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Institutional Finance | Wealth Management & Private Banking | Business & Enterprise | Commercial Real Estate


Dahna M. Chandler
Award-Winning Global B2B Journalist and Brand Storyteller

Employee Experience & Learning in Organizations

What Is Juneteenth? | Insights

Before President Joe Biden made it a national holiday in 2021, in response to 2020's human rights movement, The Hartford began honoring Juneteenth as a company holiday. But, the organization has a history of supporting its celebration in the City of Hartford before that. Learn why it’s a signal for equity and equality at work, and your organization should make honoring and celebrating Juneteenth more than a day off for employees.

EMPOWER: Leadership Training With a Dual Approach

It's well established that corporate America, including the financial services industry, lacks diversity in management. People of Color are hired less frequently, experience lower promotion rates and voluntarily leave at higher rates in most financial institutions. And, when organizations do engage in diversity initiatives, they often focus on “fixing People of Color” as if they are the primary problem. Here's what The Hartford is doing differently that all organizations can.

Is Your Diversity and Inclusion Program Age-Appropriate?

Aging is an uncomfortable topic that people have struggled to discuss since ancient times. That same discomfort exists in organizational diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives, too, and failing to face it head-on may result in age discrimination complaints. While many CEOs experience success with overall D&I programs, a PwC study found only 8 percent of CEOs target age-related D&I in their policies. Click on the link above to read more about how to address this issue.

A Diverse Workforce Demands An Inclusive Workplace Culture

Diversity is incredibly important to a company’s workforce. Not only does it ensure that workforces reflect the populations they draw from, but it also helps drive innovation and supports revenue growth. But in pursuit of diversity, companies often focus only on representation when that is only part of the equation. Creating an inclusive culture where everyone in your company feels included, supported and respected is critical.

Close the Talent Gap with Credit Risk Training to Attract and Retain the Best Employees

Close the Talent Gap with Credit Risk Training to Attract and Retain the Best Employees Senior executives in the banking industry are retiring, and banks are hard-pressed to replace them. Intensifying the problem is the fact that during the Great Recession, financial institutions hired fewer bankers in their mid-30s and 40s. Moreover, technology has eliminated some banking tasks in recent years, causing bank hiring managers to believe that they could hire fewer professionals...

How to Reduce Credit Risk and Employee Friction at Banks

Determined to increase sales and market share, banks continue to focus on external communications. They develop marketing and corporate communications strategies designed to reach target audiences and convert them to bank customers. Undoubtedly, developing strong external communications programs to reach audiences continues to be critical to bank revenue growth. However, recent events in the lending community that led to significant loss...

How Credit Risk Training Reduces Financial Losses

The last decade in the banking industry has been challenging. The US economy has rebounded, however, and consumers are obtaining more products and services from banks. Banks remain overwhelmed by the aftershocks of the economic meltdown. Post-crisis, many financial institutions still are working through costly legal outcomes related to poorly structured lending policies and resulting wave of federal regulation enacted to prevent future financial collapses. Moreover, banks are facing increased c

Credit Risk Training for Bankers: The Robust Response to Aggressive Federal Regulation

This is a blog post that I pitched, researched, and wrote for a 40-year-old banking industry consultant that provides credit risk training. Here, I show senior banking leaders how banks can manage the regulatory environment while helping preclude future meltdowns by taking steps today to address rising credit risk. One critical way to confront credit risk is through investing in ongoing, robust credit risk training for bankers. While some banks are cutting back on this training, this post shows why it’s not advisable as regulation and risk grow.

Building a Strong Credit Culture as a Team: How HR and Credit Administration Can Collaborate to Train Bankers

Today, organizations must develop a collaborative leadership culture that facilitates employee engagement to achieve institutional goals and objectives. Commercial banks are no different, especially in the credit environment they now face. In the post-global financial crisis economy, alleviating financial threats is critical to preventing financial losses. All employees must work as a team and understand the key role they each play in...

Taming the Savage Culture: A Q&A with Tim Mulligan

When Tim Mulligan became chief HR officer at the world-famous San Diego Zoo in 2004, the workforce was tired, stressed, distracted and disconnected. That was bad for them, the customers and the bottom line, so Mulligan immediately began focusing on shifting the organization’s culture. He has helped remake the zoo into a place where its workers are more focused, healthy and engaged. Today, as the zoo celebrates its 100th anniversary, it does so in an award-winning environment that’s more profitab

Institutional Finance & Enterprise Operations


The Elements of Exceptional Client Service

[Ghostwritten] Research from Cerulli shows client satisfaction is higher than ever—80 percent of investors are satisfied with their current advisor, while only one percent are dissatisfied. Yet, the exceptional client service bar is getting raised continually for financial professionals. Investors are pursing personalized advice more regularly since the pandemic began, and desire honesty and dependability from financial planners. Here's what clients expect from financial planners now.

How to Create the Foundation of Your Digital Marketing Efforts

Today’s financial planner faces multiple challenges in business development, especially when just getting started with digital marketing techniques. There are numerous digital channels that financial professionals can leverage to connect with prospective clients like never before, and create growth for their firm. Oftentimes, the key to success in any digital marketing initiative is taking a unified approach. This ghostwritten blog post shows financial planners the basics of digital marketing planning.

Customize your clients' ESG experience: A playbook for financial professionals

Increasingly, investors are interested in aligning their investment portfolios around their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values. Savvy financial professionals are taking the necessary steps to identify their clients' interests and values to help them meet their investing goals. This research-backed eBook shows financial professionals how to provide customized client experiences that meet their ESG investing requirements.

Why Client Communication Is Key to Building Better Relationships with Women Investors

When working with any investor, financial advisors must excel at client communication. Clients generally want to feel that their financial advisors hear, respect, and value them—especially women investors. Women now control more than half of personal wealth in the US, roughly $22 trillion. As wealth is transferred to more women over the next four decades, that number is projected to rise to nearly $29 trillion. Financial advisors must shift their client communication strategies to meet women investors' needs. Here's how.

The Importance of Data Aggregation Tools in a Virtual Work Environment

[Ghostwritten] The pandemic has propelled us into a virtual-first world, accelerating the need for firms to move to fully digitized operations. Research by Celent shows that as your clients commit to staying at home, they expect your digital technology to be exceptional. Despite your staff staying home, too, clients expect seamless onboarding and remote communication to get prioritized. This ghostwritten blog post shows financial professionals how to enhance technology to suit client needs in a remote work environment.

Building a Wealth Management Content Marketing Strategy

Current and prospective clients have a keen interest in educational content that helps them reach their financial goals, and they expect you to provide it for them. The pandemic also has driven clients’ appetite for timely content relevant to what’s happening to them today, causing them to eschew evergreen content. This ghostwritten blog post gives financial professionals the keys to building their digital marketing strategy around that content.

How a Crisis Accelerates the Need for Holistic Planning and Education for Clients

A few months ago, I would have given a different answer to the question, “What do you see influencing the future of advice in the next 5 to 10 years?” But the coronavirus pandemic has permanently shifted priorities for most people, including investors and financial professionals. Now, financial planners must focus on holistic planning and client education to grow their practices in the next decade. Here's what that means for you.

Bridging the Gap Between Finance and Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it trying economic times for clients and their advisors. Like during the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009, clients are rethinking their money decisions, monitoring their investments and rebalancing their portfolios to weather the current economic storm. Clients now depend widely on technology to reassess their financial positions and goals. Here's what opportunities that presents advisors.

How to Manage Money in Your Marriage

Consider these statistics on marriage and money. In a 2013 survey by National Center for Biotechnology Information, almost 36% of couples cited financial problems as the reason for their divorce, making money the fifth leading cause of divorce in the study. The same year, in an Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts study, 22% of advisors said financial difficulties were a root cause of divorce among their clients. Here's how to talk to clients—and get them talking about—money in marriage.

The Head, Heart and Hand of Financial Advice

In recent years, advisors have learned that there’s a strong connection between the head, the heart, and the hand when providing financial guidance. eMoney’s Heart of Advice Study identified ways the most successful advisors are using these concepts to deliver a great client experience. Getting to the core of what matters to your clients requires the right knowledge, technology, and personal connection. Here's how. (This project required turning a podcast transcript into a blog post.)

How to Prove Your Value to Retirement Plan Sponsors

The Tenth Fidelity® Plan Sponsor Attitudes Study, released in 2019, found that an all-time high of 93 percent of sponsors work with advisors, but that what sponsors want from a retirement advisor is changing. That’s because retirement is just one aspect of an employee’s overall financial health picture. This ghostwritten blog post shows advisors some other ways they can differentiate themselves to provide the support plan sponsors now expect advisors from them.

Accounting for Longevity in Retirement Planning

This ghostwritten blog post covers longevity as the focus of financial planning, and what today's clients want from advisors at different ages and life stages. That's no longer just retirement planning alone. Your clients are considering much more than what they must save discontinue income-producing work and live comfortably. As people increasing live beyond 100, they're focused on shifting gears later in life and funding a new life direction. How can you help?
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Credit Union Marketing & Operations

Case Study: A New Approach To Pay Scales At Member One FCU

This Virginia credit union changed its mortgage lending paradigm to accommodate members’ availability and interests. By changing the pay structure for its mortgage loan officers, the credit union substantially increased both personal income opportunities for their mortgage lenders and revenue for the credit union. Moreover, member satisfaction for their mortgage loan clients is at an all-time high and those members maintain at least four personal finance products with the credit union.

Case Study: ACH Data Mean More Lending for a New York Credit Union (with Charts)

What happens when a small NY credit union uses its own ACH data and a small marketing budget to create a auto loan recapture promotion for its members? Phenomenal results happen, including $2.2 million in auto loan business in seven months, up to a 22:1 ROI for each marketing dollar and a jump in signature loan, HELOC, and new credit card account business. Read my case study and learn how, occasionally, marketing can produce magic (although planning took three years).

Case Study: X Marks the Spot: A Texas credit union’s marketing campaign for Gen X women speaks directly to the family CFO

This is a case study I pitched, developed, sourced, and wrote to show that Gen X, now the wealthiest generation and 81+ million members strong, is a market worth targeting for credit unions. It overviews a profitable marketing campaign launched by this Fort Worth, TX credit union and provides solid justification for why and how other credit unions should plan and launch similar campaigns targeting this generation which influences the two generations who precede it and the two who follow.

SMB Finance, Development, & Operations

A Balancing Act: Cash Flow Management | 100 for 100 | American Express

A high volume of sales may make you feel profitable, but that’s not the same as having strong cash flow. After all, you can appear profitable at certain times, but be in the red in others. It’s only by proactively balancing how you manage your cash flow—revenue, expenditures and profits—that you have cash to maintain business operations consistently. That allows you to take advantage of opportunities to invest in expansion efforts. Here's how to manage your cash flow in a balanced way for small business growth.

The Best Crowdfunding Platforms for Your Business

Crowdfunding combines crowdsourcing and microfinancing. It does that by allowing individuals to invest small amounts in businesses that interest them. Sometimes, funders may outright donate money to your business. In others, they expect something in return, like equity, loan repayment, products or services. It is a way a small business owner can finance a new or existing enterprise without going to the bank. Here's how to find the best crowdfunding sites for your business.

Why Client Communication Is Key to Building Better Relationships with Women Investors

When working with any investor, financial advisors must excel at client communication. Clients generally want to feel that their financial advisors hear, respect, and value them—especially women investors. Women now control more than half of personal wealth in the US, roughly $22 trillion. As wealth is transferred to more women over the next four decades, that number is projected to rise to nearly $29 trillion. Financial advisors must shift their client communication strategies to meet women investors' needs. Here's how.

How to Get a Small Business Grant | Small Business Startup Grants

Have you been thinking you want to start a business? So much planning goes into following your dream, and we know it can be a struggle to finance its startup and daily operations. We also know that finding funding opportunities for your enterprise can be harder during a global pandemic. You may not be eligible for small business loans. But you may be qualified for grants. Here's how to learn if you are.

How to Outsource: 6 Tips for Successfully Outsourcing Tasks

Usually, when you start your freelance writing business, you wear all the hats. You not only complete writing assignments for clients, but you also conduct all marketing and administrative tasks, from blogging to bookkeeping. If you hope to develop your dream writing business, however, you must outsource some tasks at some point — and not just once in a while. This goes beyond using apps to manage your business yourself to hiring other humans to help. For many, this is a scary prospect because

How to Keep Your Business Entity Legitimate As a Freelancer

Debate rages around the liability freelancers accept when they agree to contracts that hold them liable for their words using indemnity clauses. Other contract terms related to confidentiality violations, libel or defamation committed while writing give freelancers pause. Wanting to protect their business or personal property in lawsuits related to business activities, writers can establish an entity with a state government agency. Here's how to register your entity and keep it legal.

Life After Newsrooms: Starting a Full-Time Freelance Writing Business

These days, layoffs in journalism are regular news. Journalists find themselves the targets of budget cuts as publications routinely cut work budgets, pay, schedules, head counts or go under altogether. Journalists exit their newsroom jobs for other reasons, too, like changing family obligations. But, how do you make this change successfully? Let these former full-time newspaper journalists turned freelancers tell you.

How to Get Better Pay, Build Bridges for Your Freelance Writing Business

If you’re like most freelancer writers, you’re savvy enough to know before starting a writing project, it’s imperative you put in place a solid contract that sets clear client expectations. However, that’s not always easy even when you recognize that as a freelance writer, you’re a small business owner in the sales business. Because sales mean negotiating, one of the most asked questions I see on freelance writer forums relates to negotiating work terms, especially pay. This blog post tells you how.

A simple breakdown to the working capital formula.

If you want to know how well you're really operating your business, you'll need to know your business's working capital, also known as net working capital. It's a moment of truth for your company's financial health – telling you the difference between what you owe and what your business owns at any given time. Plus, it's one of the most important numbers lenders often rely on to decide if your company is worth financing. My blog post breaks it down to make it super simple to compute.

Bank of America Small Business Loans Review

As a traditional bank lender, Bank of America’s lending criteria is typically more stringent, making it harder for small businesses with borderline credit to get loans or lines of credit from the bank. It also originates fewer loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration than its major competitors. For example, as of March 2018, TD Bank approved 2,206 SBA loans; Wells Fargo approved 1,848; and Chase approved 1,307. In that same period, Bank of America approved only 111. Here's how to get a small business loan with Bank of America.

5 Common Sales Tax Mistakes Every Reseller Can Avoid

Taxable situs can be challenging. The jurisdiction that has the right to tax a transaction depends on situs, or the legal location of the transaction. “This can get very complicated depending on states involved, where the buyer is, where seller is and if the product is shipped,” says Hutchinson. He adds that interstate ecommerce transactions further complicate things. For Metoyer, it depends on where she is in the Miami area when she’s selling ice cream. “I make sure I charge sales tax...
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Commercial Real Estate & Design

Using Natural Stone in the Minnesota State Capitol Restoration Project

After a century of active use, almost any building will begin expressing the groans of advanced aging, with internal and external structures steadily failing. The Minnesota State Capitol building was no exception. In 2013, the centenarian structure, constructed in 1905 by Cass Gilbert, had reached a severe deterioration point. Its crumbling façade, with chunks of marble threatening to fall and injure visitors, became particularly dangerous. To preserve the architectural integrity of this historic building, the structure underwent a three-plus-year extensive renovation, repair, and restoration and became an award-winning project.

The Importance of Quality Furniture for Your Small Business

The way you design your office reflects on your brand. Employees and clients alike determine the value of your business based on the feel of your office environment. Its design and organization determine whether you'll keep current employees and clients happy while attracting new talent and customers. So, to convey that you're a quality business worth the fees you charge, you'll want to go with quality furniture and organized space. This blog post tells you how.

Easy Ways to Incorporate Small Business Trends into Your Office Design

Small business trends in office design come and go. But it's important to follow them to know which to implement and when to keep employee and client satisfaction high. You also have to do it in a cost-effective way that leads to high ROI. This blog post tells small business owners how to maintain critical long-term strategies in office design while still incorporating the latest ones with ease. That way, you can keep your employees, customers and bottom line happy.
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