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Inside the JMFA Academy: Who You’ll Meet and What You’ll Learn at our In-Person Sessions



Q&a with the experts: inside the jmfa academy

The JMFA Academy offers a unique learning opportunity for our overdraft service clients, with small class sizes, hands-on learning and roundtable discussions facilitated by our experts in our Houston classroom. Attendees come from all over the nation to learn the latest in compliance developments and strategies for maximizing results using Privilege Manager CRM® software, leaving with fresh ideas, best practices for communicating with account holders, and an advanced understanding of the program.


JAMES DARDEN: Describe your role at JMFA and how you became involved with JMFA Academy.

DAMIAN BABINEAUX: I am a Relationship Manager, so I help manage the implementation of the Overdraft Privilege program with my clients. When the JMFA Academy was being put together, I was brought on because of my knowledge of FastTrack and client tracking and reporting.

HUBUR BARNETT: I am a Client Trainer with responsibilities of conducting training sessions for the overdraft program. I was asked to be part of the JMFA Academy training team given my experience and motivational training style. As part of our project consulting and implementation, I visit our clients to facilitate training. I provide onsite workshops for their staff on how the service works, including how the program can provide additional value for their account holders as well as their financial institution.


DARDEN: What can a client expect when attending the JMFA Academy?

BARNETT: First and foremost, clients can expect a warm, friendly, down-to-earth environment that is professional and courteous! All of the JMFA Academy team presenters are executive level, managers, and/or highly skilled in their financial consulting area.  The Academy is designed to help Overdraft Privilege Managers get the most out of Privilege Manager CRM®. We do this through presentations, demonstrations, discussions, and hands-on practice.

BABINEAUX: Over the course of two days, they will gain extensive knowledge and information directly applicable to effective program management. They’ll also learn about updates to the program in terms of compliance and best practices for efficient and effective operation of the program, the latest Privilege Manager CRM® changes and upgrades, and the tools available to perform all necessary tasks.

BARNETT: When they walk into the classroom, our clients receive a customized packet for their financial institution based on their data and a laptop computer at their desk so they can work with real-world, relevant data. One of the most popular agenda items will be the Privilege Manager CRM® software—they’ll get hands-on learning about how the system operates and how to utilize it to its full capability.

We also cover regulations and compliance as it relates to the overdraft program, how to communicate the service properly when talking to account holders, key elements of success, and the various details from their own individual program results. They will walk away with a greater understanding of their program through and through.

BABINEAUX: Yes, the classroom setting really allows participants to communicate openly with each other, giving everyone valuable new resources from which to draw. It’s great for sharing best practices so attendees can gain insight into what their peers (other financial institutions) are experiencing.


DARDEN: Based on your most recent sessions, can you share some of the attendees’ specific takeaways?

BABINEAUX: I think it becomes clearer for our clients just how valuable of a lifeline Overdraft Privilege can be for their account holders.  Also, I think they definitely get a better understanding of how the payment landscape continues to evolve with increased use of debit cards, and how that can affect the bottom line as well as increase risk.

BARNETT: Attendees have always—in every Academy session I have facilitated—left with a better understanding of the best practices. Feedback shared by other attendees during our roundtable discussions usually gives them a few immediate action items they can take back to create a positive impact. They also often exchange contact information before they leave so they have another resource for strategies related to overdraft services or to just simply communicate with each other about different aspects of their organizations.


DARDEN: Does JMFA limit the number of attendees per session?

BARNETT: Each session has a maximum of 12 participants.


DARDEN: How does the class size work to the advantage of attendees?

BABINEAUX: A limited class size allows us to provide maximum individual attention to each and every participant.

BARNETT: Plus, it encourages more participation and sharing of ideas and best practices. It’s also more personal and enjoyable when you have such a small group of people that you get to know well over the two days.


DARDEN: What feedback has come from the sessions?

BABINEAUX: Our clients say that the sessions were very informative and that it opened their eyes to doing more or different things as it pertains to how the program is administered or executed.

BARNETT: The feedback has been great overall. They enjoy the encouraging environment, meeting attendees from other financial institutions and sharing best practices with one another.

Overall, clients love the more advanced Privilege Manager CRM® training we offer and learning how to effectively evaluate, communicate, and manage their data. The hands-on approach is extremely effective! They see it as a powerful tool to reduce financial loss while providing a great quality overdraft service program for their account holders.


DARDEN: Describe one interesting thing that happened during a recent JMFA Academy session.

BABINEAUX: We recently had one participant who was somewhat new to using the software. Thanks to the information presented, she had a 180-degree shift in mindset by the time she left.

BARNETT: I found out from some of the classroom attendees that some of their branches were not consistently communicating the overdraft program the same way, which could have contributed to some potential financial losses. After attending the JMFA Academy, they had more knowledge on how the overdraft services should be communicated consistently and what to keep a lookout for when they are managing the program.


DARDEN: Do you have a favorite story or memorable experience from one of the JMFA Academy sessions you facilitated?

BARNETT: I do! Some of the presenters and I were having a classroom roundtable discussion and I asked, “What are some obstacles you currently face at your financial institution that deal with the overdraft privilege service program? And, if you have specific obstacles, how will you overcome them based on the knowledge you received from the JMFA Academy?”

That opened up a discussion where one attendee described a time-saving method related to Privilege Manager CRM® that allowed her to get back to her daily duties quicker. Another attendee had not thought of doing it that way, but it made sense and the attendee said, “I am going to try that when I get back.”

This really drove home how important it is to focus on brainstorming and sharing ideas that can help all the attendees.


DARDEN: What do you like most about facilitating JMFA Academy sessions?

BABINEAUX: Being able to pull the participants away from the daily demands at their individual institutions and spurring change by answering the “why” questions that they come in with or hadn’t thought about.

BARNETT: I like the relationship building and being able to help support the client’s financial institution by training them—and seeing that training turn into positive results.


DARDEN: What level of experience should attendees have before taking a session at the Academy?

BARNETT: Clients should have a basic understanding of the Privilege Manager CRM®, the tracking data and how the program works, including how the overdraft service benefits the account holder.

BABINEAUX: They should come ready to learn new techniques for managing overdrawn accounts, eager to brainstorm and explore different ideas and methods, and be open to sharing their experiences with attendees from other financial institutions.


DARDEN: What advice do you have for clients who may be deciding whether to attend an in-person session at the JMFA Academy?

BABINEAUX: Come in with an open mind and an empty stomach, ready to learn and be inspired by our knowledgeable and energetic team of facilitators!

BARNETT: Agreed! Come with enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. You’ll walk away with a deeper understanding of the overdraft service, and you’ll also have fun, collaborate with other attendees, share best practices, and make new friendships along the way.


DARDEN:  What would you say to an executive who is on the fence about whether it is worth the investment to send staff to the JMFA Academy?

BABINEAUX: Investment in your employees carries a ripple effect on everything they touch and/or manage. The investment in sending an employee to a training designed to provide them with valuable foundational information with the opportunity to discuss successes and challenges with like institutions can prove to be immensely beneficial to the institution overall.


DARDEN: Anything else you’d like to add?

BARNETT: Clients can always sign up for Academy sessions at jmfa.com/academy. We conduct sessions throughout the year for banks and credit unions.


DARDEN: Great! Thank you all for sharing your insight and experiences.



JMFA is one of the most trusted names in the industry. Whether it’s recovering lost revenue, uncovering new savings with vendor contract negotiations, creating more value, serving account holders better or delivering a 100% compliant overdraft service—JMFA can help you deliver measurable results with proven solutions. To learn more, please contact your local representative or call us at (800) 809-2307.


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