Case Studies

Prior to being acquired by the Bank of the West in 2001, United California Bank (formerly Sanwa Bank of California) had $11 billion assets and was the fourth largest bank in California. From 1995 until 2001, Paragon provided consulting services to UCB and trained approximately 120 of its officers annually.

Program Development, Course Design and Facilitation

Paragon developed an Advanced Credit Curriculum Certification Program for all experienced lending officers at UCB. Certification was granted to officers who completed two required courses per year and all courses over a three-year period. The six-course program covered key credit issues within the analytical framework including: Credit Orientation, Understanding Industry, Strategy, and Management, Advanced Cash Flow, Forecasting, Sources of Repayment and Risk Evaluation and Real Estate for Commercial Lenders.

Consulting - Needs Assessment, Recommendation and Implementation

Paragon revised United California Bank’s Credit Approval Document that was used for all commercial credit requests. Paragon conducted a needs assessment survey by interviewing all personnel who used or reviewed the credit request document. Post-survey, Paragon determined the various users’ requirements, recommended changes, and created a plan for implementation of the changes.

Consulting - Credit Policy

Paragon revised United California Bank’s Credit Risk Grading System. The services included conducting a needs assessment to determine risk grade expectations through extensive interviews with line and senior managers, developing recommendations of a risk grade design and implementing the recommendations.

The Bank of California is a $10 billion asset bank with offices throughout California, Oregon and Washington. Paragon provided training for all 400 large corporate, commercial lenders and private lenders, credit administrators, risk review personnel and senior line managers.

Course Development, Design and Facilitation

Paragon designed and facilitated a three-day, comprehensive Risk Analysis Seminar promoting the bank’s credit culture. Topics included qualitative analysis of a credit, forecasting, identification and evaluation of the primary and secondary sources of repayment and communication of the results. Case studies plus a final test case study were used to apply the concepts.

Bank One is the sixth largest bank in the US with $260 billion in assets. For four years its corporate division engaged Paragon to train its new MBAs hired for the syndication, corporate finance, treasury management, capital markets and corporate lending groups.

Program Development, Design and Facilitation

A comprehensive two-week Credit Risk Analysis Program was designed for new MBA associates who needed to translate theories taught in graduate school into actual practice, and to learn more about the debt markets. Topics included analysis of industry, strategy and management, evaluation of historical financial performance including detailed critique of the capital structure, construction and evaluation of business cash flows, forecasting, evaluation of sources of repayment, loan structuring, and communication of the results using the Bank One’s credit approval format.

CIBC, with $287.9 billion in assets, is a full-service financial institution operating in Canada, the US, Europe and Asia. CIBC is the 12th largest bank in North America. CIBC’s commercial bank unit, part of CIBC World Market strategic business unit, serves middle market customers in the US and Canada.

Course Design

CIBC engaged Paragon to revise one of its commercial banking core training courses - Cash Flow Analysis Seminar. After analyzing the existing course, the program was re-designed to include current credit culture objectives. Paragon assisted in the implementation by facilitating the pilot program and by writing a comprehensive leader’s guide.

The $36.2 billion Union Bank of California ranks among the 35 largest banks in the US and is the third largest commercial bank in California. Owned 67% by the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Ltd., Union Bank has operations in California, Washington, Oregon and Asia. Union Bank came to Paragon to completely re-design their entry-level training program for approximately 450 new analysts.

Consulting – Needs Assessment, Recommendation and Implementation

Initially, Paragon was asked to evaluate the credit training needs for the participant group and to assess the existing credit training curriculum. After the assessment, Paragon recommended a complete redesign of the program, transforming it into a comprehensive, 21-day entry-level program with eight new case studies and a final test. Paragon then designed the program and provided training and support to Union Bank instructors.

Program Development, Course Design and Facilitation

Paragon developed the 21-day Process of Credit Analysis Curriculum program, case studies and exercises. Services also included facilitation of the pilot program and the development of instructor manuals.

Bancomer, with $410.7 billion pesos in assets, provides both commercial and retail banking services in Mexico. Prior to its 2000 merger between Grupo Financiero Bancomer and Grupo Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentina, Paragon provided consulting services to its wholesale banking unit. At the time Paragon was engaged, Bancomer was shifting the entire organization’s credit culture and needed assistance developing an appropriate message and supporting courses.

Consulting - Needs Assessment, Recommendation and Implementation

Paragon was asked to evaluate Bancomer’s existing credit culture and to recommend changes. Paragon’s solution was to implement a series of changes in the bank’s underwriting guidelines that enabled the bank to enhance the consistency of the overall credit analysis. Additionally, Paragon recommended a series of courses that demonstrated the new concepts and helped create the common language and consistency of analysis throughout the bank. A key point in the recommendation was for the training to be brought in-house so the changes in credit culture came from within the organization.

Program Development and Course Design

In addition to the credit philosophy changes, Paragon developed a program of Core Credit Training Courses that ensured the credit culture message filtered throughout the bank and the training materials matched the bank’s credit analysis objectives. New courses included Cash Flow, Industry Analysis and Loan Structuring and detailed instructor guides were included as well.

ABN AMRO, with total assets of EUR 597.4 billion, is the eighth largest bank in Europe and operates in 45 countries. Paragon was engaged by ABN AMRO’s Consumer and Commercial Client strategic banking unit. The Consumer and Commercial Client unit serves small- to mid-sized enterprises in the Midwestern US, the Netherlands and Brazil.

Consulting - Needs Assessment and Recommendations

ABN AMRO asked Paragon to evaluate their 8-week entry-level Bankers Training Program. The bank was no longer sure that its curriculum was appropriate and that the length of the program was sufficient. Paragon interviewed senior management to determine their expectations regarding the trainees’ skills levels after the program. Paragon then reviewed and evaluated the existing curriculum to see whether it covered the areas the trainees were expected to be proficient in. Paragon then recommended curriculum revisions that met the needs of the line managers sponsoring the trainees.
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