By: Dana Wilkes, Senior Affiliation Manager

Even though the fall Affiliation Program meetings just wrapped up at the beginning of this month, preparations are already well underway for the spring sessions. Detailed session topic descriptions will be posted on our website and emailed to registered attendees very soon, but here is a brief preview of what our members will have in store for the spring.

As always, we will have our ever-popular High Performance Idea Exchange and Dr. Ed Seifried’s Economic Update at all of our Affiliation Program meetings. The Idea Exchange, which is a free-flowing peer group discussion moderated by a banking industry expert, provides our members with a unique opportunity to discover best practices and learn directly from the bankers who are implementing these ideas. Many members tell us that it is consistently one of their favorite sessions because they always leave with at least one or two new ideas that they can implement at their banks right away.

Dr. Ed’s Economic Update will explore whether the record-breaking expansion in the economy can and will continue, as well as the latest on the Fed. In the summer of 2019, the Fed reversed its 2018 policy of an upward interest rate path and switched to a lower rate policy path. Indeed, 2019 was a year of numerous rate cuts, and the major reason given for the cuts was that the lower rates would serve as an insurance policy against the chance that the economic expansion would falter. But there could be a second reason for so many cuts in 2019: the fact that 2020 is an election year. Will the Fed prefer to stay rather quiet in 2020, especially as the election approaches, or will this election year be different? Dr. Ed will give us his analysis and predictions, infused with his signature style of quick wit and humor.

Our individual Affiliation Programs (Chief Executive Officer, Senior Lending Officer, and Technology & Operations Officer) will highlight sessions of particular interest to each group. Our Chief Executive Officer Program meetings will include a session that will delve into the issue of big data, focusing on how you can turn it into practical, useful information that can positively influence strategic decisions, improve bank profitability, and enhance the customer experience. The CEO Program will also feature a session centered on talent management and human capital, as well as optional breakouts that will provide updates on the mergers and acquisitions in the banking industry and getting the greatest ROI from your branch network. Our Senior Lending Officer Program will include a three-hour session on improving loan officer portfolio profitability and credit performance, as well as a general session on the “experience gap” and developing your bank’s next generation of lenders and analysts. Members of our Technology & Operations Officer Program will enjoy a session on innovation approaches that work (without hiring people from Google or Apple!), as well as a session that will lead them on a deep dive into data breach response-enabled incident response plans.

For more information on the spring 2020 meetings and to keep up with the latest updates on The Affiliation Program, please visit us at