Do Board Characteristics Matter to the Ethical Reputation of Financial Institutions?

Financial institutions have faced increased scrutiny surrounding their ethical practices following the Great Recession of 2008. This has placed additional pressure on boards of directors to manage the ethical reputation of the banks they serve. In an article published in the Journal of Business Ethics, researchers Emilia and Sami Vähämaa, Laura Baselga-Pascual, and Antonio Trujillo-Ponce hypothesize that a positive relationship exists between director characteristics favoring effective oversight and the ethical reputation of their financial institutions.

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Using Surveys for Better College Board Meetings

The ability to create and share surveys is one of the most useful tools software like Directorpoint can offer a college board. Maybe you use the survey feature, but want to make sure you’re making the most of what it has to offer. Or maybe you haven’t touched the survey tool and are looking for a reason to try it out. Either way, you’re in the right place. This is the first installment of a new series we’re calling Feature Focus where we take a closer look at our features, breaking down the benefits and best practices boards need to know.

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How College Boards Avoid Hidden Costs in Board Software Licenses

Navigating the selection of a board software provider can place undo stress on college boards. With many vendors offering nearly identical solutions, each claiming their own to be superior, prioritizing minute differentiators can make a major difference. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at one difference among board software providers that’s costing college boards a fortune.

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Potted plants are a metaphor for splitting a bank's board portal between multiple apps.

Bank Boards: Don’t Spread Your Portal Across Multiple Apps

From a management standpoint, bank boards walk a thin line when implementing a board portal; a line that exists, in part, due to the challenge that arises in overcoming a learning curve. How do you ask a group of people with decades of expertise to learn something new? There’s no way to get around it. Seamless design is great for mitigating the curve, but it doesn’t eliminate it. Introducing new technology to your board of directors is too complex and delicate a task to cover in this article (or any one article, for that matter).

Instead we’re going to focus on a major pitfall bank boards fall into when implementing a board portal. Avoiding this single hazard can mean the difference between success and failure in the implementation process.

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All Boards Need Tech Expertise

boards need tech expertiseAccording to Jean-Louis Bravard at Harvard Business Review, it’s simple: “All boards need a technology expert.” Bravard investigated the banking industry in England—an industry that relies heavily on technology—and found that only one bank had a tech expert serving on their board of directors.

He insists that many major banking leaders in the U.K. need huge tech overhauls but are afraid of the risks—both financially and from a data safety perspective. Bravard argues, “Only a multi-year, board-level sponsored effort can ensure a responsible IT overhaul. But without IT expertise at the director level, how can a board truly make an educated decision?”

To put it simply, get someone who works in high-level IT on your board, and do it quickly—especially if you want to follow a long term, adaptable IT strategy.

For Dambisa Moyo, an international economist, things are a little less cut and dry. She asserts, “The industry structure in which a business operates should also influence how a board assesses technology effects.” She follows that up with three viable paths forward for bringing tech knowledge to a board setting. The first is to “delegate technology tasks to management.”

In other words, let the responsibility of technological evolution stay in-house with a CIO or a CTO. The second option is to draw from the expertise of independent advice. This could mean hiring an outside IT consultant or forming a group of advisers that report to the board. The final option is the one we’ve already heard: creating a seat on the board for a “techie.”

She encourages boards to take a long look at their particular industry to weigh the pros and cons for each of these options.
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