North Fulton and Forsyth County Banks Still Doing Loans

Ask any real estate broker these days about the hardest part of their job, and they’ll tell you it’s finding a lender to fund a deal. As the credit markets have seized up, some banks are turning sour on letting go of their money.

The challenge for Metro Atlanta banks has been their lending in the residential real estate development market. As the residential housing market has taken a steep dive, many banks are getting bogged down in taking back undeveloped lots and vacant houses. Further, their focus has been on selling these assets, mostly at some substantial losses.

However, a few local banks are resisting the trend and pushing forward with lending. One such bank I spoke with, Community Business Bank of Cumming, is loaning money. The bank is one of six banks that started business in Georgia in 2008.

Carter Barrett, president and chief lending officer of the bank, in commenting on the bank’s creation, said “As many banks as there are, you wouldn’t think that there was a sliver of opportunity for a new bank. But we saw an opportunity to create a bank run by business owners for business owners.”

Timing has been everything for Carter’s bank. While many banks have been focused on clearing their foreclosed assets off the books, Community Business Bank has no such assets. Their charter was approved in 2007 and they started business in January 2008, just as the construction and residential market was plummeting. This has afforded them some unique opportunities by being able to focus on strong properties with good fundamentals.

Another local bank in a good position from a timing standpoint is First Milton Bank. First Milton is in the process of raising funds to get started in the business banking community. Their positioning in Milton as the city’s first bank with preliminary approval from the FDIC gives it some exceptional opportunities. They’ll be starting out with no bad debts; thus, providing them the freedom to go after opportunities that other banks can’t. They plan on opening for business in the first quarter of 2009, and opening their new building on Highway 9 in the latter part of the year.

Jeff Sanders, chief financial officer of the bank, explained that rising interest rates are good for a bank’s bottom line. Certificates of deposit are fixed costs for a bank, while most of a community bank’s loans are prime-based variable rate loans.

“This is a great time to get into the game; it’s the bottom of an economic cycle and the bottom of the interest rate cycle,” he said.

In speaking on the difference between community banks and regional banks, both gentlemen agree that they have an opportunity to provide something that the big banks have trouble providing. Relationships with their customers are the key. As the regional banks continue to get bigger, they lose the banking relationships that used to be enjoyed. The community banker will know you and your business, the bankers said.

Carter Barrett further brings home the point.

“It used to be that big banks were known for better products and the small local banks for better service. But now the small banks can provide the same product as the big banks,” Barrett said.

I’d like to think that the business of traditional banking, of trust, relationships and personal attention, will become more common. And, from what I can see, the small community bank will continue to be a big player in this arena.

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Difference Between Collision and Comprehensive Auto Insurance Coverage

Comprehensive auto insurance policy helps you to protect your vehicle in a wide range of situations. It also helps the car owners to protect themselves during various encounters other than accidents such as natural disasters, theft etc. Whereas, collision auto insurance help you to safeguard the driver irrespective of whether he/she is at fault or a cause for the accident. This also includes the cost of towing, restoring the car if it has been severely damaged.

Collision auto insurance coverage includes replacing the parts of the motor vehicle or even replacing it in case of severe damages. However, if the damage has been done due to irregular maintenance, this insurance will not cover up such costs.

Comprehensive auto insurance will try to cover the costs incurred due to an accident, theft, fire or any other external damages caused. This also includes situations like damage due to natural calamities, disasters vandalism and any other terrible weather conditions. However, the coverage terms and conditions are dependent on the company policy. They are subjected to the whims of the companies those who offer the products. They do not cover up the costs incurred due to damages done by family members, improper maintenance.

In most cases, car owners are highly recommended to take comprehensive auto insurance as they cover most possible circumstances. Both these car insurance products are offered as a bundled package. It is a wise idea to take a complete coverage insurance product that will safeguard your financial interest irrespective of the situation and damage done to the car. The car owner will be in a better condition to reimburse the amount to replace the car. The amount of coverage will be dependent on the age of the car. Newer cars, imported cars, luxury cars will have a higher replacement value. This value is also dependent on the market conditions. If the economy is in downturn, no matter what the cost is, you will get a lower replacement value and this is common for all the auto insurance products.

The cost for both these products is determined by the age of car, make and model of the cars, state of residence etc. The driving history and his insurance coverage also determine the rate of car insurance product. A bad driving record will increase the cost of insurance. A revoked license can drastically increase the insurance premium rates. Hence, make sure to obey traffic rules and drive carefully. This will keep you secured on the roads as well as safeguard your financial interest. The chances of theft will also increase the insurance premium. All the above said factors will be combined to fix up the insurance premium rate.

Collision as well as comprehensive auto insurance coverage is a must for every driver. This is an integral part if you have decided to lease or finance the car. This concept is recommended to vehicles that are less than 7 years old. The safety features and other features present in the car will influence the rate to certain extent. Make sure you understand the process completely and are aware of the pricing process.

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The Dangerous Consequences of Micromanaging Your Business

One of the most dangerous and damaging practices of business owners is MICROMANAGING their business. And this practice is entirely too prevalent in today’s business world and it wastes valuable resources of time, talent and financial assets. It is particularly prevalent in entrepreneurial businesses. And the reason behind that may be rooted in the fact that entrepreneurs are motivated to start their businesses so they could be their own boss, make more money and gain more freedom.

So, with that being said, I need to ask those of you out there who are entrepreneurial business owners a couple of questions. My first question is: If you had to leave your business for an extended period of time, let us say a couple of months, would you come back to a business that is still running smoothly and profitably? My second question is: What would your answer be if we changed the time frame of your absence to two weeks? Let me say that if your answer was anything other than yes, then you probably don’t really own a business, you own a job.

Well guess what? The good news is that you are not alone. It is well known that small business owners are among the hardest working people in the world. However, it cannot be said that they are among the smartest working people in the world. To be successful in today’s business world, it is imperative you adopt and develop a strategic thinking mind-set. As a strategic thinking business coach, I emphasize repeatedly to my clients that a major goal for them is to develop a self-managing and systems-oriented business that still runs predictably and profitably while they are not there. And this enables them to “work on the business” instead of having them only “work in the business.”

The first commitment a business owner must make is to stop acting like an employee and start thinking land acting like a CEO. A transition is necessary for the business owner to think and behave more strategically and less tactically in their role as owner. The business owner must stop micromanaging and delegate. The business owner must start reducing the amount of time they spend involved in the daily transactions of their business.

Michael Gerber implores business owners to implement systems and procedures into their business that ensure daily tasks are completed correctly. In any well run business, all current systems and procedures need to be evaluated based upon results and updated as needed. In addition, documentation for all procedures, policies and systems need to be created to have a reference for employees and new trainees. Another good proactive and strategic business practice is to cross-train your employees before the need arises, not after the panic has set in.

Please read this very carefully – Trust your employees. One of the common major issues I hear from employees in my business coaching practice is that they are not trusted by the owner(s) of the business. What a sad commentary that is on business today. If you cannot trust your employees to complete the daily tasks and act in the best interest of the company, then maybe they shouldn’t be employees. In the long run, the more hands-off you can be, the more time you will have to work on the strategic issues and the larger vision for the business, which is what a business owner needs to do.

Boiling all this down to a single thought: you should run your business; it should not run you, your family or your life. You need to have a systems-dependent business, not an owner-dependent business. Many of these concepts are very challenging for owners. And some owners will never “get it” and will continue in a vicious cycle of turnover in their business and failure to achieve full potential in their business. Other owners will recognize the error of their ways and transition into a new way of thinking and managing. The owners that understand this will survive and thrive, while those who refuse to let go of the “micromanaging mentality” will experience turnover of employees, less than optimal performance of employees, continual dysfunctional behavior and decision-making in their business and therefore be destined to be under -achievers and failures in the long run.

The Dangerous Consequences of Micromanaging Your Business
By: J. Glenn Ebersole, Jr., Chief Executive of J. G. Ebersole Associates and The Renaissance Group (TM)

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Shopping For Online Insurance Quotes

No matter what we do in life, insurance is typically necessary, and one of the most important insurance policies that we hold is auto insurance. The thing about auto insurance is that you can easily shop and compare for the best insurance policy on the market without leaving your home or office. The reason for this is that Online Insurance Quotes are a tool which is available to all consumers.

As the insurance buyer, when shopping online, you can expect a better rate on insurance. However, the consumer is faced with many different search tools that provide many different results. The reason for this is that the different rating engines ask different questions that produce divergent quotes.

The answer to this is to take the time and conduct an in-depth research before picking a quote. The popularity of the site is important when obtaining online insurance quotes. The site should provide online insurance quotes from a variety of noted insurance providers. If the insurance site claims to provide the best insurance quotes in the industry, then these quotes will come from a number of providers. When you do not shop and compare multiple quotes, you are not getting the best or perfect deal because you are only comparing a few.

Also, it is important to remember that no two sites may be the same. For instance, some sites may provide results almost instantly, while others may take a bit more time. You should find a site that does provide it all- multiple insurance quotes from top insurance providers and fast service. It should include the essential information about the policy with its premiums. It is important to realize, quotes from companies that are not reputable, may omit important information.

When you wish to shop for auto insurance or any type of insurance coverage for that matter, it is always a good idea to compare insurance quotes. The key ingredient is not to be in a rush and shop the right sites for comparison insurance quotes.

Online insurance quotes are the ideal means to obtain information on insurance policies. You will want to survey each website prior to providing your information to their quote engine. The insurance policies that the online site offers are no different from purchasing policies from a land insurance provider. The sites offer a wide range of policies such as health, life, auto, travel, dental, vision and so on.

Lastly, before the purchase of an insurance policy through an online quote, it is always a good idea to contact their customer service department and ask a question, no matter how simple. This is simply because you likely will need support in the future when filing claims, and this call will give you an idea as to how well you are handled and how quick their response is.

Purchasing insurance has become one of the most convenient purchases among purchases. Insurance quotes allow you to shop and compare, and the online insurance sites are making it possible for the insurance buyer to save a tremendous amount.

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