Blog   2017

EHRs: The Facts, Future and Financials

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To comply with Meaningful Use initiatives, more than 95 percent of hospitals have implemented some form of electronic health record (EHR) system since 2011. Some have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to simply comply and put a system in place, while others have spent millions – even billions – to tailor a program unique to their needs.

The truth is EHRs are expensive to plan for, implement, train and maintain. And today, only a few years after installing new systems, nearly 38 percent of CIOs are already investing in optimization projects to improve or upgrade their current EHR programs, making this the biggest area of spending in healthcare IT.

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While EHR provides many answers and solutions, it presents many questions, as well.

  • What is the ROI for this massive technology upgrade?
  • How will EHRs really improve healthcare for doctors and patients?
  • What does the future of EHRs look like?

These questions and others are being considered and tested at hospitals around the country. Here are some of the more innovative practices and uses for EHRs that may help hospitals and executives plan for the road ahead and get the most out of their EHR investment.

Big Data

Gathering big data from a patient population is one thing. Deciphering and applying that data to solve real-world health issues is another. Hospitals that are successfully doing this are finding it is a game-changer for helping patients, the community and their care outcomes.

Examples:

  • Identifying at-risk or high-risk patients to help reduce readmission rates: This data analysis looks at EHR information, zip codes and socioeconomic data to assign patients a risk score. This can also include monitoring patients with numerous chronic diseases (diabetes, heart failure, cholesterol, cancer, etc.) in real-time to help reduce hospitalizations and drive down the cost of care.
  • Clinical trial enrollment: Using big data could help patients enroll in clinical trials that will help improve quality of care and enhance outcomes. For patients, this helps match them to clinical trials and have access to safety monitoring during the treatment. For healthcare providers/researchers, this means having the data they need to find patients for trials and evaluate therapies.

Telemedicine

A technology that has been talked about and hypothesized for decades is now at its tipping point and gaining the attention of healthcare executives across the industry. More than 83 percent of telemedicine executives who were surveyed in 2017 by the American Telemedicine Association said they are likely to invest in telehealth this year. And more importantly, they see patient-centered healthcare and EHR interoperability as top advancements they are most excited about.

Using EHR systems to treat patients with telehealth can reduce the cost of the care for both patients and providers. This technology allows doctors to stay more organized, save time, log into the patient’s record from anywhere, and prescribe medication in real time.

Examples:

  • Remote patient monitoring for issues such as weight gain in at-risk heart patients. One of the biggest readmission rates for heart attack patients occurs when they start to gain weight. By using monitoring devices, doctors can receive weight readings every day allowing them to track patients’ health and have an idea of risk for readmission.
  • Doctors, hospitals and nurses are using telemedicine to treat children at school. This type of visit includes a nurse at school using a telehealth cart with video capabilities and high-tech ear, nose and throat scopes to communicate with a pediatric doctor or hospital staff for a remote patient visit. Parents can video in on the visit from work, allowing children to stay in school, parents to stay at work and nurses/doctors to best assess the child. It also allows children who do not have access to health care to see a doctor without going to the ER, further reducing overall healthcare costs for hospitals and patients.
  • Treating at-risk patients with numerous chronic conditions remotely with telehealth. Hospitals can track at-risk patients through their physiological data remotely with biometric sensors. This data can track everything from weight and heart rate to blood pressure and oxygen saturation. This information allows the team to provide remote support and communicate with patients at important times. The pilot program at Banner Health reduced hospitalizations by 45 percent ‡ and drove down the overall cost of care by 27 percent.

Patient Engagement

Enabling patients to access their own EHRs has shown great promise in helping them take control and engage in their overall wellbeing as well as helping providers prioritize patients’ concerns. The practice of allowing patients to collaborate on EHR notes and help set the agenda for their appointment has shown to improve communication between the patient and the provider, increase patient satisfaction, decrease visit times for doctors and optimize the appointment.

Examples

  • A University of Washington pilot study of patients setting agendas for their appointments found that most patients and clinicians felt it enhanced their relationships, and most said they would like to continue the practice. Also, patients who created their own agenda for the visit gave the doctor a more collaborative feeling and increased patient engagement – a key component of accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes under the Affordable Care Act.
  • An OpenNotes study found that by reviewing their medical records and clinician notes, patients could spot safety concerns (usually pertaining to medication errors or misreported pre-existing health conditions), and many of the flagged reports were turned into medical record revisions. The findings suggest that patients can help identify mistakes and are eager to have accurate medical records on file.

These are only a few examples of how EHRs are being implemented and used by providers and patients. The truth is that this technology is constantly morphing and evolving to help improve healthcare treatments and outcomes across the board. Clearly, there is an inherent need for healthcare executives, doctors and patients to find more valuable uses for EHRs to enhance patient care, improve outcomes and save costs.

Furthermore, what’s most critical to the evolving world of EHRs is that you have the right partners at the table to help educate, train and effectively adapt this technology to your unique needs. This includes your vendors, IT department, doctors, nurses and users.

Finally, the financial burden of improving and updating your EHR system will be a consistent line item for the foreseeable future. Knowing how to budget and prepare for those costs is vital to the financial success of your organization. And working with a banking partner who understands the complex world of healthcare finance is just as important.

Richard Ziegner is director of healthcare banking at UMB Bank where he is responsible for leading the bank’s efforts in the healthcare sector and providing capital and financial solutions to healthcare providers. He can be reached at Richard.Ziegner@umb.com.

 


Richard Ziegner is executive vice president and director of healthcare banking at UMB Bank where he is responsible for leading the bank’s efforts in the healthcare sector and providing capital and financial solutions to healthcare providers. He graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and earned his Master of Business Administration degree from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz.



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Active, Passive or Complementary Investing?

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Most of the debate around passive versus active investing comes from those advocating for one approach over the other. We, on the other hand, believe they are complementary and not mutually exclusive. Based on our research, neither an all-passive, nor all-active portfolio, is the optimized portfolio. Rather, optimal appears somewhere in the middle. Blending both active and passive investing strategies can provide a more attractive risk-return profile.

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Read our full perspective by clicking here or learn more about our Private Wealth Management division. See what we mean when we say, “Your story is our focus.


K.C. Mathews joined UMB in 2002. As executive vice president and chief investment officer, Mr. Mathews is responsible for the development, execution and oversight of UMB’s investment strategy. He is chairman of the Trust Investment, Asset Allocation and Trust Policy Committees. Mr. Mathews has more than 20 years of diverse experience in the investment industry. Prior to joining UMB, he served as vice president and manager of the portfolio management group at Bank of Oklahoma for nine years. Mr. Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Mathews attended the ABA National Trust School at Northwestern University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the CFA Institute. He is past president of the Kansas City CFA Society and a past president of the Oklahoma Society of Financial Analysts.



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A Look at Mariner Kemper’s Office Art Collection

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What kind of art do you think President and CEO Mariner Kemper keeps in his office? Take a look at the fun and historical art adorning the walls of his bank office in this Denver Business Journal  report by Monica Mendoza.

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



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Today’s ag climate is tough, but it’s still not the ‘80s

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If history repeats itself, we might ask, “Are we witnessing a farm decline similar to what we saw in the 1980s?” The short answer to that question is no. The current agriculture climate is a challenge, but comparing it to the ‘80’s farm crisis would be a mistake. Let’s take a walk back through history for a refresher.

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The 1980’s farm crisis was born out of the early 1970s grain boom. Demand for nearly all grains took off in the early ‘70s as several international crops failed and geopolitical conditions made U.S. grain much more valuable.

By 1973, real farm income had reached a record high of $92.1 billion, nearly double what it was just three years earlier. Exports of U.S. agriculture products grew dramatically in the 1970s as rising incomes and liquidity in developing nations created strong demand.

In 1970, exports contributed only $6.7 billion or 11% of the grain produced in the U.S. By 1979, this number had jumped to $31.9 billion and was more than 22% of the grain raised in the U.S. that year.

Things were going so well for the American farmer that even Bob Bergland, U.S. ag secretary at the time, commented in 1980 that, “The era of chronic overproduction… is over.”

The equation that followed was simple: Higher grain prices plus more available credit led to much higher land prices. The boom eventually went bust, in perhaps one of the most difficult periods in the history of American agriculture.

In 1981, there was only one ag bank failure among the 10 bank failures in the U.S.; by 1985, things had become so difficult that the 62 ag bank failures that year accounted for more than half of the bank failures in the U.S.

Interest rates up, exports down

It may be unbelievable to read this today, but the prime rate averaged 15.3% in 1980. Higher interest rates almost automatically drove land prices down by the inherently lower value of the earnings that the land produced. If an investor could receive 13% on a CD in the bank, why consider purchasing farm land?

Also, export demand fell precipitously as the U.S. dollar strengthened considerably. In 1981, U.S. ag exports totaled $44 billion and then fell dramatically to $26 billion in 1986. Land values increased every single year from 1970 through 1981, but gross income per acre actually had several year-to-year decreases.

Astonishingly, when land prices finally peaked in 1981, returns on investment for corn and soybeans were only one third of what they had been in 1973. Land was a laggard in terms of decline but eventually succumbed to the industry downturn.

Without question, the greatest assailant on the agriculture sector in the mid-1980s farm crisis, was interest rate devastating cash flows, credit availability and asset values. By comparison, today’s prime rate has been stalled at or below 4% for the better part of a decade.

Inflation worries

Clearly, interest rates are much more favorable for the farm sector today than in the crisis of the 1980s.

Another key distinction to understand when comparing the 1980s to the current environment is the recent trends and current expectations regarding inflation. The consumer price index (CPI) took off in the early 1970s and the Federal Reserve struggled mightily to tame the inflation beast. Its only real tool to effectively combat inflation turned out to be much higher interest rates.

Today’s CPI is completely dissimilar when compared to that of the 1970s and the early 1980s. As long as inflation remains subdued, rates may moderately increase, but will be nothing like the rates seen in the 1980s.

The recent ag economy has shown signs of stress, including much lower grain prices, declining values for land and equipment, and modestly increasing interest rates. Even so, there are three key differences between today’s situation and the 1980s:

  1. A current prime rate of 4%
  2. Aggregate farm debt in terms of overall leverage is significantly less than it was on the cusp of the last big down turn
  3. Federal crop insurance and other support programs have been bolstered over the past 35 years

It is important to remember the history of our industry so we can all try to maneuver the current times and pave a way forward. By really understanding the similarities and differences of the 1980’s farm crisis to the challenges we are facing today, we can better prepare, understand and plan for the road ahead.

Learn more about what ag means to UMB and see some of our clients in action.

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



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Corporate Earnings and Fidget Spinners

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What do corporate profits and fidget spinners have in common?

Happiness.

While parents may never understand fidget spinners, kids sure love them. Trendy toys make kids happy, even if we don’t understand the intrigue. While we expect fidget spinner fascination to wane and follow the path of prior fads, such as the pet rock, Furbys and silly bands, we expect the opposite of corporate earnings.

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We believe corporate earnings are moving to trend status and have the staying power to grow for the next eight quarters. And this will translate to happiness in the market. Stock markets do well when corporate earnings are stronger than expected, as earnings are the lifeblood of the market.

July 10 marks the unofficial start to second quarter earnings season, and we expect earnings growth momentum to continue based on the following data.

Shift from Earnings Recession to Earnings Expansion

Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2014, corporate earnings evaporated, starting an earnings recession that lasted until the third quarter of 2016 when earnings finally posted a slightly positive gain.

The first quarter of 2017 recorded strong earnings growth of 17.8 percent and sales growth of 8.5 percent. Wage inflation, commodity costs, margins, and share repurchases boosted (and will continue to boost) earnings growth.

Additionally, easy year-over-year comparisons helped these numbers, as earnings declined 5.0 percent last year during the same time period.

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Industries We’re Watching

Technology and finance sectors are expected to have the highest growth rates among all S&P 500 sectors.

  • Strong demand for cloud-based services and cell phones are leading growth for technology.
  • In the finance sector, the recent increase in interest rates bode well for banks as expanding margins can make more profit on the money they lend out relative to their interest paid on deposits such as checking/savings accounts. Additionally, higher rates should help offset weaker than expected loan growth trends.

Key Drivers: A Look Ahead

Sustainable corporate earnings growth is driven by economic activity and GDP growth, and corporate earnings are highly correlated. Economic global growth continues to improve, with China and Europe’s economic data showing signs of green shoots, and we see a pick-up in domestic growth as well.

We expect second quarter earnings to increase eight percent and revenue growth to grow four percent.

Timing the Earnings Tailwind

The promise of fiscal stimulus is a tailwind for corporate earnings. Tax reform, reduced regulation and infrastructure spending have the potential to increase earnings by 10 to 15 percent.

However, there are two issues with fiscal stimulus. The first is timing—how quickly will things develop? Given current conditions, it appears this will be a 2018 event.

Secondly, fiscal stimulus has a short-term impact on economies and markets. Historically, when you are late in an economic cycle like we are now, fiscal stimulus is effective for only four or five quarters.

Therefore, while potential fiscal stimulus is positive for the long-term, investors will have to exercise some patience and understand that they may be shorter-lived when they are realized.

The Broader View

We have a positive view on the economy and expect GDP to grow at 2.2 percent in 2017. Over time, S&P 500 revenue growth has had a multiplier of 1.5 times GDP growth. This GDP multiplier, plus an expected rebound in oil, supports our 5 percent revenue growth for 2017.

All things considered, we believe the next few quarters of corporate earnings are going to be a trend that will bode well for the markets. Meanwhile, children will continue to play with their fidget spinners – or the next greatest fad – and everyone will be happy.

Follow UMB‡ and KC Mathews‡ on LinkedIn to stay informed of the latest economic trends.

Interested in learning more about our Private Wealth Management division? See what we mean when we say, “Your story is our focus.

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


K.C. Mathews is executive vice president and chief investment officer, Mr. Mathews is responsible for the development, execution and oversight of UMB’s investment strategy. He is chairman of the Trust Investment, Asset Allocation and Trust Policy Committees. Mr. Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Mathews attended the ABA National Trust School at Northwestern University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the CFA Institute.

Will Reese is a senior securities analyst for the Private Wealth Management division at UMB. He has an Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Kansas and a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in finance from Avila University. In his role, Will monitors and maintains departmental equity working lists, recommends stocks for external clients, and provides equity research and analysis for internal customers.




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Monthly Media Update – June

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Reality TV versus political realities in Washington, insights into the St. Louis economy from the market president and a look at Mariner Kemper’s (UMB Financial Corp CEO and President) art collection are just a few media coverage highlights from June.

Stay informed on industry trends and noteworthy company news by visiting our UMB in the News section on umb.com, which is updated weekly for timely viewing.

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



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Summer InSight: Retirement, Cash Flow, Loans and the Economy

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Summertime marks the mid-point of the year, so now is a good time to take a moment to check in on your full financial picture, including a review of your goals and progress you’ve made toward milestones. Statistics show almost four million Americans anticipate retiring in the next 15 years, and there are key considerations that can help anyone prepare, whether retirement is right around the corner or 20 years away.

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We encourage everyone to have a solid plan for retirement, which begins with understanding your core numbers: anticipated age of retirement, how much income you’ll need to maintain your current lifestyle after retirement, and the value of your assets and cash savings. Having a clear picture of your current and future states makes establishing priorities simpler. Keeping these numbers in mind as you make other financial decisions ensures your goals and choices remain in alignment.

While retirement planning is critical for your future, there will always be plenty of present-day matters to attend to. This issue of InSight covers several topics related to life events and the economy. Beth Brown, senior vice president and senior wealth advisor, discusses steps to consider when you are faced with an unexpected financial windfall to help ensure your plan supports your objectives. Shelly Addington, vice president and private banking client manager, provides an educational construction loan overview, including what you can expect from the process from start to finish. And KC Mathews, UMB Bank executive vice president and chief investment officer, delivers an economic analysis that covers the impacts of political and policy shifts.

For more details on these and other financial matters, read the full Insight issue or visit our Private Wealth Management page.


Dana Abraham is president of the Personal Banking Division and is responsible for the delivery of comprehensive financial services for consumers across UMB's footprint. She joined UMB in 2005 and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Dana earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in both accounting and economics from the University of Louisiana. She is a graduate of Leadership Overland Park and Kansas City Tomorrow Leadership programs.



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UMB Leadership Series: Vicky Hales

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Every year, UMB presents Leadership Awards to a select group of associates who best demonstrate the attributes and behaviors our company values the most. While many of our associates admire, learn from, and are inspired by award winners like Vicky Hales – who was recognized this year in the “Actively Promotes UMB in the Community” category – it’s easy to think of them only as the person they are in the present. However, the narrative of her career has an origin story and an arc that is anchored to the events, experiences and mentors that she has encountered along the way.

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In 1990, Vicky started her career with UMB as a teller in Belleville, Illinois, and in mid-1993, she moved North to the Swansea, Illinois UMB branch to work as the assistant manager. It was there Vicky says she met the first of her mentors, Cathy Hayden who introduced Vicky to the concept of “the unparalleled customer experience.”

“Of course we didn’t call it that back then,” she says, “but that’s exactly what we were doing. Cathy, helped me develop the skills that enabled me to think outside the box in order to be able to provide ‘TUCE’ for my clients.”

Several years later, Vicky continued to build on her career successes, and earned a role as a regional trainer with the responsibility of developing a training program from scratch. This is where she met her next mentor, Joe Thompson.

“Joe was the regional manager of the St. Louis region at the time. He trusted me to take ownership of the creation of a training program that, before I started, had not existed. Joe also helped me to understand and develop the skills to navigate the different dynamics in a work place in order to accomplish goals.”

While many think of navigating group dynamics as only applying to teams you’re working on, Vicky says that it also applies to teams you’re leading, and an important component of that is understanding how to set expectations.

“If you’re out at night and see people on the street, you’ll notice that they naturally shy away from following poorly lit paths because it’s unclear about what’s at the end or how it will get them to where they want to go. Similarly, in my role, I always want illuminate the path to our goal so that people see clearly how we can get there. That means setting clear expectations, and gaining buy-in, from the team about the best way to reach a target.  If you are successful at setting the expectation and gaining the team’s buy-in then driving performance is simply encouragement and celebrating the milestones along the way.  Regular coaching helps too so that you can help remove roadblocks as they arise.”

Most recently Vicky has worked with Consumer Director of the West Territory, Alex Rasmussen.

“Since I’ve met him, he’s always inspired me to reach for the top.  Once he challenged me about why I wasn’t number one in the company, and guess what? I became #1 in the company that year.  He is the very definition of a great leader.”

Today, Vicky says that she has several management philosophies that she tries to live by.

The first of which is next to her desk, and pinned to the right of a picture of Michael Jordan. It states, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.  The last is to say thank you.  In between, the leader is a servant.”

-Max De Pree
Leadership is an Art

The second one is paraphrased to use the feminine pronoun vs the masculine one and says, “A good manager is a woman who isn’t worried about her own career but rather the careers of those who work for her.”

-H.M.S. Burns President
Shell Oil Co.

“By keeping these close to my desk,” says Vicky, “it helps remind me that I’m most proud when I’m serving my team to help them reach goals that are meaningful to them.  Whether it’s a production goal or a promotion, it’s gratifying to me to see their success, and that I’m hopefully passing on the lessons that I’ve learned from the many great leaders who have inspired me.”

Interested in learning more about careers at UMB? See what we mean when we say, “Be Part of Something More.


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



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Business Owners: Planning a Roadmap for Success in 2017

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We are almost halfway through 2017, which means it is an opportune time to revisit business goals set at the beginning of the year. Conducting a mid-year check-in allows business owners to evaluate if goals for the year are being met as projected and whether plans need to be adapted to help optimize future success.

Several questions business owners should ask include:

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Is the business prepared for rising interest rates?  

Rising interest rates and Federal Reserve sentiment are in the news regularly, with the public continuing to watch rates gradually rise after years of stagnation.

With the country steadily rebounding from the recession, the Federal Reserve increased the interest rate for the second time in three months in March 2017 to a range between 0.75 percent and 1.00 percent (most recently they elected to maintain this rate in early May).

Interest rates are important to business owners to consider as they look at items such as loan terms and evaluating leasing versus purchasing for commercial real estate.

Is refinancing a business option?

As rates fluctuate, it is critical to evaluate refinancing options. This could be the time to consolidate debt or secure a better rate for a loan. Refinancing could open the door for a larger purchase later in the year or allow for a different goal to be reached more quickly.

Additionally, refinancing into a fixed rate loan may provide some peace of mind for business owners who are nervous about the impact of rising rates on an existing variable rate loan. A fixed rate offers something that business owners crave – predictability.

Do you have the right product for your needs?

It is also important for business owners to ensure they understand all the aspects of the loan. Take time to research the different terms, and make sure they are still in line with business goals. There are several different financing options available to small businesses, and it might be time to explore a different type of product that better suits the needs of that particular business or the current business environment.

Make a list of business goals, and discuss these options with an experienced banker, as they should be able to help clients prepare and best navigate any economic environment with sound lending advice.

Is it time to make a large purchase?   

Mid-year is the perfect time to evaluate what is needed to help business owners navigate the rest of 2017. Since interest rates are unpredictable and have been on the rise, it is important to understand how a purchase now will impact the business down the road. For example, it might be worth considering owning instead of renting equipment or property.

Real estate is also a key consideration for business owners, as it is often one of the largest expenses they face. Purchasing a space instead of renting could be a better long-term solution, given rents in many cities continue to rise at a pace that makes long-term agreements a less attractive option.

Ultimately, the window for low rates seems to be closing, so moving to a more entrepreneurial mindset and investing through capital expenditures may be beneficial. Bankers can help owners evaluate these options for the short- and long-term.

Be in regular communication with your banker.

Finally, it is critical to maintain regular communication with your banker. Business owners should consistently share what is happening and ask the tough questions to see what changes can be made for the time ahead.

Bankers are here to support owners and to help businesses succeed—having the full picture will result in sound advice and recommendations.

Interested in learning more about UMB Business Banking Solutions? See what we mean when we say, “Grow with Confidence.


Dominic is a executive vice president for the Business Banking division at UMB. He joined UMB in 2013 and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.



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Are you ready for retirement?

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It is anticipated that almost four million Americans will retire in the next 15 years, forcing many to face the question, “Am I ready for retirement?” As this growing number of Americans consider the next chapter in their lives, they are discovering a gap in their retirement plan.

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Retirement is one of the largest transitions a person will encounter in their lifetime, yet only one-third of Americans feel they are financially prepared. According to Mintel’s April 2017 Consumers and the Economic Outlook report, 11 percent of Americans nearing retirement age are preparing to look for new, higher-paying jobs as a way to improve their financial situation.

By proactively planning and establishing priorities in advance, individuals will be better equipped to have a successful transition into their golden years. Whether retirement is right around the corner or 20 years away, these key considerations can help establish a level-set for retirement preparation.

What’s your number?

First ask yourself “How much money do I need to live?” and “How much money do I have?” These questions can help establish a goal and define areas that should be closely analyzed. If financial gaps exist, assess and determine how to fill them.

It is important to consider the financial implications of several critical areas, including:

  • Average living expenses
  • Healthcare
  • Mortgage or rent
  • Property and other tax obligations
  • Charitable giving
  • Legacy considerations

How much and how long do you want to work?

Over the last 15 years, a shift has been taking place—it no longer has to be “all or nothing” when it comes to employment. More people are retiring in stages, or semi-retiring. Instead of completely stepping away from a career, they might transition out of a role slowly.

Additionally, many Americans are planning to work longer or stay involved in their businesses beyond what is considered traditional retirement. According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 20 percent of Americans 65 and older are now working.

Think about where you would like to be on this spectrum to help determine when, and to what degree, your earning potential will change.

Establish priorities

If the priority is retirement, establish goals and create a plan first and foremost. Perform an in-depth analysis of the entire financial portfolio to assess total assets and decide if retirement goals are achievable. Determine if your portfolio assets can support your desired lifestyle during retirement. If a path to retirement is clear, then begin to think about secondary priorities; these could include leaving a legacy, charitable giving or the opportunity to travel more often. If the path to retirement isn’t clear or if financial assets come up short, consider putting off retirement for a few years, saving more money, adjusting an estimated living plan or reassessing assets.

Create a clear plan

Planning is the most important aspect of a successful transition into retirement. Planning early and reevaluating often is critical. One way to establish a sound financial plan is to work with a financial advisor, who can help you not only establish goals, but work to make them a reality.

Additionally, financial advisors can help counsel families where members may have different goals or considerations that need to be taken into account. They can help communicate each person’s unique goals and assist families in creating a shared plan that meets everyone’s needs.

Finally, they can also track your progress and help identify any changes you may need to make along the way.

For anyone considering retirement, asking the important questions, creating a strategic plan and consistently evaluating progress can help lead to a successful transition. Working with a financial advisor can alleviate questions and ensure that a plan is being considered from all angles, providing valuable support for this life transition.

Interested in learning more about our Private Wealth Management division? See what we mean when we say, “Your story is our focus.


Dana Abraham is president of the Personal Banking Division and is responsible for the delivery of comprehensive financial services for consumers across UMB's footprint. She joined UMB in 2005 and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Dana earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in both accounting and economics from the University of Louisiana. She is a graduate of Leadership Overland Park and Kansas City Tomorrow Leadership programs.



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