1. What is the fastest growing area of bank education?

2. What group of financial leaders have the most responsibility and liability, but have the least knowledge and educational preparation?

3. Where do the regulators direct their criticism when a bank is in trouble?


1. Trustees and directors.

2. Trustees and directors.

3. Trustees and directors.

Surprised at the answers? Initially maybe, but after short reflection the answers are obvious. Members of bank boards of directors are under close scrutiny, in need of special assistance, and look for direction from their national trade association.

If you are a new board member of a bank, or perhaps you have a long tenure with a board but have often felt insufficiently informed on issues of vital importance to your bank, what do you do?

Savings & Community Bankers of America offers publications, meetings and educational programs to help bank directors get ahead of the learning curve:

Directors & Trustees Digest.

A monthly summary of latest developments and trends in board member management relations, significant legislation and regulations and the legal and fiduciary responsibilities of directors. The digest monitors competitive changes and challenges facing board members today.

Trustee & Directors Handbook.

A must for new board members. This handbook contains all the information new directors need to carry out their responsibilities.

The handbook covers everything from understanding the business judgment rule, to protecting directors from liability, to taking minutes and conducting board meetings.

National Directors' Conference.

This program, is scheduled as a follow-on to SCBA's Annual Convention. The program includes the exchange of ideas and practices with other bank directors and briefings and debate on current industry issues, practices and successful strategies.

Also included is a special educational session for new directors that provides an intensive three-hour program focusing on the role and responsibilities of a director and an overview on financial and risk management.

State Annual Director Workshops.

These regular, yearly meetings are usually sponsored by the state trade associations.

The one-day meetings attract a large group of directors and focus on the latest government affairs issues affecting directors and strategies for dealing with the critical economic and regulatory issues of the day. Contact your state association for the time and date of the next director workshop.

Customized Director Education Programs.

Since 1986, SCBA's Education Department has helped more than 100 financial institutions develop and present programs tailored to the individual needs of bank trustees and directors. These programs include formats ranging from two-hour sessions in the boardroom to three-day residential programs at the Education's Department's Fairfield, Conn. facility.

Resource and Referral Services.

SCBA receives calls at its Washington and Fairfield offices on everything from how to set an agenda and allocate time for board meetings, to strategies to appraise board member performance, to the latest information on enforcement actions against bank directors. SCBA provides the information to members only.

What is most encouraging about our industry's efforts to inform and educate directors is the willingness and enthusiasm of board members to learn more about their role as directors.

Today, board members are better informed and more engaged in setting policy and monitoring the activities of their institutions. But these same directors would also say that their "education" needs to be a continuing activity.

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