The South Dakota Bankers Association has gone back to the chalkboard to attract more bankers to its classes.
A not-for-profit Bankers Education Corp. will be formed next month and will begin offering classes early next year. It is intended to administer all the classes and conferences traditionally offered by the association.
The South Dakota group, like other state trade organizations, has organized conventions and conferences, while affiliated groups offered training programs on topics such as fraud detection and bank safety.
The educational groups-chapters of the American Institute of Banking - had been run by banker-volunteers with limited time and resources.
However, through the corporation, the classes, conferences, and conventions will be planned and administered by two full-time employees.
"We've had favorable responses so far, especially at the senior level," said Jeffrey Rodman, executive vice president of the association. "They realize that training and education are important."
Such programs are becoming increasingly popular.
"Bankers have become busier than ever, and training has become more sophisticated," said Diane W. Powers, director of the American Institute of Banking.
Beginning next year, the institute will require that its franchises be run by at least one full-time staff member.
Unlike banker-volunteers, full-timers can devote their attention to planning speaking tours and large-scale classes. State bankers associations in Arkansas, Connecticut, Maine, and Nebraska, which have preceded South Dakota in changing the way they administer educational programming, have been rewarded with better enrollment in their classes.
"We've seen good successes in many parts of the country," Ms. Powers said.
South Dakota hopes to draw more students as well. Bankers Education Corp. seeks to bring in $200,000 to $250,000 of revenue in its first year. Mr. Rodman said he anticipates revenue will grow during the next five years as enrollment expands.
The corporation is exploring ways to bring computers into banks for training sessions. The group is also encouraging banks to link up to the corporation's video-conferencing courses through desktop systems, hospitals, or universities, Mr. Rodman said.