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Official Checks Commerical Edition  
In 2016 "Highway Robbery" Still Exists!
It's Just Outrageous !
It’s absolutely criminal  — $140.99 for 250 Business Voucher Checks -- plus shipping! That’s what the “Goliath” check services vendor charges commercial business accounts.
JimPicPainted  JIM's JOURNAL
      The Banking Business Blog
     Opinions, & Observations on the Business of Banking...  And Other Musings... !


BranMuffinsSmallRegulators – you’ve just got to love ‘em, right? For sure – but, they definitely need more bran in their diet! Do we need to spell it out? I didn’t think so. But, it’s the only explanation we’ve come up with for some of their wacko decisions, especially when it comes to acceptable asset ratios. You’ve heard the war stories; maybe even been one of them. Community FIs get smacked while the Too Big to JAIL (oops, Too Big to FAIL) guys get away with murder. We can’t fix that.

But, as for muffins here are some dandy bran muffin recipes – plain, blueberry, banana, whatever -- that will do the trick. Don’t risk a short cut with store bought – not nearly enough fiber for the average regulator. And, mind your manners – no giggles when you serve them up. Regulators are pretty thin-skinned, don’t you know. Okay, okay, enough with the jocularity.

As noted earlier, asset ratio is a serious matter and seems to be the recurring nut to crack. Oddly enough, many FIs are unaware or fail to consider technology that has been available for years while sticking with operational methods from the early 1900s. Maybe you have guessed by now; we are speaking of outrageously EXPENSIVE contracted out-sourced check services. Simply stated, it is an unnecessary luxury!

Our check:r system is the solution. All former pass through revenue comes back to your bottom line (where it belongs) versus lining the check service provider’s pockets. And, the check:r is so simple you will scratch your head, “Why didn’t someone figure this out years ago?” It may not clear all the check marks off the regulator’s clipboard but it’s a start. There is an added benefit; you won’t have to sentence some obliging staffer (or your wife) to hours in a hot kitchen baking muffins.


A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?"
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."
She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything."
Remember to put the glass down.
(Courtesy of Jimmy Harmon)

You already know this -- affluent depositors and commercial accounts, the “Time-Is-Money” crowd, want paper checks, the hard copy paper trail. These clients are often hard to please. But, pamper them with excessive unexpected quality service and watch what happens. They spread the word — and that’s a good thing. It’s called GOOD GOSSIP!
For years, bankers relied on Harland Clarke’s (HC) MICR Quick on-site check production package to fill this quality service niche to the upscale. It made bankers look good. Then HC drops the bombshell—no more support for old reliable MICR Quick! Oops—what to do?
Turns out there are actually 3 strategies:
  • Upgrade to the new MICR Prime check:r system—and better fee income.
  • Subscribe to MICR Prime’s Canopy managed support service for MICR Quick.
  • Cave to HC’s dictates, high prices and USPS delivery delays.  thumbsdown
checkbookThis unsolicited testimonial from a recent convert to the MICR Prime solution tells the story. “We had been looking for a replacement for over a year. This is the best I’ve seen.” (2 months later) “We just started using MICR Prime. I like the program.”

Just to summarize “Hard Knocks – Part 1”, my career as a wholesale carpet rep was in the toilet. It was causing problems at home as well. Thankfully, somewhere along the line I picked up this maxim: 
“Fifty one percent of smart is knowing what you’re dumb at.”

I needed expert help. My sales manager, after cancelling several times with “something came up” bad excuses, eventually made good on his threat to make
CaliDesertt sales calls with me in my territory, the “Kite” (Pomona and east into the high desert of S. California). He was a carpet encyclopedia (ad infinitum), the epitome of arrogance, and a stuffed shirt. He for sure would alienate my red neck clients – absolutely not a good fit. How could I put this guy on ice? A BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious) came to me – turn up the heat! “Jim, you can’t avoid this gig. But, maybe a few calls in the “garden spots” of the high desert - Victorville, 29 Palms, Barstow, and China Lake - can put the kibosh on any repeats.” Oh, did I mention it was August?

August in Los Angeles is “toasty”; in the high desert try blast furnace! And, the A/C was out on my Chevy wagon! The strategy worked - oh, yeah, did it ever - only one sales call that day (the boss couldn’t take it). A few weeks later the store owner politely confirmed my assessment of the boss, “Actually, Jim, you don’t need his help.”
Read more: Hard Knocks - Part 2

stopsignwolfYears ago I was failing miserably working as a wholesale rep for a carpet mill in S. California covering a territory called the “Kite”. Back then the “Kite” (Pomona and east into the high desert) was, shall we say, the “less sophisticated” part of the S. California market. That has all changed; now it is fully developed and very upscale.
Read more: Hard Knocks - Part 1


Marilyn Barnewall helped MICR Prime get going way back when it was just a dream. Her world view, banking knowledge and hours of personal counseling have kept us focused. Thank you, my friend.

neckblackswanflightblackswanFair warning – you won’t be able to put these books down. And, you will be amazed at how many of the fictionalized events in When the Swan’s Neck Breaks, published in 2008, still pop up as headline stories on the nightly news. The sequel, Flight of the Black Swan, continues the spellbinding saga of Meredith and Alex who, together with former covert Intelligence operative William Leonard and retired CIA agent Jake McGregor, set about implementing an extremely dangerous counter-plot to thwart enemies, both foreign and domestic, hell-bent on bringing America to her financial knees. 

Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall is a student of the human condition, wielding the written craft to enrapture the mind, much like an artist wields a brush. Until recently, she wrote non-fiction exclusively for the banking industry. She has consulted for and given speeches to bankers around the world. Who better to write a book about America's central banking system, fiat currency, fractional-reserve banking -- and, espionage? 

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