City Year Philly Celebrates Milestone Anniversary, Women Trailblazers

City Year Philly Celebrates Milestone Anniversary, Women Trailblazers

City Year Philly Celebrates Milestone Anniversary, Women Trailblazers
— Read on

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Personal Finance Budgeting

Budget weekly, not monthly
Setting a weekly budget will help you “gain greater control” of your finances, said Anna Bahney in Even though many popular budgeting programs are organized by months, “a month is way too long for us to keep our financial impulses in check.” Budgeting weekly allows you to “better anticipate and examine” expenses. While many bills arrive monthly, a weekly budget allows you to more accurately monitor and adjust your discretionary spending. Because there are fewer transactions to monitor in a week than in a month of spending, tracking your expenses will seem “much easier, less tedious, and more manageable.” Set up a separate checking or debit card account and move your discretionary funds there each week. This way you can track expenses and work out how to curb spending.


February 9, 201

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The Intersection of Banking + Technology

The Intersection of Banking + Technology
Vince Liuzzi, DNB First


Today many people use electronic devices to access their finances. Whether an individual does business with a larger national bank or a local community bank, they most likely  have access  to electronic banking.

Electronic banking  encompasses  online  banking,  mobile  banking and  over-the-phone  banking, and  enables  customers  to  access  their accounts and perform a wide-range of financial transactions at any time.

In addition to 24-hour account access, customers can easily check account balances, review activity and access their statements through electronic banking. Individuals can also securely transfer money to accounts within or outside of their financial institution, pay bills, as well as send and deposit checks.  Use of mobile banking in particular continues to increase significantly according to the Federal Reserve’s Consumer and Mobile Financial Services report. The number of mobile phone owners using a
mobile banking app has doubled in the last five years.

And with recent enhancements to mobile  banking  apps,  we’re seeing that customers can now apply for products as complex as a mortgage from their mobile device. Yes, that’s right—people can fully complete an application to purchase a home on their smart- phone or tablet!

In the age of electronic banking, we’re also seeing an increase in phishing scams. To combat this problem, financial institutions and banks in particular, have a multi-factor authentication system in place. This approach adds an extra layer of security, requiring more than one method of authentication that the user must provide to verify a login or other transaction.  Many  banks  also  conduct  social  engineering  tests   with   their  employees. When a hacker is unsuccessful,  they  may  try to manipulate an individual into giving up confidential information. These social  engineering tests train employees to spot these types of scams and take appropriate action.

Education plays a key role in combating this type of fraud as well. Many banks provide information and education to help customers and some offer free online tutorials around security measures. Being aware of the nature of these attacks can help to ensure that banks and their customers are prepared.

It’s critical  that  the  security  features  of  online  banking  are  balanced  with
exceptional  customer  service.  Many  tools  and  services that online  banking  offers  are viewed  as conveniences  but  can also double as anti-fraud measures. For example, customers can set up text or online banking alerts so they’re notified when a transaction or ATM withdrawal deviates from normal spending patterns. Customers can also access their transaction history, at any time, through their bank’s online portal or mobile app to keep an eye out for suspicious charges.

As  banking  becomes  more  digitalized,  financial  institutions  are  paying special attention to improving the customer experience. Customers   now  have  access  to  more  powerful  online tools  to  manage their entire financial portfolio, with a focus on ensuring ease of access and creating  a more  personalized experience.  Biometrics  are  becoming  increasingly  popular  to help  customers access  their  account information  more  quickly  and  to  verify  their identity and  transactions  by  using  human
characteristics  as  a  form  of identification. Most smartphones today come with built-in technology  that supports  the  use  of  biometrics  recognition,  such  as  a thumb print sensor.  Eye scanning and voice recognition technologies are  also  being  tested for use.
In addition to providing a more user-friendly experience, biometrics can also be used for security purposes as the identifier can never be reproduced, forgotten or  shared.

With improved security and ease of use, electronic banking is fast becoming a preferred method of day-to-day banking. However,  a big  part  of  overall customer satisfaction is still based on face-to-face banking, as customers continue to visit branches for advice and assistance with important financial  decisions. ♦

Vince Liuzzi joined DNB First in 2013 and is responsible for the bank’s retail, consumer and mortgage lending businesses. He was previously Executive Vice President and Region President for a large national bank’s 165-branch network in greater Philadelphia, overseeing sales and service for consumer, small business and wealth management segments. DNB-

Reprinted County Lines Magazine February 2018


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Boost a Team’s Emotional Intelligence for Better Business Results

Our friends at CCL got it right again.  More on emotional intelligence….

When emotional intelligence is mentioned, there may be agreement that it’s indeed a great thing for someone to be more relatable, more self- aware and better at controlling impulsive behavior.
But does the emotional intelligence of a team really have bottom-line consequences?

While a strong consensus may not have existed before, that is changing as more companies recognize the value of EQ. Many organizations are now hiring for emotional intelligence (EQ) and evidence is mounting that EQ pays off in higher sales and productivity, and lower turnover.

Consider, for example:

A large cosmetics company that now hires for EQ have on average sold $91,000 more than salespeople who were not hired before the new system was set up.

The International Journal of Organizational Analysis finds that EQ competencies were positively linked to team cohesiveness.

Manufacturing supervisors who received EQ training cut lost-time accidents by half and formal grievances by 20%. Plant productivity improved $250,000 over set goals.

Firms with high EQ managers found 34% higher growth profits.

Emotional intelligence really is the secret sauce,” says James A. Runde, author of “Unequaled: Tips for Building a Successful Career Through Emotional Intelligence,” and a special advisor and a former Vice-Chairman of Morgan Stanley.

Runde says that too many employees don’t realize that “brains and hard work are not enough” to give them a successful career, and too many leaders don’t understand how the lack of team EQ skills hurt performance for the team and for the organization.

“In the era of artificial intelligence and virtual reality and robots and drones – all those things are wonderful and productive, but for people trying to succeed in a solutions business, you’ve got to have people who can relate to other people,” he says.

According to psychologist Daniel Goldman, there are five elements that define EQ:

  1. Self-awareness. Those who are aware of their emotions don’t let them get out of control and are honest with themselves about their strengths and weaknesses. They work to improve and become better performers.
  2. Self-regulation. As they are aware of their emotions, these people don’t let themselves get too angry or jealous and don’t make impulsive decisions. They show thoughtfulness, comfort with change, integrity and the ability to say no.
  3. Motivation. Those with high EQ are very productive, love a challenge and are effective in whatever they do. They know the importance of working for long-term success.
  4. Empathy. They are adept at recognizing the feelings of others, even when they’re not obvious. They’re good listeners, honest, don’t stereotype others or rush to judgment.
  5. Social skills. People with high EQ are easy to talk to and are eager to focus on helping others be successful. They are team players who are good communicators, help resolve disputes and are relationship builders. 

Marian Ruderman, senior fellow and director of Research Horizons at the Center for Creative Leadership, is also an associate member of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence.

“You may have the smartest, best idea, but you won’t be able to execute it if you can’t relate to people,” she says.

Ruderman says that she doesn’t believe leaders pay enough attention to EQ on their teams, partly because they may lack the “vocabulary” to discuss EQ and its implications. She says that as more organizations focus on processes and not just tasks, EQ will become a much more important part of the success equation.

“I think people used to be more homogenous in the way they worked, but now we must all work together and it’s much more diverse and we must all find ways of working together,” she says. “That means teams must embrace EQ.”

It’s also important to realize that just because a team has emotionally intelligent members does not mean it will automatically lead to an emotionally intelligent group, points out research in Harvard Business Review from Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff.

Further, building team EQ can be more complicated because teams interact at more levels, both as a group and individually, they say.

The most effective teams have the “emotional capacity” to face difficult situations and seek feedback on processes, progress and performance and set up norms to respond effectively to the emotional challenges a group confronts daily. They have a “can-do attitude,” they say, and are optimistic, positive and create an affirmative environment.

Are you confronting the emotional challenges that manual processes have inflicted on you or your teams? Download the Process Improvement Playbook: Overcoming the Hurdles of Manual Processes in the Workplace.

Ruderman suggests that any leader trying to get teams to develop greater EQ is to begin with “why it’s important.”

One of the ways to do that is by making the business case of how EQ can bring greater bottom-line results now and in the future, Runde says.

“People might think that books on EQ belong in the psychology section of a bookstore, but they really belong in the business section,” Runde says.

He adds that if organizations don’t prioritize EQ, “then you will be just a run-of-the-mill service provider,” he says. “Sure you’ll get business, but you’ll never become a trusted advisor. You’ll never be the company a client calls before they call anyone else.”

Runde says leaders must help team members understand they have to:

  • Turn client relationships into revenue. While it’s important to build relationships, employees must understand that relationships are assets that are only worth something if they are turned into revenue. Employees need to build relationships, learn to look for new business, ask for the order and then get the transaction.
  • Be an advisor, not a vendor. When making a pitch to a client, don’t focus mostly on your company’s credentials and a bunch of charts and graphs. Instead, craft a “can do” pitch that addresses the positive outcome the client wants rather than a bunch of technicalities or the “plumbing” that will be required, he says. “Subtly shape the selection criteria to fit your strategies,” he says.
  • Don’t push too hard. Competitors may exaggerate the truth, beefing up their own capabilities and promising big outcomes or deeply discounted prices. That’s why it’s critical for leaders to encourage employees to not be “pushy” with clients so that the clients feel they’re being rushed into a decision. Personal connections are still important even when dealing with tough competitors.
  • Be good listeners. “Some people listen to respond, and some listen to listen,” he says. “It’s the people who listen to listen who learn the most and establish trust.” Only when clients believe your team has their best interest at heart will they trust enough to reveal their goals and issues. Once that is understood, then a range of options can be crafted for the client. “You are not a used car salesperson simply pushing to close this deal,” he says. “You want a loyal client who will come back again and again with their problems.”
  • Stay in touch. Once a deal is closed or a project is finished, maintain open communications with the client and be alert to how stakeholders are reacting to the finished deal. Changing markets may mean the project needs to be fine-tuned over time – or even redone. Creating long-term client relationships requires “a significant investment in time and cost,” but can even lead to a client calling your organization to implement a deal originally pitched by a competitor, he says. “That’s because you’ve put in the time with these people and they trust you,” he says.
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Giving the gift of feedback

3 FEEDBACK STEPS THAT WON’T CRUSH YOUR TEAM – insights from our friends at CCL…

3 Feedback Steps That Won’t Crush Your Team

Giving feedback is one of the most important—and most challenging—tasks all managers face.

For first-time managers, it can be especially difficult.
No longer a peer to coworkers, new leaders take on the role of “boss.”
Instead of focusing solely on their own career and development, they must develop their teams and work toward achieving broader company goals.
One of the best ways to help a team improve is to provide frequent, effective feedback. But what exactly is feedback? And how can first-time managers deliver criticism without isolating their team?

Three key points to remember about feedback are:

  • It should be specific and fact-based.
  • It should be “wise” and focus on employee development.
  • It should be ongoing and not a one-time event.

What Is Feedback?

Feedback can be in the form of one-on-one meetings, performance reviews, or a simple conversation at the coffee maker.
Feedback can be positive or negative, but the common theme is that it is actionable information about how someone is doing in meeting specific goals.
“We all know receiving feedback can be awkward or painful at times,” says William Gentry, author of Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work for: A Guide for New Leaders. “Delivering it can be just as awkward and painful. But providing positive and negative feedback to your direct reports, staff, or team is the only way they will know how they are performing well, or if they are not, how they can become better.”
In other words, giving feedback means holding employees accountable for their responsibilities. Without feedback, teams won’t know when they are performing well and when they are not.
Helpful feedback guides employees; that’s why giving it is crucial to being a successful manager.
Just the Facts, Please!

Confronting employees with negative feedback can be uncomfortable, especially for first-time managers.
Telling a former coworker, and possibly friend, that they are not doing something well isn’t easy. Emotions can run high. That’s why it’s important to stick to the facts.
Gentry’s book offers a simple, three-step model for giving nonjudgmental feedback—SBI: Situation, Behavior, Impact.
As the book explains, this process can be a tool for giving both positive and negative feedback.

SBI Model

1. Situation–Describe the specific situation in which the behavior occurred. For example, “This morning at the 11 a.m. team meeting …”
Avoid generalities, such as “one morning last week,” as they can lead to confusion.

2. Behavior–Describe the actual, observable behavior being discussed. Keep to the facts. Don’t insert opinions or judgments.
For example, say, “You interrupted me while I was telling the team about the monthly budget,” instead of “You were rude.”

3. Impact–Describe the results of the behavior. If the effect was positive, words like “happy” or “proud” help underscore the success of the behavior.

For example: “I was impressed when you addressed that issue without being asked.”
If the effect of the employee’s behavior was negative and needs to stop, managers can use words such as “troubled” or “worried.”
For example, “I felt frustrated when you interrupted me because it broke my chain of thoughts.”
Because you are describing exactly what happened and explaining your true feelings—not passing judgment—the employee is more likely to listen and learn.
Someone who has gotten into the habit of interrupting may not have realized the effect of his or her behavior.
An employee who took the initiative on a project may decide, after positive feedback, to continue being proactive.

Give Wise Feedback

Wise feedback is given with the understanding that the ultimate goal is to support and help that employee.
In his book, Gentry suggests using a variation of the following phrase (based on the work of researcher David Yeager) when giving tough feedback: “I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations, and I know that you can reach them.”
Such a phrase demonstrates belief in employees and their ability to learn from mistakes or ineffective behavior.
Wise feedback is about teaching and supporting employees; it is never about “fixing” them or implying there is something “wrong” with them.

Keep It Going

The most effective feedback is given more than just once or twice a year at formal performance reviews. It’s timely, meaning that it’s offered soon after the incident, and it’s ongoing.
This allows team members to adjust their behavior, as needed, and then get more input on how they are progressing on their goals.
Keep in mind, however, that in especially emotional or stressful situations, it’s okay to wait to give feedback until both parties have calmed down. Remember SBI, and stick to the facts!
To learn more about what it takes to become a successful manager, see William Gentry’s book, Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work for: A Guide for New Leaders.

UTags: communication, feedback, First-time Managers, Leadership Systems & Models, Team Development


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4 Smart Home Equity Moves

by Vince LiuzziHome equity-160616
Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer, DNB First

If you’re a homeowner, your mailbox is probably piled high with offers to “get the cash you need fast” with a home equity line or loan. It’s easy to understand why; with attractive rates, borrowing flexibility, and tax benefits, home equity borrowing can truly be a smart way to get the affordable money you need to finance life’s expenses.

Yet, even with all those benefits, home equity borrowing may not be the right decision for everyone. The housing recession several years ago was proof of that, as homeowners took out home equity loans only to see the values of their home decline, leaving them underwater and drowning in debt.

If, however, you have equity in your home and you use it wisely, you might be able to use a home equity line or loan to strengthen your financial situation. Here are four smart ways to do this:

Home renovations. The wisest use of home equity credit for home improvements involves renovations that add to the value of your home, such as a kitchen remodel or the addition of a bathroom. It’s important to note, however, that there’s a limit to the value they add, so you want to be conservative in your remodeling efforts. Home improvements that are cosmetic only, such as landscaping or adding a swimming pool, may not increase your home’s value.

Debt consolidation. Are you carrying extra debt, such as high-interest credit card debt?  Consider consolidating your balances with a home equity line or loan, which might allow you to lower your monthly payments and the interest you’ll pay over the life of your debt. If you do this, be careful not to run up new debt with your credit cards.  Otherwise, you could worsen your financial situation and end up putting your home at risk.

Emergency expenses. Life is unpredictable and there may be times when you get hit with unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or costly car repairs. In these situations, having a home equity line of credit can be a smart and more affordable way to handle these expenses.

College financing. With the lower interest rates and potential tax savings, home equity borrowing may also be a more affordable alternative to parent and student loans for financing your child’s education. Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn’t tap the equity in your home for your child’s education if it will put you at greater financial risk later on in life.

Depending on the situation, there may be other smart uses of home equity, such as starting a business or investing in a second home or property. The important thing to remember about home equity is that you should always use it wisely, and not for frivolous purchases of things you don’t really need or can’t afford. Otherwise, your debt could pile up faster than those offers in your mailbox!

Posted in Financial Planning, Home Loans, Personal Finance

7 Easy Ways to Put Yourself in a Better Home Buying Position

by Vince Liuzzi
Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer, DNB First

House for sale-160418

Spring isn’t just the start of baseball season; it’s also the beginning of another big season – the spring home buying season. And just like baseball, the home buying season can be highly competitive, as multiple buyers often compete for the same home.

What can you do to put yourself in better position to get the home you want – and get a leg up on your competition? Here are seven smart moves you can make:

  1. Tend to your credit. Good credit is key to obtaining a mortgage and the best possible rate, yet many borrowers don’t deal with their credit until they apply for a mortgage. Before you begin shopping for a home, get a copy of your credit report to ensure it’s accurate and to rectify any problems.
  2. Get pre-approved. One of the most important steps you can take to improve your negotiating power with a seller is to get a pre-approval from a lender. A pre-approval is a conditional approval from a lender that demonstrates that you’re a qualified buyer, giving you an advantage with sellers over your non-pre-approved competition.
  3. Set a budget. Determine how much you can afford before you start shopping for a home. You may be pre-approved for a higher mortgage amount, but you may not feel comfortable making higher payments. Review your debt payments and the amount you will put up for a down payment.
  4. Treat your home as an investment. Your home may very well be the largest investment you make in your lifetime. As such, you’ll want to make sure that you’re investing your money wisely. You wouldn’t want to overpay for a home that’s in need of significant repairs. That’s why it’s important to do your homework to determine how much the home is really worth.
  5. Connect with the seller. Many sellers are passionate about their homes and want to know that the new buyers will take good care of the home. One way to forge a personal connection with the sellers is to include a letter with your offer to tell them about yourself and why you love the home.
  6. Get a buyer’s agent. An agent can help you with the paperwork and give you valuable advice on how to make the best offer for your situation.
  7. Prioritize home features. Most of us would love to find a home that meets all of our qualifications, but those who have gone through the process know that you sometimes have to make concessions. Determine the features you absolutely require in a home and prioritize them.

By taking these simple steps, you just might gain a negotiating advantage and score that perfect house.

Posted in Financial Planning, Home Loans, Personal Finance