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Financial Words of the Week (Small Business Month): SWOT Analysis

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FWOTW

Now that we’ve entered Q3, it’s 2015 planning time for small business owners. What better way to plan than by returning to the method you probably learned in business school: a SWOT analysis? SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This analysis will lead to better awareness of your organization and insight into areas of growth, especially heading into a new year.

Strengths and Weaknesses

This should be an internal review. What are you doing well that is separating you from your competition (talent, product, process, etc)?  Understanding your company’s weaknesses is just as important and sometimes difficult to discover. Think of objections you might get during the sales process.  Keep your strengths in mind as you review your business as you might be able to leverage them to offset a weakness in your organization.

Opportunities and Threats

Many businesses are great at evaluating internally, but are challenged to look externally. Looking beyond your direct competition is important. How could government, technology, talent allow for an opportunity for growth in your market?

SWOT

Once the analysis is complete, ask for feedback from your senior leaders.  Develop a plan that will allow you to minimize your threats and capitalize on your opportunities.  Assign owners to these projects and take your business to the next level.

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.



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Meet the Leadership Series: John Wilson, Springfield Community Bank President

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Q&A with John Wilson

Get to know our leaders a little better. John Wilson joined UMB in 2012 and was recently promoted to community bank president for UMB Bank in Springfield.
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What about your past shaped who you are today?

I grew up in Tucson, Arizona. I graduated from Northern Arizona University and also the Pacific Coast Banking School in Seattle. My first job was as a teller in Tucson for what became Wells Fargo Bank.  We have moved several times during my career, each time for a better professional opportunity.  A promotional opportunity arose 10 years ago so we moved from Washington to Springfield, near where my parents were born and raised.

I have found that being mobile has lead to better career advancement and a number of different life experiences.  We have lived in five cities including Tucson, Flagstaff, Seattle, Yakima and now Springfield.

What makes a community bank president great?

A community bank president must be a coach, motivator, mentor and a subject matter expert for his/her team and support staff.  This person also has to be highly visible and highly respected in the community.

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What is the greatest challenge for community banks going into 2015? 

Pressure on net interest margin combined with the rising costs associated with complying with regulations is a huge challenge for all banks, particularly smaller community banks.  In the case of UMB, I think our expansion/investment in select markets using an efficient infrastructure will benefit us.

What are your favorite ways to give back in the Springfield community?

As bankers we tend to having working knowledge of many industries, therefore I think we make good board members. I enjoy the diversity of thought and opinions that I experience while serving on a non-profit board or being a volunteer. It allows me to broaden my horizons and grow as a person. I advise my team to volunteer and tell them it will help their professional career in many ways.

Tell us about your family

I met my wife Gwen in college and am proud to say that we recently celebrated our 40th anniversary. We have two sons–one is a physical therapist who lives in western Montana, and the other is in industrial lighting sales and lives in Seattle.  We recently found out we will be grandparents early in 2015!
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Where are your favorite places to travel?

Anywhere there is a beach or golf course or some type of adventure.  Several years ago, we spent a week floating down the Grand Canyon.  It was a fabulous experience.
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What are your favorite ways to spend a weekend?

My wife and I play a lot of golf together on weekends.  We also snow ski although that is a little harder to do in Missouri!
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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.


Mr. Wilson is a Community Bank President for UMB in Springfield, MO. He is responsible for UMB’s Springfield commercial lending office. He joined UMB in 2012 and has 35 years of experience in the financial services industry.



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How saving money differs in your 40s, 50s and 60s

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We already told you how your financial goals and habits vary from decade to decade in your 20s and 30s. The same is true as you move into your 40s and up until retirement. Here are some pro tips on how to take full advantage of each unique decade.

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Things to DO in your 40s

Do meet with a financial planner to make sure you’re on the right track to retire when you want and with the right amount to continue living the lifestyle you want. Retirement may seem very far away, but you don’t want to let yourself be caught in your early 60s playing catch-up on your 401(k).

Do decide how saving for major purchases balances with your retirement saving. If you have children, are you going to pay for all or some of their college tuition? What about your children’s weddings? These are examples of things that can cause parents to be caught off guard and can put a pause on your important retirement saving. For more information on these decisions, take a look at our recent post on Kids’ college vs. retirement: where to save?

And one thing to AVOID in your 40s

Don’t miss out on the maximum match from your employer on your retirement plan. As we’ve recommended from your first job in your 20s, be sure to take full advantage of the match from your employer. Of course, going above that amount is also a great idea; just be sure you’re reaching that minimum amount to get your full match.

 

Things to DO in your 50s 

Do think of this decade as your time to save the most (less expenses with children out of the home and typically higher income than you earned earlier in your career). Consider paying off high-cost debt, such as your mortgage, if you haven’t already and then save aggressively.

Do add catch-up contributions to your retirement savings. Even if you’re tracking well toward your retirement goals, you’re allowed to save more now, so do it!

And one thing to AVOID in your 50s

Don’t wait until your 60s to purchase long-term care insurance. The average age to buy this type of insurance is 57. If you wait until a few years later, it will be much more expensive.


Things to DO in your 60s
 

Do prepare aggressively for retirement…even before your planned last day of work. It’s difficult to predict when health, layoffs or extra time needed to care for your aging parents will cause you to retire earlier. This is the case with more than 40 percent of workers.

Do think about downsizing. This isn’t something that needs to wait until you’re already retired. If you’re single or if it’s just you and your spouse in your home, consider where you want to live for the next few decades and if moving makes sense.

And one thing to AVOID in your 60s

Don’t keep the same insurance policies you had in your 30s. You might not need life insurance anymore. Check your long-term care insurance policy to see what benefits it includes.

Remember, whether you’re 21 or 68, it’s never too late to improve your financial plan.

 

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References: *2012 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Inspired by a Daily Finance article

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.


Ms. Ponce is a Financial Center Manager for UMB Bank. She is responsible for managing the Collinsville micro-market. She joined UMB in 1991 and has 23 years of experience in the financial services industry.



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Financial Words of the Week (Small Business Month): Recurring Revenue

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FWOTW

As we enter 2015, many business owners will be looking for ways to find to keep making money in their industry.  Recurring revenue is the segment of a company’s profits expected to return the next year. It does not include one-time payments from customers. Predictability and stability of revenue is key and is often a challenge for business owners. If you can move from a 0 percent recurring revenue model to one of 10 percent, you will dramatically increase the value of your organization.

Examples of recurring revenue are monthly service contracts and subscriptions. As a business owner, how can you overcome the challenge of having customers who are hesitant to commit to long-term arrangements, but showing them the value in these contracts? Think proactively instead of reactively when it comes to products or services you can offer. The more proactive, the more value consumers can see.

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.



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Hometown Perspective: Springfield, Missouri

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Learn more about Springfield and Southwest Missouri’s history of economic stability and vibrancy. Diversity with healthcare, education, trucking, tourism and more, this region avoids relying on only one or two industries like so many U.S. regions.

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Ms. Baker serves as President of the Greater Missouri Region. She works with commercial and institutional clients providing credit and treasury management services. She is also active in the community with significant experience in supporting economic development initiatives in the Springfield area and across Missouri.



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Kids’ college vs. retirement: where to save?

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In a perfect world, you could save for your retirement AND your children’s higher education. But what if it comes down to a choice between the two…which one should be the priority? Loving parents may not love our answer.

Of course, launching your college-graduated children into the world debt-free is an admirable goal and the topic of an upcoming blog post. However, doing so at the expense of your own retirement goals is not advisable.

Parents are starting to move their focus more toward retirement savings and less toward their children’s education costs, according to a report from Fidelity Investments. The survey reported among long-term savers, 55 percent are saving for retirement while 33 percent are saving for their children’s college tuition. That split was closer to equal last year, but many parents are realizing that their children have several options to help pay for college—loans, scholarships and grants—options that simply don’t exist when saving for retirement.
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How to save for retirement

You may not realize that savings anxiety exists at several different income levels. The lack of retirement preparation in the $20,000 to $30,000 income range (with nearly nine out of 10 individuals reporting they were not prepared) was surprisingly close to those making $100,000 to $150,000 (with nearly eight out of 10 giving similar answers).*

So how do you take charge of your financial future? If you’re in your 20s or 30s, you have more time to ensure a comfortable retirement. Just make sure you start right away. If you’re older than 40, we have a blog post next month that will offer specific advice for saving in your 40s, 50s and 60s. Regardless of your income, the best way to start is by taking the simple advice: determine what you can put away starting right now and do it. The sacrifice now will be worth it later.

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*Source: American Consumer Credit Counseling survey

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.


Mr. Bryan Joiner is a Financial Center Manager for UMB Bank, N.A in St. Charles, Missouri. He is responsible for managing a team that advises consumer and small business clients on financial decisions, such as how to lower debt and save more. He joined UMB in 2011 and has three years of experience in the financial services industry.



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Financial Words of the Week: Back to School – Joint Accounts & Online Banking

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FWOTW

Back to School Series

When a high school graduate moves away from home, an adjustment period inevitably follows. Paying bills, maintaining jobs and making sure their checking accounts remain positive, can cause college freshmen and new-to-the-work-force employees to struggle with finding a balance.

Whether you’re in this situation yourself or you have a child who is adapting to this new life, opening a joint checking/savings account and online banking can be helpful tools for a smooth transition.

Many banks offer free accounts for college and high school students that do not charge a monthly fee for maintaining an account. The minimum balance requirements are often more flexible since many students don’t have the income to satisfy typical account requirements. By opening a joint account, a parent or guardian can easily track spending and transfer money.  One of the best ways to do this is by utilizing online and mobile banking, which is free at most banks. You can see full transaction history and statements, transfer money from one account to the next, or see how much you have saved … all from your computer or smart phone. Many banks even have options for those who do not have smart phones that utilize text messaging commands.

By working together with your family’s bank, you can ensure you and your student have the right foundation for great educational and fiscal responsibility.

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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 financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.



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Export-Import Bank charter: what you need to know

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What is the Export-Import Bank?

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) is the official export credit agency of the United States. ExIm fills gaps in the trade finance market by working with lenders and brokers to ensure that U.S. businesses get what they need to sell abroad and be competitive in international markets.*

Here’s an example of a business that would use Ex-Im: ABC Company realized to grow their international sales, they needed protection against foreign buyers who might fail to pay them, or non-payment risk protection. Ex-Im approves a small business export credit insurance policy. A few months later, ABC Company sold $500,000 of products to China. Ex-Im had mitigated ABC’s fear of non-payment since the policy covered 95 percent of the commercial and political risks.

Both Democrats and Republicans are working to present a bill to renew the charter while other lawmakers would rather let the charter expire. Those against renewing the charter argue that the bank is a form of “corporate welfare.” Lawmakers who encourage renewal assert that Ex-Im helps U.S. exporters compete against foreign companies, which are backed by their government sponsored Economic Consulting Associations. This results in the generation of 2 billion government-funded dollars for U.S. taxpayers, but with zero cost to the U.S. taxpayer.

Who is affected?

Supporters of the bank charter include large companies such as Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar.

However, the smaller businesses who use the ExIm services could also be impacted, possibly even more than the larger ones. Take a look at the below chart and facts showing a snapshot of ExIm Bank throughout the last five years.

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Source: Ex-Im website

Current Status

The Ex-Im Bank Charter was set to expire on September 30, however the House and Senate passed a continuing resolution which will extend it through June 30, 2015. During the next nine months, supporters and detractors will lobby for merits of Ex-Im and potential reforms. UMB will continue to monitor the progress and update you on what you need to know.

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*source: ExIm.gov

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.


Mr. Jarrett is the senior vice president, director of international services and sales for UMB. He is responsible for the overall leadership and product strategy for foreign exchange, trade finance and Canadian cash management. He joined UMB in 2013 and has 15 years of experience in the financial services industry. A native of Quito, Ecuador, Paul earned a Bachelor of Science – Accounting degree, from Palm Beach Atlantic University in Palm Beach, Florida.



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Talk is not cheap when it comes to family money

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The most important concept to understand when transferring wealth is the communication plan. It may be difficult, but here’s why you need to focus on it.

Click “continue reading” for more a more in-depth look at this topic.

 

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How to broach the subject of transferring wealth to your children and grandchildren

Money used to be a taboo topic—one your great-grandparents and grandparents would never consider discussing with the next generation. However, times have changed—and so has the thought on these conversations. People want to talk about it while they’re still able to, and there are many benefits to that.

Why the big shift? New wealth, complicated investing vehicles and legacy desires are a few reasons. Many people have seen the challenges that come with unexplained inheritance parameters and instructions. However, discussing your strategies with beneficiaries ahead of time can eliminate confusion, frustration and hurt feelings.

With money comes responsibility and expectations

Educating your beneficiaries on the responsibilities that come with inheriting wealth is important, particularly if you would like your wealth to live beyond the next generation. As you formulate strategies to leave your hard-earned assets to loved ones, you may wish to structure a plan that provides financial security for not only your immediate heirs, but theirs as well.

Start the conversation early

Your children need to be old enough to understand the information, but you can begin talking with them about areas like philanthropy as early as grade school. For example, if your family makes an annual donation, you can involve your children in choosing recipients. Discuss causes that are important to them. Maybe they love pets or want to help give other kids presents for the holidays. Talk about it and let them help pick who you support.

As your children enter the high school years, you can work with your financial advisor to help introduce fundamentals like budgeting and personal cash flow management. Then during their early to mid-20s, you can begin conversations about your estate plan.

Share the strategy

Wealth advisors, or financial planners, generally start the conversation with the older generation about how to share their estate planning details. This is one of the most significant services these advisors provide, because they assist in explaining the estate plan structure, and many times will facilitate the conversation about the strategy.

Inheritors have a lot of questions when discussing their trusts and the strategy behind them, sometimes misunderstanding the intent.  Wealth advisors are neutral parties who explain that securing assets until a certain age is a strategic step. Whether it’s done to ensure measured wealth disbursement or to enable the inheritor to mature before accessing funds, these decisions are made from a comprehensive planning standpoint.

Intergenerational wealth transfer is an extremely complicated process—it can be complicated to execute and emotions are always a factor. Talk with your wealth advisor—they can proactively counsel and assist in both building your strategy and communicating amongst generations. Having these conversations can be the difference in you leaving a gift and establishing a legacy.


Mr. Clyne is a Vice President, Wealth Advisor for UMB Private Wealth Management. He is responsible for delivering customized financial planning with an emphasis on the areas of risk management, investment and wealth transfer. He joined UMB in 2011 and has 11 years of experience in the financial services industry. He serves on St. Louis University Finance Department Advisory Board and Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts.



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Financial Words of the Week: Back to School – Student Loans / FAFSA

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FWOTW

Back to School Series

There are different types of student aid that come from various sources. Aid can be in the form of grants (money that is not required to be paid back) that come from schools, private organizations or even from the state and federal government. Some students enter work-study programs that allow them to earn money towards their education as another type of aid. The most common form of aid comes from student loans.

Student loans are funds that are made available for students and guardians to pay for education expenses. It is important to note that, like all other loans, student loans are required to be paid back. However, many student loans offer a deferment period that eliminates the need for payments while a student is in school. There are some loans that are subsidized, so that while a student is in school, the loans don’t accrue interest that the student will have to pay. The federal government is actually paying that interest, not the student.  There are also unsubsidized loans in which the interest accrues while the student is still in school. There still may be the option to utilize in-school deferment, but the interest adds up the entire time the loan exists.

Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start and which form of aid you may be eligible for. That is where Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) comes in. The FAFSA is a form developed by the federal government that helps determine what types of aid students qualify for. Most colleges require that you complete the FAFSA when applying for financial aid. Visit FAFSA’s websiteto find out more details.

Remember to also work with a bank partner or trusted financial advisor, your high school guidance counselor and your college admissions office to understand if there are any additional resources for your education expenses.

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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 financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.



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