to many of our blog followers. Below, I’ve summarized some key points from my presentation. I welcome your questions and comments.
- Culture – identify shared values and business philosophies between the two merging firms. Highlight, reinforce and endorse those values to your employees and your customers.
- Brands – assess the brand strength of each of the two merging firms. Are they powerful and recognizable? Carefully consider how you will reconcile them into one brand while maintaining the best attributes of each.
- Trust – a firm merger or acquisition creates uncertainty. Prioritize building trust with your employees and clients. Stay ahead of the “chatter” with regular, thoughtful communication, and make time for one-on-one meetings with your employees. They are your brand ambassadors to your clients.
- Leadership – all the aforementioned points rely on strong leadership. Identify the individuals who will lead the transition early in the process and provide them with the resources and knowledge they will need to execute the objectives of your merger or acquisition plan.
Winston Churchill once said “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
We all know that no one person or company is perfect but many of us nonetheless strive for near perfection. Yet one factor that can inevitably throw a monkey wrench into the pursuit of perfection is change. Unexpected changes happen to all companies, no matter how much a company tries to avoid it. And change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes with change come enormous opportunities.
Great leaders need to know how to effectively manage through change and avoid being led by change.
This notion is the topic of an upcoming symposium of which Regents Bank is a sponsor. The program, entitled NEXT – A Symposium on Forward Thinking, will focus on change and the tough leadership challenges faced by CEO’s, Directors and Boards while providing a ‘new framework” designed to improve CEO and Board effectiveness. The event will be presented by Financial Services Resource Group on September 24, 2013 in Long Beach.
The program will feature noted authors and lecturers including Keynote Presenter John Hofmeister former President of Shell Oil Company and current CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy.
To see how consultative banking can benefit a business, you don’t need to look any further than San Diego’s 2013 Second Fastest-Growing Company, ITAV Solutions, an audio visual consulting company based in San Diego. Founder Joe Divona recently shared his success story with KFMB listeners on the radio show “It’s Your Money and Your Life.” Joe was joined on the broadcast by his banker, Regent Banks’ First Vice President Sean Puckett.
As a start-up business owner first working out of his garage, Joe had frustrating experiences with big banks before being introduced to a community banker, Sean. Says Joe, “I needed a banker but didn’t know that’s what I needed.”
The consultative banking services available to Joe were personalized – the same kind of service that he founded his own company on and that is important to young companies. He appreciated the opportunity to use Sean as a sounding board for all aspects of his business, even those not financially related.
During the broadcast, Sean outlined what made ITAV Solutions standout from the other start-ups, including the fact that Joe came to the meeting prepared with a three-ring binder full of information that described the company and told the story of not only where ITAV Solutions had been but where it is going. “With Joe, I saw a highly scalable model and a different business solution…the type of company where I want to invest my time and the bank’s capital.”
We are flattered that Joe attributes his success, in part, to the role Sean and our bank have played in his growth. And congratulations to ITAV Solutions on their tremendous success.
To hear the podcast of the radio show with Joe and Sean, click here.