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December 27, 2010 by Christine Pratt

On Thursday, December 9,Aite Group’s Wholesale Banking Team welcomed 120 banking executives to a day of idea and information sharing. The doors opened at noon for lunch, and Aite Group’s Christine Barry welcomed the group.  BNY Mellon’s Susan Skerritt shared thoughts and advice about innovation in the new rules environment. She spoke about a proactive institutional approach to prepare for regulatory eventualities while keeping client focus and collaboration uppermost in the organization’s mindset, and left us with sound advice for 2011: Keep an open and innovative mind, stay close to clients, and empower staff.

December 21, 2010 by Ron Shevlin

The U.S. Federal Reserve has released its proposal for debit card interchange rate changes, and proposed a flat rate of 12 cents (US$) per transaction. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) issued a press release claiming the following: "The proposed regulations will benefit consumers by lowering the billions of dollars annually in non-negotiable swipe fees paid by merchants to large banks and the dominant credit card networks. These changes will lower the prices of everyday goods for all consumers including cash customers.”

My take:  The impact on the average U.S. household -- if any -- will be negligible.

December 20, 2010 by Sophie Schmitt

Banks have been working on transforming their organizations from being product-focused to customer-centric for years; they have lofty goals of helping their customers make financial decisions across all areas of their financial lives. But for customers to trust their banks with important financial decisions, banks will need to demonstrate that they are truly interested in helping customers make the right financial choices. Following the events of the last couple of years, customers have been left with a contrary impression (e.g., unfair overdraft charging practices, poor credit card disclosures, and significant gaps in banks’ mortgage foreclosure processes).

December 14, 2010 by Clark Troy

As the end of the year approaches, many turn to thinking about their annual giving plans. Americans are actually a rather charitable lot; according to statistics from the National Philanthropic Trust, U.S. charitable giving topped out at US$314 billion in 2007. While that number has dipped since the onset of the credit crisis, Americans still give somewhere around US$300 billion a year, in the neighborhood of 2% of GDP, and roughly US$1,000 for every child, woman, and man in the States.  Non-trivial sums indeed.

December 13, 2010 by Ron Shevlin

The term "killer app" gets thrown around a lot, so here's what I'm thinking it means when I use it: An app that drives a step-function increase in the adoption of a technology.

Spreadsheets are the best example of a killer app that I know of.

It might be hard for many Gen Yers to imagine what the world was like before the Internet, let alone before PCs. But when PCs first arrived on the scene, their widespread adoption was not a slam dunk. After all, we had word processors for word processing (duh!) and mainframe and mini computers for geeky database stuff. But until PCs came along, people who had to work with a lot of numbers had to rely on an ancient device called a calculator.