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Last week I attended Vistage’s All-City Meeting.  It’s a day of great presentations & great networking opportunities.  One of the last speakers of the day was Mike Prescott, President of US Bank.  I believe he was supposed to speak about the recession, but what I got from him was so much more valuable. 

First & foremost he spoke about four cheap services that can protect your bank accounts from fraud.  I honestly didn’t even know these existed, but now that I do you can bet your sweet bibby Mackey Advisors will be utilizing these services!

  1.  ACH Block: ACH blocks are the simplest of all the products to use. They allow companies to notify their banks that ACH debits should not be allowed on certain accounts. With a block in place, no ACH debit, even one that is authorized, will be able to get through on a given account. Everyone is advised to put blocks in place on all accounts where ACH activity is not likely to be used. Source.
  2. ACH Filter: An ACH filter allows organizations to give their banks a list of companies authorized to debit their accounts. The banks will then “filter” incoming debits and allow through only those that are on the list submitted earlier. This filter does not check for dollar amounts or whether the particular transaction has been authorized, only that the company doing the debiting is on the approved list. Source.
  3. Positive Pay: Positive pay is a service whereby the company electronically shares its check register of all written checks with the bank. The bank therefore will only pay checks listed in that register, with exactly the same specifications as listed in the register (amount, payee, serial number, etc.). This system dramatically reduces check fraud. Source. 
  4. Reverse Positive Pay: Reverse positive pay is similar to positive pay, but the process is reversed, with the company, not the bank, maintaining the list of checks issued. When checks are presented for payment and clear through the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Reserve prepares a file of the checks’ account numbers, serial numbers, and dollar amounts and sends the file to the bank. In reverse positive pay, the bank sends that file to the company, where the company compares the information to its internal records. The company lets the bank know which checks match its internal information, and the bank pays those items. The bank then researches the checks that do not match, corrects any misreads or encoding errors, and determines if any items are fraudulent. The bank pays only “true” exceptions, that is, those that can be reconciled with the company’s files. Source.

Secondly, he spoke about 8 questions to ask yourself when choosing a banker.  I feel you should ask all of these questions about any company or person you go into business with, whether personal or professional.

  1. Do I trust this person?
  2. Do I like this person?
  3. Does he/she understand my business?
  4. Does he/she add value to my business?
  5. Is this person an Advocate for me & my company?
  6. How is this individual viewed within his/her company?
  7. What sales method are they using? Is there transparency in the sale?
  8. What is this person’s next job (e.g., promotion within current company, move to a similar company, retiring, changing career paths)?
  9. (Personally added) Does this person align with my values?

Thank you Mike Prescott for handing down your worldly banking wisdom. It will not soon be forgotten