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Alaina Webster

Perception vs. Reality: Rural America Remains Unaware of the Scope of the Opioid Crisis in Its Communities

By Alaina Webster, Managing Editor

Since opioids were introduced in the mid-1990s, misuse and abuse has skyrocketed. An article by Keyes et al. published in the American Journal of Public Health in February 2014 found that overdose deaths from opioids had quadrupled since 1999. In 2007, such deaths outnumbered those involving heroin and cocaine combined. By 2010, the article stated, 2.4 million Americans had begun nonmedical prescription opioid use, equivalent to 6,600 new people each day. The same year, the amount of prescription opioids sold could have provided every U.S. adult a 5 milligram dose of hydrocodone every 4 hours for 1 month.

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Nebraska Builds Next Generation of Bankers, Tackles Financial Literacy

By Bill Poquette, Editor-in-Chief, and Alaina Webster, Managing Editor

A year ago at its annual convention, the Nebraska Bankers Association unveiled the results of a months-long study by Chicago-based consulting firm Financial Shares Corp. aimed at charting the group’s strategy as it strives to meet the changing needs of its members. Since then, the organization has focused on challenges such as the lack of rural housing stock, engagement with young bankers, banking’s image in the communities it serves, and financial literacy.

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Is AI Customer-Approved?

By Alaina Webster, Managing Editor

Begin a conversation about technology, and you’ll immediately hear that artificial intelligence will be driving banks in the near future. From chatbot companies, to the fintechs that help integrate the chatbots into core and legacy systems, a push is being made to establish AI as not only useful but inevitable. Phrases like “Banks MUST” and “Consumers EXPECT” are tossed about with abandon (sometimes even in this magazine). But is AI inevitable, and do customers really expect it?

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A Voice of One’s Own

Voice authentication may be banks’ answer to remote identity verification.

By Alaina Webster

Passwords, PINs, fingerprints and retinal scans work well when verifying identities via mobile or digital channels, but when it comes to determining if a customer is who they say they are over the phone, verification becomes more difficult and time-consuming. Enter voice authentication.

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Stability Through Times of Change

Thoughtful communication management is key to a successful merger or acquisition.

By Alaina Webster, Managing Editor

According to most predictions, merger and acquisition activity is expected to increase in 2018. An article from the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, Mergers and Acquisitions: 2018 with a Brief Look Back, states, “As a new regulatory environment takes hold, we expect that an increasing number of banks will be let out of the regulatory ‘penalty box’ to pursue acquisitions. An increase in able buyers combined with a more expedited regulatory approval process should spur bank M&A activity.”

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