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Q&A Series with Ben Morris, President of UMB Healthcare Services

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Part Two: Ann Mond Johnson examines how employers can effectively maximize their employees’ health care benefits

Repeal and replacement of the ACA didn’t happen, now what? UMB Healthcare Services’ Strategic Advisory Council, made up of five leading industry experts in a variety of health care, benefits and research-related fields, will discuss the uncertainty surrounding health care and how to manage health care costs in our April 27th webinar. Gearing up for the webinar, we asked members of our Strategic Advisory Council questions about their outlook for the future of health care and tips for managing health care costs. 

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In this Q&A series, I talk with Ann Mond Johnson, health care innovator and executive, about how employers can effectively maximize employees’ health care benefits, make wellness a key aspect of company culture and the future of making health care easier to understand and access.

What should employers be doing to effectively maximize their employees’ health care benefits?

Employees can maximize their benefit dollars when they understand what they’re selecting and are able to choose benefits that are most appropriate for them and their families. After all, people don’t want to buy health insurance; they want security for themselves and their families. They need protection against a financial disaster. Employers can help employees make better health care selections by providing comprehensive education on benefits and how to use benefits year-round. By engaging in the health care conversation throughout the year, employers can help employees make informed, thoughtful decisions.

How can employers make wellness a part of their culture?

Everything we’ve seen and read indicates that the most effective organizations “practice what they preach,” starting at the top of the organization. It doesn’t have to be very involved or expensive. Given that there are five big contributors to good health (tobacco, food choices, BMI, physical activity and unmanaged stress) focusing on at least one of these can likely make an impact. Employers can encourage a culture of wellness for their employees by providing useful resources such as timely and educational communications, sponsoring teams of employees for local races and having healthy food choices in on premise facilities.

Is health care going to become more complicated or easier for consumers?

It is imperative to make it easier for people to access and understand health care. But what does that really mean? First off, it needs to be easier for consumers to make the right decisions about their benefits, starting with health insurance. Second, they should understand how to make decisions that impact their health. Employees also need to understand what constitutes reliable sources of information. Finally, since we’re consumers until we become patients, we need more insights and transparency about the choices we make when we become patients – about drugs, physicians, treatments and facilities.

Are there any other topics or points that you want to touch on?

There is a growing acknowledgement of a close link between physical, emotional and financial health. Employers have the opportunity to help guide and encourage employees to make informed decisions about their general wellness. Offering programs that look at overall wellness is a great way to encourage the happiness and health of employees.

View this brief video for further thoughts from Ann Mond.

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Introducing our 2016 Annual Report

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We are pleased to share the UMB Financial Corporation 2016 Annual Report with you. In addition to the financial information, our report includes a message from our leadership teams and key data from other areas of our diverse business.

As we look to the future, we first want to thank our clients. We are proud of all that was accomplished during the past year, none of which would have been possible without their support and trust.

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2016 was a great year for UMB. We recorded record revenue, improved net income and renewed our commitment to operational efficiency and financial discipline.

We achieved several noteworthy milestones across many divisions of our company. For example, our UMB Private Wealth Management division expanded into Dallas and Ft. Worth, Texas.

We also retained our number one Kansas City market share leader in deposits ranking for the sixth year in a row. We saw growth in commercial and industrial loans, average commercial deposits and commercial real estate loans, as well as growth in total commercial earning assets.

In Fund Services, we saw growth in both alternative investment funds and private equity funds serviced, as well as continued asset growth in the Investment Managers Series Trusts.

All that said, our greatest asset continues to our talented associates and their commitment to delivering the unparalleled customer experience.

Thank you for the trust and confidence you place in us.

-Mariner Kemper


Mr. Kemper is the chairman and chief executive officer of UMB Financial Corporation and UMB Bank, n.a. He joined UMB in 1997. Mr. Kemper is active in both civic and philanthropic endeavors. One of the causes he is most passionate about is the arts. He currently serves as a trustee and executive committee member for the Denver Art Museum and is a past board member for The Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City.



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Q&A with President of UMB Healthcare Services Ben Morris and Jen Benz, CEO of Benz Communication

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Part One: Q&A with President of UMB Healthcare Services Ben Morris and Jen Benz, CEO of Benz Communication

Healthcare is one of the most important benefits employees will take advantage of in their careers, but many employees don’t think about or fully understand their benefits until they have a situation where they need to use them.

President of UMB Healthcare Services Ben Morris recently asked Jen Benz, CEO of Benz Communication a few questions on how employers can help employees better understand their healthcare options and benefits.

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How should employers be talking to their employees about healthcare benefits?

Employers are uniquely positioned to help employees understand their healthcare benefits. A big part of that is helping them understand the different options that are available to them. This means not only helping them choose the program that will benefit them the most physically, but also financially and emotionally. In our experience, we’ve found this is best done by engaging employees in a concerted communication effort using three tried and true tactics:

  1. Get online.
    Providing a single website for healthcare related questions, and a streamlined benefits website gives employees and family members access to valuable content. Having a secure vendor website also makes it easy to take action and complete transactions. This way, employees can get the information they need and act by visiting just one website.
  2. Engage with employees and their families year-round.
    Employees need information year-round on how to use benefits effectively. Believe it or not, many companies still talk to employees about their benefits only once a year. However, as we’ve seen, healthcare laws can and do change, and providing constant communication about how new and evolving rules and regulations could affect employees becomes even more important.
  3. Measure and improve.
    How effective is your communication? Look at web traffic, email click-through and open rates and meeting attendance. What’s your program participation and use? Gain a clear picture of communication effectiveness and gaps by looking at:

    • Health and wellness plan enrollment and participation
    • Preventive care, financial wellness program and employee assistance program utilization
    • Health and financial outcomes—for instance, biometric and claims data as well as retirement plan and HSA balances show where employees are doing well and where they’re still getting stuck.

You mentioned engaging with employees and their families year-round. What sort of conversations and educational opportunities can be used to engage employees?

When it comes to employees, one size most definitely does not fit all. You’ll learn more about employees as individuals by asking the questions that matter. You will also gain greater insight into what drives your people when you view them as individuals and focus your information-gathering activities accordingly. Once you know what matters most to them, you can start to build messages and education opportunities that better resonate, helping to educate them about the things they care about, which is a win/win.

Should employers focus conversations on health rather than benefit selection?

They’re both equally important conversations to have with employees. During enrollment, it’s the employer’s job to make things easy and clear—and make sure employees and their families are focused on what they need to do at that time.

In reality, the most important questions employees have are also the most basic: What’s new? What will it cost me? What do I have to do? Make sure you answer these questions in a simple and direct manner. A one-page enrollment “tip sheet” that lists changes, includes brief enrollment instructions, and tells employees and families where to go for details will usually suffice. Some employees want just the top-line info, while others want all the details. This one-page overview will be helpful for both groups.




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Market Minutes with KC Mathews

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Chief Investment Officer KC Mathews recently completed a two-day media briefing in New York City, where he shared his thoughts on current market conditions as well as information on his 2017 forecast with CNBC, CNN Money, and Bloomberg Radio. Listen to the brief podcast and read the articles below to learn more about what KC is expecting to see over the course of the year.

Also, read KC’s recent economic articles, which give more detailed information on where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

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.

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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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Meet the Leadership: Uma Wilson, Director of Product Management

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Q&A with Uma Wilson, Director of Product Management

Tell us about yourself.Uma Wilson, age 16
I was born and grew up in India until my early teens. I am an only child, and I suppose I received way too much attention. My mom, especially, was very keen on my studies (all the credit goes to her!). I was fortunate enough to graduate with honors and was offered an internship to come to the United States to work for a Fortune 100 company.

I learned many lessons during this journey, especially the meaning of humility. I was faced with a huge cultural change and, like any teen, I struggled a bit. Luckily, though, I was surrounded by good mentors that taught me much more than any book did.

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What about your past shaped who you are today?
My parents taught me the value of hard work and, at the same time, the value of people. Growing up I had to work extremely hard to sustain my placement in a private school, which was expensive for my parents. I’m thankful to my sponsors who believed in me and gave me every opportunity which in turn defined my future.

Did you always know you would be in banking?
No – during college and even after graduation, my natural inclination was towards technology. I had the background and exited college during the era of the computer age and Y2K. However, I quickly realized I enjoyed banking and finance and opted to go this route instead, and am so glad I did.

Tell us about your time with UMB
I’ve been with UMB for 10 years, and looking back at my college self, would never have thought I would be where I am right now. I’ve always been passionate about product management, and since entering this field, my ambition has been to be head of product. And today—because of the amazing career pathing I’ve received—here I am, doing my dream job.

Is there a defining career moment that comes to mind?
Uma Wilson and family in New York CityMy defining moment was when I received feedback from my first team—that is when I transitioned from being a manager to a leader. Being a leader is about giving direction and focusing on your team and their success.

We’ve talked about your life at different stages. Looking back, what advice would you give your 20-year-old self today?
I would explain the importance of focusing on learning, building relationships and developing the patience that comes with those items. When I was 20, the world seemed much simpler, and I remember there were times it seemed there was an easy solution to doing things better.

At that time, I didn’t understand it’s the “what and how” behind doing it better. Learning how to identify potential improvements, embracing the process, challenging things, and again, developing the patience to do all this.

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What life lessons do you hope to pass down to your children?
My life lessons are an extension of what my parents passed down to me. As I said earlier, they taught me the importance of a strong work ethic, and my husband John and I are focused on instilling that in our two children.

We always tell them that regardless of how small or big the project is, put your heart into it—be prepared, and you will be successful.

Uma Wilson is executive vice president and director of product management for UMB, which includes developing product strategy, road map, business plans and P&L management for the depository, digital, payments and card solutions. She joined UMB in 2006 and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.

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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Meet the Veterans: Mark Murphy

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UMB is fortunate to have several veterans on our team, and we’re proud to hire veterans in our local communities. This series highlights some of our associates who have served their country in the military prior to joining UMB.

Q&A with Mark Murphy, Captain, Field Artillery, United States Army

Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Lancaster, Ohio, a town of approximately 40,000 people located just south of Columbus, Ohio. As much as I enjoyed Lancaster while growing up, I always knew I wanted to leave and experience more dynamic settings. I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from the University of Southern California (USC) where I studied film.

My time at USC was entertaining, but by the end of my senior year, I had lost interest in working in Hollywood. With the assistance of one of my history professors, I secured a position teaching English for the Japanese government. I not only worked alongside Japanese, but other Americans, Canadians, Australians and Britons. When my teaching contract ended, I headed back to the United States, and immediately attempted to join the Navy, but ultimately ended up in the Army.

Why did you choose to join the military?
Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated by history and international relations, so joining the military seemed like a natural extension of both these interests. Also, most of my relatives are veterans, so the military culture was never alien to me.

Give us some highlights about your military career.
After completing approximately 18 months of initial training in Georgia and Oklahoma, I was assigned to the Second Infantry Division in Camp Hovey, South Korea. I was there less than eight months when our entire brigade (approximately 4,000 personnel) was deployed to the Al-Anbar Province in western Iraq. We landed in Kuwait in August 2004, spent a few weeks training and acclimating to the oven-like temperatures, and then convoyed to neighboring Iraq.

Mark Murphy Iraq

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Our brigade operated out of the provincial capital Ramadi, which in the weeks after our arrival deteriorated into one of the most violent cities in the world. The artillery battery I belonged to was responsible for providing 24/7 security to a sector on the outskirts of the city. We spent several hours a day patrolling the streets and markets, frequently stopping to establish a temporary traffic checkpoint or interview locals about the situation. Some nights we would conduct raids on suspected insurgent hideouts.

The first month was relatively calm, but in October the insurgent activity spiked dramatically, and we started taking a number of casualties. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs), snipers and suicide bombers were the main culprits. The latter were the scariest because there is very little you can do to deter someone who is already trying to kill themselves.

By the end of the tour our brigade had suffered 68 killed and several hundred wounded. Our artillery battery lost six soldiers to combat and another to suicide—plus five more that were so seriously wounded they had to be evacuated to a military hospital in Germany. It was eerie to return to our barracks after one of our people had been killed and find all of their possessions arranged exactly how they had left them only a few hours before.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hardships endured by the residents of Ramadi. To this day, I am not sure how they managed to go about their daily lives while thousands of strangers —American troops, Iraqi insurgents, and foreign jihadists—roamed the city streets trying to kill one another in increasingly creative and destructive ways.

After the tour, the Army didn’t return us to South Korea, but instead sent us to Fort Carson, located in Colorado Springs, Colo. This proved to be a much more agreeable setting than Ramadi. The following year I left the Army, and headed to Cusco, Peru to attend an intensive, Spanish language immersion school.

How did you come to be at UMB? What made you want to work here?
I was enrolled in the Executive MBA program at Washington University in St. Louis. One of my classmates, Steve Marin, had recently retired from the Air Force and secured a position at UMB. UMB had an excellent reputation in the community and the financial industry seemed to offer good opportunities. With Steve’s assistance I applied, and was lucky enough to be hired.

What about your past shaped who you are today?
My personality, behavior, beliefs and interests are largely a product of the following influences: the Midwest, East Asia, Catholic school, National Geographic, nature, libraries, Hollywood and the military. Put them all in a blender, hit “mix,” and the resulting concoction will resemble me.


Mark Murphy is the UDAAP Compliance Analyst for UMB. He is responsible for reviewing marketing materials, performing product reviews, and creating and maintaining UDAAP focused risk assessments. Mark joined UMB in 2015. He is a 2014 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis’ Executive MBA program, and also holds degrees from the University of Kansas and the University of Southern California.



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