Just a Click Away

ICBA’s Online Education Center brings extensive, affordable staff training—right to any desktop

By Andrea Knotts Bona

People use online training because it saves them the two things that everyone could use more of—time and money.

Online training via the ICBA Online Education Center is a fraction of the cost to fly or drive out of town to attend a seminar or training event. It’s also less expensive than hiring a live trainer to teach on-site at a bank. Community bankers are busy and the current financial climate certainly isn’t the best, so it’s ICBA’s hope that the center can help with these realities and make life a little easier for its members.

“Online training programs have changed the way banks train employees,” says Lora Marvin, president of Chaotic Solutions, a company that helps develop the center’s compliance courses. “The content we develop makes training easier by providing information to people in a versatile way. The visuals, text and audio all complement each other and add to the student’s overall experience.”

The Online Training Center brings new meaning to anywhere, anytime learning. Its courses are self-paced and are available 24/7. Program participants also have 365 days to complete a course.

In 2012, nearly 1,200 community banks used the center to enroll in nearly 63,000 courses, many of which provide opportunities to earn Continuing Professional Education credits and achieve certification in some areas.

Trends for 2013. The Online Education Center offers more than 200 courses that focus on subjects including general business, software and communications skills, with about 70 courses pertaining to bank-specific compliance issues. With change being the only constant when it comes to banking regulations, compliance education has become a hot training topic. Acknowledging the industry’s need for training, the center developed a compliance library with a full range of courses covering everything from the Bank Secrecy Act and the Flood Disaster Protection Act to Regulation Z, and new compliance courses are being added monthly.

One of the center’s most popular educational offerings is the Bank Secrecy Act course. It breaks down the many BSA requirements into manageable chunks, making sense of the law’s compliance requirements.

Convenient and economical. Course pricing is kept low ($69.95 per course for ICBA members and $129.95 for non-members) to encourage individuals and institutions to access the courses. Institutional pricing, which offers a volume discount based on the number of courses purchased and the bank’s asset size, allows all of a bank’s employees to use the courses purchased. With institutional pricing, the more courses that are purchased, the greater the discount.

Many community banks rate the center’s ability to monitor employees’ learning progress a very attractive feature. For example, a community bank might purchase a library of courses and then assign an in-house administrator to manage and track participation. Once an employee successfully passes a course, the bank can generate a certificate. This helps provide official documentation of employee training to regulators—a huge plus in today’s business climate. endmark

Andrea Knotts Bona is ICBA vice president, marketing.