269 U.S. government entities – of which 85 are counties – are now enjoying the benefits of eConnectDirect®, a NACo Financial Services Center-endorsed program initiated one year ago after an extensive, county-driven due diligence process.
eConnectDirect is a no-cost, online investment information tool that supports county financial officers as they manage excess funds. The tool was developed by Michigan-based Multi-Bank Securities, Inc., (MBS), a broker-dealer with which NACo FSC has developed a long-term partnership. MBS currently serves a total of 719 local government accounts, of which 187 are counties.
David Thompson, President and Managing Director of NACo FSC, has focused this first year on bringing state associations on board as co-sponsors of the program.
“We now have 11 states helping to promote the program and are expecting to add several more in 2015,” Thompson said. “In each case, the associations have sought and received feedback from in-state professionals who have reviewed the system and recognized its value for them and their colleagues.”
In addition, the National Association of County Collectors, Treasurers and Financial Officers board of directors voted to support, through their membership, NACo’s endorsement of eConnectDirect.
David T. Maccagnone, CEO of MBS, has been on the road all year promoting eConnectDirect, including visiting potential clients in the courthouse and attending state association meetings.
“Multi-Bank Securities, Inc. has re-built its business around eConnectDirect, without changing our personal service model. We call it high-tech, high-touch,” Maccagnone said. “In this day and age, you don’t gain new customers on the telephone. Clients are busy. They appreciate meeting you in person and they find comfort that their association, or an association they know has credibility, has looked at and endorsed your service.”
The next phase of the program roll-out will build on its base of new customers. MBS offers a combination of personalized, group and skills-specific webinar opportunities to an expanding audience of financial officers. This past year, MBS found that after 30 to 40 percent of potential clients experience the system’s features in a short webinar, they then open an account with MBS, thereby attaining eConnectDirect log-in access.
In the present, uncertain investment environment, MBS is a resource for both general and specific investment information.
“Our professionals have access to live webinars and a growing library of product and skills information to help treasurers,” Maccagnone said. “We can spend as much time as they need to better understand the risks and opportunities this market will present.”
Year two of the program promises to be challenging but rewarding as this revolutionary service is offered to counties, districts, cities, school boards, state governments and others. According to Thompson, the NACo endorsement will lead the charge.
“This program represents the mission of the Financial Services Center,” Thompson said. “Above all, it is good for government. It is innovative, economical and, in the end, helps stretch scarce county resources a little further.”
States that co-endorse eConnectDirect:
For more information, call: Association of Oregon Counties at 503-585-8351
Multi-Bank Securities, Inc. Member of FINRA & SIPC; MSRB Registered.