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Welcome to the ABA Bank Directors Briefing website!

ABA Bank Directors Briefing is a monthly four-page newsletter published by the editors of ABA Banking Journal in cooperation with the American Bankers Association. While many community bank executives read it, it is written especially with the nonbanker, outside bank director in mind. It has been published for 30 years.

ABA Bank Directors Briefing focuses on four distinct missions:

  • Keeping bank directors informed about legislative and regulatory developments.
  • Summarizing important banking industry trends.
  • Updating all directors on the latest thinking in corporate governance, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
  • Educating new directors in the basics of community bank directorship.


Many types of risk wait to bite your bank, and the board members, too. Travelers’ Mark Horton sets out a three-step program for asserting better risk control in a community bank. A key effort is making sure the bank has arranged for adequate insurance coverages that don’t leave potentially expensive gaps where the bank is unprotected.


ABA’s America’s Community Bankers Council, working in conjunction with ABA Bank Directors Briefing newsletter, has announced a series of four seminars for bank directors. Mark your calendars now: March 24; June 23; Sept. 22; and Nov. 17. Here’s the lineup:

Director Focus: Your Bank and Real Estate Lending
March 24; Program 16365

“They’re not making more of it”—but lending on it still takes skill, judgment, and sound policies. Lending on real estate—both commercial and residential—came to dominate the portfolios of many community banks. What role must the board take in shaping the bank’s future real estate lending activity?

Washington Update for Bank Directors
June 23; Program 16366

Washington affairs defy predictions. But one forecast you can bet on: Congress and the regulators plan many changes for banks of all sizes and types. An overview of the “mood” of the nation’s capital will be followed by specifics in priority areas.

Effective Key Committees: Audit, ALCO, and Compensation
Sept. 22; Program 16367

Boardrooms are burning more energy these days, in every sense. All directors face greater challenges today. But those who serve on the Audit, Asset-Liability Management, and Compensation Committees have watched their duties grow geometrically. Experts in these disciplines will review what’s changed, and how committee members can cope.

The New Basics of Bank Accounting: Better Understanding of Your Bank’s Financial Statements and Board Reports
Nov.17; Program 16368

Good directorship can’t happen without a good grasp of the numbers. Methods—and preferences—for measuring bank performance continue to evolve. Understanding key measures grows more critical than ever, as boards take oversight to the next level. Tuning in—to meaningful numbers—and tuning out “noise”—that makes the difference between leaders and losers.

All sessions are on Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. ET. Further details and registration information

For further information, e-mail to

7 Steps to better compliance risk control

Too often, compliance risks come from the places where management and
board least expect them, says veteran compliance expert Jo Ann S. Barefoot in ABA Banking Journal. What’s lacking? Too often, bank systems don’t organize key data in ways that will quickly draw executive and director attention to areas needing remediation. The systems fail to support senior management and board decisionmaking. Barefoot presents a seven-step blueprint to enable the board-management team to turn that overwhelming feeling to a feeling of victory. Click here to read the article.


Many bank boards have adopted self-evaluation forms and other procedures, sometimes obtained from consultants, sometimes from associations. Director Carroll Olm of Wisconsin’s First Citizens State Bank devised his own, and it’s one of the best we’ve seen. Click here to read the story of his form, and to download a copy.

ABA Bank Directors Briefing, 345 Hudson St., New York, N.Y. 10014. Editorial office: Steve Cocheo, editor,, 212-620-7219. Circulation matters (address changes, etc.) only: 800-895-4389.


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