- Lafayette, Indiana US US
Levon Mathews, former president and CEO of First Federal Savings & Loan of Port Angeles, Washington, began working in the community banking sector in 1983 as a management trainee at the former Lafayette National Bank in Indiana. Over the decades since, Levon Mathews has served in senior positions at several community or regional financial institutions, among them Union Planters Bank and Regions Financial Corporation, and he learned how to deliver consumer financial services within a turbulent market. The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), a national trade group serving nearly 7,000 community banks, reported that recent breaches of credit card security at Target and other retailers have required community banks to reissue four million debit and credit cards, costing these local institutions some $40 million. The ICBA asserted that because of the responsiveness of community banks to these breaches, the institutions were able to significantly reduce losses due to fraud. The organization stated that less than 1 percent of community bank depositors have reported losses from retail security breaches. In an effort to cut down on such major data breaches and ensure greater accountability, the ICBA recently joined a cyber-security partnership with other merchant and financial services enterprises. The ICBA, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the American Banks Association, and other participating trade groups will explore innovative technologies that better protect consumer financial information and lobby for laws that hold retailers to higher standards for safeguarding sensitive customer financial data.
During his nearly three decades as an executive in the community banking industry, Levon Mathews oversaw multi-million-dollar retail and commercial institutions and took part in seven bank mergers or acquisitions. Throughout his career, he has focused on restructuring banks so that they operate more efficiently and profitably and provide better service to customers. Levon Mathews most recently managed First Federal Savings & Loan of Port Angeles, Washington. When people learn that their bank will merge or become acquired by another financial institution (most likely a larger bank), they often instinctively panic. However, instead of seeing their bank’s merger or acquisition as a worry or annoyance, they should consider it an opportunity. After learning about the impending takeover, consumers can take a few simple steps to protect themselves and to take advantage of the situation. First, they should learn as much as possible about the bank assuming control of their accounts. This includes finding out how it treats customers and determining whether interest rates on deposit accounts or credit cards will change afterward. The new bank must legally inform all account holders of any changes to their accounts. Second, consumers should negotiate and shop around. The first step is to see how the new bank’s interest rates compare with that of other financial institutions. If the new bank tries to impose additional fees, old bank customers may try negotiating with them to let stand the terms of their former accounts. Third, account holders should document everything, diligently keeping paper records of loan and account information related to the old bank. If the institution only provides digital statements, it is best to request copies or print them off before the merger or acquisition occurs.
Finance professional Levon Mathews served First Federal of Port Angeles as president and CEO between 2009 and 2012. Specializing in commercial and retail banking, Levon Mathews drives revenue production efficiency by initiating and managing a number of innovative measures, including a team-based selling approach. The team-based sales approach differs from individual sales strategy in that team performance, rather than individual effort, is rewarded with compensation. This group approach has grown in popularity within the last decade, particularly in industries in which interdependent teams have multiple roles that result in one final deliverable. In situations where customer relation management requires a complex arrangement of account managers and customer teams in separate locations, companies may prefer to initiate team-based incentives that motivate colleagues to collaborate and cooperate. Many corporations find that team-based incentives increase individual performance, particularly in situations where individuals have task completion deadlines that, once achieved, allow the team to advance to a further stage of a project. Team-based sales also encourage the sharing of information, rather than the withholding of it for personal gain.