Is the Bond Market Wrong?

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After the surprise election results in 2016, domestic markets experienced the “Trump Bump,” which entailed a traditional risk-on shift—investors bought stocks and sold bonds to prepare for the presumed good times ahead. Stock values and interest rates both shot higher in anticipation of a boost to both economic activity and inflation.

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Trump Bump to Trump Slump

However, after a few months of treading water early in the New Year, interest rates began a steady decline. The 10-year Treasury note dropped from 2.60 percent to 2.25 percent in just a few weeks.

This occurred despite an early increase in overnight rates by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and clear messaging that they are prepared to continue the upward march in rates as part of a gradual “normalization.” All the while, stock prices remained resilient and repeatedly bumped up against all-time highs.

Debates and Head-Scratching

The drop in long-term rates created a flattening of the treasury yield curve, something that typically occurs near the end of a Fed tightening cycle, as the economy begins to slow down.

This rate drop and curve flattening has triggered a healthy debate throughout the

investment industry. It appears the bond market is signaling that the economy isn’t going to be nearly as strong as the equity market is discounting.

Historically, a flattening yield curve has been a strong, early indicator of economic deceleration—so the divergence between stock prices and interest rates has unleashed some serious head-scratching.

Disagreement Abounds

As a further complication, the Fed Funds futures market—the bond market’s estimate of where overnight rates are headed—is substantially below the FOMC’s estimates for where they’re planning to move rates. The FOMC expects overnight rates (and money market rates) to head to 1.50 percent in 2017 and rise to 2.20 percent in 2018, which is good news for savers. However, the futures market is placing overnight rates at only 1.25 percent and 1.50 percent in 2017 and 2018.

It appears that the bond market currently disagrees with both the FOMC and the stock market on the strength of the economy and the path of rates, raising the question, “Is the bond market wrong?”

Countering the Contrarian View

At this point, our answer is “yes, we believe the bond market is wrong.”  While it’s usually not fruitful to bet against the bond market, we believe several factors are causing it to paint a contrarian (versus the stock market) picture at this time:

  1. Assumption that the new administration will not get any stimulus plans enacted
    The bond market appears to be responding to the president’s early challenges with enacting campaign promises.
  2. Global interest rates
    Global interest rates are still well below the U.S. The glut of excess savings from around the world is still chasing U.S. rates whenever they rise, making it difficult for our rates to rise as much as they might otherwise.
  3. Normalization cycle
    Bond investors around the world are assuming the current Fed normalization cycle will play out in a similar manner to how the entire global financial crisis cycle has unwound—much slower than anyone anticipated. They are betting against any “upside surprises” for the economy or inflation, and it’s been a very long time since we’ve had either.
  4. Extreme caution in rising rates
    The bond market believes the FOMC will exhibit extreme caution in edging rates higher because it fears rising rates will tip the economy back toward a slowdown.The bond markets are not signaling that an economic slowdown is eminent, but rather that rate normalization will not be possible at the pace indicated by the Fed and most forecasters.

Why we believe the bond markets are wrong:

  1. We believe the new administration will succeed in enacting tax cuts and infrastructure programs—both will involve compromise and delays, but they will ultimately be accomplished, and both should point toward higher rates.
  2. We believe the global savings glut is in the very early stages of abating, so the artificial “lid” on interest rates may be slowly dissipating.
  3. While the last decade has been one of extremely slow movements from the Fed, it appears wage pressure is building throughout our economy—a precursor to inflation. Economic momentum is turning upward in Europe as well. These trends will allow the Fed to push forward with rate normalization at the pace reflected in most forecasts.
  4. Interest rates are exceptionally and unsustainably low, particularly given that we are experiencing a modest global upturn. Even after the Fed’s projected upward adjustments, interest rates will still be exceptionally low—modestly higher rates are not a threat to the economy or a barrier to normalization. For these reasons, we believe the bond markets are not properly reflecting the most likely path for interest rates over the next two years. There are risks to this outlook, but the most likely outcome is an upward shift of roughly 1.00-1.50 percent over the next two years.

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

Mr. Kelley is managing director of fixed income at UMB and is responsible for overseeing the product development and management of the fixed income holdings for the Wealth Management division. Mr. Kelley earned a Master’s of Business Administration from Baker University in Kansas City.

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HSAs 101: What You Need To Know – Part One

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Health savings accounts (HSAs) are being discussed as an integral part of the 2017 American Healthcare Act (AHA), the proposed replacement plan for the Obama Administration’s 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As the popularity of HSAs grows and they continue to be considered a key component of the AHA, understanding how they work is becoming increasingly important.

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According to a Midyear 2016 report from Devenir, HSAs have grown to an estimated 18.2 million accounts with $34.7 billion in assets nationwide—a year-over-year increase of 22 percent.

Educating yourself about the benefits and rules of an HSA is the first step to getting the most out of this health care savings option.

What is an HSA?

A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged account that an individual can use to pay for qualified medical expenses, long-term care expenses, or invest and save for retirement. Individuals can only contribute to an HSA if they are enrolled in a qualified high deductible health plan (QHDHP). Individuals can’t have any disqualifying coverage (including Medicare) and can’t be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return.

HSA-qualified plans must also meet requirements for minimum deductible and maximum out-of-pocket expenses levels. For 2017, the maximum annual HSA contribution is $3,400 for individuals with self-only coverage and $6,750 for individuals with family coverage.

What are the benefits of an HSA?

  1. Triple tax advantage*

HSA contributions go in tax-free, grow tax-free and are spent tax-free if withdrawn for eligible medical expenses.1 In addition, when making an HSA contribution directly through payroll, employees do not pay payroll taxes.

  1. HSAs are individually owned

HSAs are owned by the individual, not by the employer. This means there’s no “use it or lose it” rule – like with  flexible spending accounts (FSAs) – so any money left in the account at the end of the year rolls over to the next. Also, the HSA-holder keeps the account, even when changing employers or health plans.

  1. HSAs can be used as a retirement saving tool

HSAs are a powerful tool to save for health care costs in retirement. Fidelity Benefits Consulting estimates the average retired 65-year-old couple will need $260,000 to cover medical expenses throughout retirement. Because of the triple tax advantage*, HSAs are a tax-effective way to save for these future expenses. After retirement age, individuals can use the HSA funds for non-medical expenses without paying any penalty and with similar taxation to withdrawals from other retirement savings accounts (e.g. 401(k)s).

What is the best way to use HSAs?

The best use of an HSA is to help individuals better manage medical expenses today and in the future. One of the main reasons to establish an HSA is to help account holders pay for the out-of-pocket expenses until they meet the deductible in a QHDHP. However, many account holders treat their HSAs as pseudo checking accounts, paying for health care expenses as they occur and doing little to save for health care costs in retirement. In doing so, many HSA-holders are missing out on the potential for triple tax advantages* inherent in an HSA, something not found in other retirement savings vehicles.

*Neither UMB Bank n.a., nor its parent, subsidiaries, or affiliates are engaged in rendering tax or legal advice.  All mention of taxes is made in reference to federal tax law.  States can choose to follow the federal tax-treatment guidelines for HSAs or establish their own; some states tax HSA contributions.  Please check with your state’s tax laws to determine the treatment of HSA contributions, or consult your tax adviser.

1Withdrawls for non-qualified medical expenses are subject to income taxes and a possible additional 20% penalty, if you’re under age 65.

Ms. Klumb serves as CEO, UMB Healthcare Services. Previously, she served as executive vice president, chief strategy officer. She joined UMB in 2003, after completing her MBA at Yale University. She also holds an MA from Hochschule Fulda and a BA from the Universitat d'Alacant. Ms. Klumb is actively involved in the community. She was appointed by the mayor to the Summer Youth Employment Commission, she chaired the Mattie Rhodes Center board, and she was a co-chair a for Academie Lafayette's successful capital campaign.

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Monthly Media Update – April

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President Trump’s first 100 days in office, trends in wealth management, HSA benefits and economic conditions were just a few of the topics our associates provided perspective on over the past month.

From the Wall Street Journal and USA Today to the Kansas City Business Journal, stay informed of industry trends and noteworthy company news by visiting our UMB in the News section on, 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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CEO Corner: UMBF Earnings Summary

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As we head into spring and close another successful quarter of financial performance at UMB, I would like to take a moment to look back at recent activity and to share key highlights from our first quarter earnings report.

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Here are some noteworthy items from first quarter of 2017:

  • We had a strong first quarter with net income of $44.2 million.
  • We continue to post double-digit year-over-year loan growth.
  • This loan growth, along with our efforts to achieve an optimal mix of earning assets and increased loan yields, drove a 13.9 percent increase in net interest income.

We also recently announced our plans to sell Scout Investments (Scout) following a strategic review of our businesses, including the capital needs for each of them.

After evaluating our core strengths and the competitive environment in which Scout operates, we were faced with a decision to either achieve scale through acquisitions or to exit the business and deploy capital generated into our core banking operations.

We believe we found the right partner, both culturally for associates and for the enhanced distribution capabilities, scale and resources needed to further Scout.

We want to be clear that this agreement to sell Scout does not diminish our commitment to investment management for individuals and institutions.

We continue to offer asset management solutions to our private wealth, Prairie Capital Management and institutional banking clients. We have experienced robust growth in these businesses, and that growth continued in the first quarter of 2017.

It’s also worth noting that diverse revenue streams continue to be an important part of our business model. We have many growth avenues to replace the revenue provided by Scout, including our Healthcare Services, Institutional Banking and Fund Services businesses, as well as continued loan growth.

As we head into the second quarter, we remain focused. Focused on our key priorities. Focused on providing excellent service. And, most importantly, focused on partnering with our customers for success.

Mariner 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 Series with Ben Morris, President of UMB Healthcare Services Part Three: Roy Ramthun Breaks Down the Political Landscape for HSAs

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With the demise of the American Health Care Act, there are a lot of unknowns in the health care industry. 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 future of health care and what to do during this period of uncertainty 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.

In the third Q&A series, I talk with Roy Ramthun, president of HSA Consulting Services, about the political landscape and outlook for consumer directed health care. We look at the impact on health savings accounts (HSAs), high deductible health plans, and the private market and exchanges.

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What is the political landscape for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) in the future?

I see the political landscape for HSAs as being very positive. Since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, health plan deductibles have increased dramatically and people have become very concerned about high out of pocket costs. Fortunately, HSAs are perfectly suited to help people protect themselves by putting aside money for those out of pocket costs while providing them tax savings. With the triple tax advantage that HSAs offer, it’s like the government gives you a rebate every time you put money into your HSA.

Everything I am seeing suggests that more employers are going to be offering HSAs to their employees in the future. The discussion occurring in Washington, while still unsettled at this time, suggests that HSAs will play a greater role in financing people’s health care.  Any improvements will provide even more incentives for Americans to use HSAs to meet their out of pocket costs.  Some of the improvements under consideration include allowing people to put more money into their HSA each year and providing more flexibility in terms of how HSAs can be used to pay for health care services.

What is the outlook for High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) – do we see these as a key player with the bolstering of HSAs?

I think HDHPs are here to stay which is kind of “back to the future” in health insurance. Not that long ago, we all bought health insurance to protect us from major medical bills. Over time new plans like HMOs offered first dollar coverage for almost everything and we forgot the basic principles of insurance.  Now the pendulum has swung back the other way and it seems like most of the PPO plans have raised their deductibles so they look almost identical to high deductible plans. Interestingly, if we had a more flexible standard for the type of health insurance plan that makes people eligible for an HSA, a lot more people could have HSAs. Hopefully we will have that conversation soon. That is not going to be a part of the initial debate, but it is something we could see as part of a second or third health care conversation.

What is the outlook for the private market and exchanges?

Unfortunately, both are in disarray and concerns about their future viability are legitimate. If the goal is to offer more affordable products, it gets harder when you start introducing more requirements and regulations. Consumers have lost a lot of freedom to choose affordable policies that meet their needs. Not enough healthy people are buying policies to even out the costs for sick people that cannot be denied coverage. There are fundamental flaws in the current system and whether or not that can be corrected anytime soon is a very open question.

How do you see the modifications to the health care laws impacting the behaviors of HSA consumers?

One aspect that could impact HSA consumer behavior is the prospect of increased contribution limits. I think this will energize people to see HSAs as savings accounts rather than spending accounts. As their HSAs grow, the hope is that they will start thinking about using their HSA to plan for future health care expenses like retirement. Studies suggest that people are not saving enough for retirement. HSAs could potentially be the tool they need to help them reach their financial goals for retirement. As we age, many of us will probably spend a greater percentage of our income on health care expenses. It never hurts to have another tool in the toolbox—especially one that is focused on health expenses and has the most tax advantages available.

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The Evil Airline Phishing Attack

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Imagine clicking on an attachment in an email confirmation for an online purchase or hotel reservation and being greeted by an urgent pop-up that reads, “A virus has been detected due to suspicious activity. Click here to run a diagnostic on your computer hard drive.” Seems like good advice, right? Before clicking OK, you might want to learn more about a new email phishing scam.

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Known as the evil airline phishing attack, this scam is a two-wave social engineering scam that attempts to take over your computer and steal sensitive personal information—or both— potentially leading to identity theft or damage to your computer. What makes this especially alarming is that recent research says this scam is successful about 90 percent of the time‡.

The scam targets individuals who frequently book travel or shop online and are familiar with receiving email confirmations on purchases or bookings. Like other phishing scams, cybercriminals research online and offline before sending these authentic looking emails. The subject line will look something like this:

When the victim receives the email, the two-wave phishing attack begins:

  • First wave: Opening the message signals to the cybercriminal that the email address is authentic and has been received by a real person.
  • Second wave: Inside the email is an authentic-looking attachment such as a .pdf or .docx file. This file is masquerading as a travel confirmation or purchase receipt with malware‡ embedded in it. If the attachment is opened, the malware springs into action impacting your data and computer.

The goal of these cybercriminals is to:

  • Trick you into clicking links and opening attachments which can secretly infect your computer or device
  • Access and steal your information (e.g. usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, etc.)
  • Make transactions, file fraudulent tax returns, use you or your children’s identity, share sensitive medical data with other hackers and a variety of other activities

How can you help protect yourself?

  • First defense: Desktops, laptops, tablets and even mobile devices are at risk of this attack. Install antivirus protection on your electronic devices (including tablets and mobile phones) and keep your hardware and software updated.
  • Second defense: Never click on links or attachments in emails you aren’t expecting. If something looks “phishy,” it probably is. If you have questions or concerns about any electronic communication, go to the company’s website to confirm details or contact them directly.
  • Final defense: Communicate with your coworkers, friends and family. One of the best ways to keep from falling victim is to ask questions, open dialogue and stay informed.

For more information to stay cyber aware, visit UMB’s Security and Privacy page.

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. Flores serves as senior vice president and Chief Information Security Officer, providing oversight of UMB’s information security and privacy programs. She joined UMB in 2010 and more than 15 years of experience in information technology and information security. She attended Kansas State University with a focus on management information systems and is a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

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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.

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.pulation Survey/Housing Vacancy Survey, Series H-111, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC 20233.

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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

Mariner 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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Geared up to Bike to Work

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Geared up to Bike to Work

UMB recognizes the undeniable importance of sustainable business practices. We examine ways to reduce waste, promote recycling, decrease air pollution to improve air quality, conserve energy, and educate our associates about the benefits of environmental sustainability.

One way to make a positive environmental impact is to consider transportation options.

Whether your workplace is casual, business casual or strictly formal business attire, with a little pre-planning you can enjoy a smooth ride to the office.

Here are some tips to plan your commute.

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Map your route in advance

Free apps like Ride with GPS and MapMyRide can help you determine the best route to bike to work. In addition, they offer local bike route suggestions, bike challenges, mileage tracking and more.

Bike Necessities

  • Make sure your breaks, gears and chain are all in working order.
  • Adjust your bike saddle so that you are comfortable when you ride.
  • Be sure to have reflectors/lights in the back and a light in front.
  • Always check your tires before you ride to make sure they are inflated properly and don’t have leaks.
  • Remember your bike lock. Even if you are parking your bike in a secure company garage, it is still a good idea to lock it.

Transporting “your stuff”

There are many baggage options for bike commuting. If you have minimal items and only bike occasionally, consider a backpack, flipbelt or a small seat post bag. If you have greater baggage needs, try adding a bike rack that accommodates many bag styles, such as the Topeak MTX Trunkbag. It easily slides onto a bike rack and has expandable panniers.

What to wear

There are many options for stylish office-ready commute clothing, including items like this Columbia skort (see picture) or office ready technical trousers that are comfortable and stylish. You can also pack a change of clothes or have some standard pieces, such as a jacket and dress shoes, that you leave at the office. And last, but most important, don’t forget your bike helmet.

Transforming at the office – if you don’t have a shower at your workplace, or simply don’t have time, baby wipes make for a great quick clean up. There are also “adult” versions you can purchase, such as Paper Shower  dual wet and dry towelettes. Also, keep a deodorant handy in your desk drawer.

Additional accessories to consider:

  • A cellphone mount can be helpful if you need to check your GPS bike route map
  • A bike computer will keep track of your mileage, speed and the time
  • A bell is a great way to signal your presence if you are coming up behind pedestrians or other bikers
  • Fenders help keep water and mud from splashing onto your clothes

If you have a really long commute and can’t avoid highways, but are still interested in an alternative mode of transportation, consider the bus or carpooling. Many employers provide subsidies for bus riders – for instance UMB provides a subsidy that may cover 70% or more of an associate’s bus pass cost.

Also, if you live in Kansas City and are using alternative transportation, you may be eligible to compete in the 10th Annual Mid-America Regional Council’s (MARC) Green Commute Challenge, June 1- August 31. Our associates have competed over the last 10 years, learning about different modes of alternative transportation and the impacts on cost and environmental savings.bloog

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.pulation Survey/Housing Vacancy Survey, Series H-111, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC 20233.

Ms. Shahane is a Vice President Healthcare Marketing/Sustainability Manager for UMB. She is responsible for managing marketing initiatives for UMB’s healthcare payments, HSAs, and benefit card products. In addition, she leads the UMB Green Team and promotes UMB’s internal sustainability initiatives. She joined UMB in 2001 and has 13 years of experience in the financial services industry. She earned a MA in Marketing from Webster University. She is a volunteer for Bridging the Gap and serves on the board for Northeast Neighbor to Neighbor.

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