NACM Heartland Credit Blog


January 20, 2016
Written By: Lisa Russell

There is one certainty in today’s ag industry – there is no certainty.  With a volatile commodities market, rising interest rates, and a changing climate, tapping and extending credit has become more complex than ever.  To help you better navigate in a turbulent time, we’re bringing together three speakers who will address:

  • How the banking industry is preparing for this year’s ag loans, as well as changing policies.
  • Tips on risk management.
  • The impact on government payments.
  • Securing your loans, as well as suggestions on collecting delinquent accounts.
  • UCCs and how they can work for you.

Join us on Thursday, March 3 from 1 – 5 p.m. at the DMACC FFA Conference Center, 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd.  For questions or to RSVP, contact Maggie Bessenbacher at 888.222.1447.  More information to follow.

October 18, 2015
Written By: Lisa Russell

The fall Heartland Headliner and the 2014-15 annual report are now available for download.

In this issue:

  • The Basics of Credit Card Fees and Surcharges
  • 2016 Credit Congress Registration Is Open
  • November Lunch and Learn: Best Practices
  • September's CMI Is at a Yearly Low
  • Ty Knox Running for National Board of Directors
  • OCS Announces Compliance Update
  • Annual Report 

August 7, 2013
Written By: Lisa Russell

NACM Heartland is working on the 2013/2014 credit educational classes in the Des Moines area.  We would like to know what classes you are interested in taking.  Please respond by Friday, August 9 to Maggie Bessenbacher.
CBA Classes

  • Principles of Business Credit
  • Basic Financial Accounting
  • Financial Statement Analysis I

CBF Classes

  • Business Law
  • Credit Law

If you would like a description of any of these classes please let me know and I will provide the information right away.
Please note: whether you take one class or are working on your certification, education is investing in yourself and no one can take that away from you!
Why Should You Earn Your Certification?
When you apply to participate in the Professional Certification Program, you are on your way to demonstrating that you are among the best. You’ll join a select group of individuals who have made the commitment to excellence in credit management, career advancement and an ongoing pursuit of knowledge. Throughout the process, you will be recognized for your achievements.

The certification program, sponsored by the National Association of Credit Management, has helped define and establish professional standards in this demanding and rapidly changing field, and fosters recognition of those individuals who possess special expertise.

A Recognized Path to Success
Among credit management professionals, the professional certification program is respected and appreciated. Not only is participation in the program a mark of distinction throughout the profession, but it offers you a wide range of important benefits:

  • Expanded Knowledge: By reading, studying and preparing for the exams, you’ll gain a thorough, up-to-date understanding of every aspect of credit management, including a look at future trends and strategies essential to your success.
  • Career Opportunities: Certification tells employers that you are motivated, accomplished and current in your knowledge of credit management skills. It indicates that you are actively working to maintain high standards in the field.
  • Heightened Professional Recognition: NACM’s professional designations attest to experience, knowledge, ability, accomplishment, leadership and contributions to the credit and financial fields. Designations raise the level of respect among colleagues in business credit management and between professionals in the financial community. Proudly display your designation with your name on letterhead, business cards and all forms of address.
  • Standards of Excellence: With constant changes in credit and with banking and financial services redefining the role of the credit executive, the certification program is clearly a valuable way to master professional education requirements and achieve professional excellence.


March 11, 2013
Written By: Lisa Russell


New learning tracks and the evolution of professional designations are part and parcel for keeping up with the varying and progressing needs of today’s business professionals, including those in credit. After a review of existing programs, and careful consideration and development, NACM announced in March the latest in a long line of world-class program designations: The Certified Credit & Risk Analyst (CCRA).

The CCRA is unlike NACM’s other longtime designation programs in that it is a standalone program. It exists outside of NACM’s “Career Roadmap” that includes the Credit Business Associate (CBA), Credit Business Fellow (CBF) and Certified Credit Executive (CCE), the latter of which is still NACM’s top-level designation for members.

The CCRA was created after Financial Statement Analysis II was removed from the CBF designation, with the new requirements effective January 1, 2013. NACM’s Education Department updated the extracted course and renamed it Financial Statement Analysis, Interpretation & Credit Risk Assessment to better reflect its emphasis. The updated version is now considered by NACM to be the cornerstone of the CCRA.

“We realized that Financial Statement Analysis II wasn’t for everyone, and that it served as a bit of a roadblock to the CBF for some members. However, we also recognized that some credit department personnel need that in-depth, advanced financial analysis background, which is why this standalone designation was created,” said NACM President Robin Schauseil, CAE.

As with other designation courses, Financial Statement Analysis, Interpretation & Credit Risk Assessment can be completed alone as a certificate session. However, earning the CCRA requires the completion of three courses: Basic Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis I and the new Financial Statement Analysis, Interpretation & Credit Risk Assessment. The methods available to complete each course vary and can be found under “Education” at The first opportunity to take Financial Statement Analysis, Interpretation & Credit Risk Assessment is a five-segment session and exam held at Credit Congress from May 18-23.

Though separate from the “roadmap” lineup of certifications, the CCRA will serve as key program for credit professionals tied to deeper financial analysis responsibilities and for those who will be in the future. It is also designed to build background and add key skill sets for those pursuing a designation path already in play.

“If you’ve earned your CBA and want, or need more financial analysis skills, this is for you,” Schauseil said. “It’s a great precursor to the CCE even though it’s not a part of the NACM career roadmap. It’s also a great precursor for NACM's Graduate School of Credit and Financial Management.”

This story was provided by NACM National and was included in the weekly eNews.


October 15, 2012
Written By: Maggie Bessenbacher


In mid-September, I was in Seattle for the annual CFDD conference.  If you aren’t familiar with NACM’s Credit and Financial Development Division, this is a group that is committed to developing tomorrow's business leaders through core offerings.

While the intent of the CFDD conference is to provide education and networking opportunities, which is similar to NACM’s annual Credit Congress, there are a few differences. 

  • There isn’t an expo, so there are no vendors at the CFDD conference.
  • There are fewer attendees.  This year, there were just more than a hundred attendees at the CFDD conference compared to 12,000 attendees at Credit Congress.
  • The registration price to attend the CFDD conference is about half as much as Credit Congress. 

There are pros and cons to these differences.  No vendors means no hounding phone calls when you get back to the office.  Fewer people mean the overall experience is a little cozier, a little more manageable and a little less intimidating.  The registration price is easier to sell to those who approve your expenses. 

However, none of this impacts the quality of the experience.  There is very good education and networking opportunities the two days of the conference.  For example, some of the educational topics included:

  • Building a Strength-Based Leadership Culture
  • Practical Analysis When Reviewing Customers
  • Determining Credit Limits with or without Financials
  • Positive Language in Communications - Evaluating the Words You Use
  • Negotiating Collections
  • Best Practices Roundtable 
  • Business Ethics and the Credit Professional
  • Maximizing Employee Engagement

There are networking opportunities throughout both days as well. Lunches are perhaps on of the most valuable networking experiences.   At each lunch you are assigned a table to sit at.  When you sit down for lunch you do not know anyone at your table.  By the time lunch is over you know seven new people who work in credit, where they are from and what type of industry they work in.

Of course, no conference is complete without some social time, and the evenings are designed to be fun. The first evening they held a networking social and silent auction.  CFDD prides itself on the scholarships they provide for members.  Overall, CFDD chapters and CFDD National have awarded 171 scholarships at a total value of $50,867 over the last year, bringing the cumulative total from 1990 to 2012 to 7,416 scholarships worth $1,623,889. This year CFDD awarded 63 scholarships in the amount of $24,613.

The closing night party always has a theme.  This year’s theme was Margaretville and they encourage people to dress according to the theme.  You never know what you will see.  This year the CFDD Kansas City Chapter (of which I belong) dressed up as pink flamingos.  If you would like to see a picture of this let me know and I will embarrass myself and send you one.  The closing night party also includes a Dessert Auction to help the scholarship fund. 

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, we’ll keep you posted about next year’s event, which is scheduled for the third week of September in Albuquerque.



September 5, 2012
Written By: NACM Heartland

The NACM National Education Department is making a change to the CAP/ACAP program.  They are eliminating the second Financial Statement Analysis course from the CBF designation requirements, and requiring only the two law classes, Business Law and Credit Law. 

Financial Statements:  Interpretation and Credit Risk Assessment has been an important class to many NACM Heartland members over the years.  It has allowed credit professionals to dig deep into the numbers and get a better understanding about their company and how the decisions they make impact the bottom line. 

This change does not go into effect until January 1, 2013, so anyone taking the CBF exam before then will need to this class.  In addition, NACM National believes this course is important enough to offer on its own, and it will be available at least online going into the future.

If you have any questions, please contact Maggie Bessenbacher at 888.222.1447.

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Credit Department Concerns
Credit Exchange Groups
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