Small Business Saturday isn’t a novelty anymore – independent retailers depend on it

Here are the expectations for Small Business Saturday

Here are the expectations for Small Business Saturday   8:32 AM ET Fri, 23 Nov 2018 | 02:10

For Mackenzi Farquer, Small Business Saturday is a big deal.

The owner of Queens, New York-based Lockwood gift shop, which sells kitchenware, clothing and paper goods, says there’s often barely room to stand in her locations on the retail holiday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“It’s our busiest day of the year,” Farquer says. “I think people in this neighborhood especially are trained to know that this the day to come out and shop at small businesses. They are not only coming for holiday shopping, they also want to be here to support us.”

And those shoppers show their support in a big way — that day alone accounts for some 8 percent of Lockwood’s overall holiday sales. “It’s at a fever pitch and growing every year,” she says.

Small Business Saturday, now in its ninth year, is sponsored by American Express and encourages consumers to get out and shop “small” supporting local retailers and restaurants in person and online. Last year, nearly $13 billion was spent on that day alone, a slight dip from 2016.

This year, data from Amex and the National Federation of Independent Business finds some 83 percent of consumers say they plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping at a small independently owned retailer or restaurant either in person, or online. Nearly 6 in 10 consumers nationwide say they are aware of the shopping holiday, and among them, 80 percent plan to shop at independent retailers that day.

Small business owners working in bakery together

John Lund/Marc Romanelli | Blend Images | Getty Images

Meanwhile, data from CNBC and SurveyMonkey’s Small Business Saturday poll finds some 44 percent of consumers say they will patronize a small business on the day this year, up slightly from 2017, and 58 percent say they will shop in person. Overall this season, 28 percent said they will spend less while 14 percent said they will spend more.

This year, American Express has also expanded the holiday to Puerto Rico for the first time and is sponsoring events including popup shops with Etsy, campaigns to support female-owned businesses and more.

“Small Business Saturday is a great chance to drive awareness and keep small businesses top of mind,” said Raina Moskowitz, Etsy’s SVP of people, strategy and services. “Mass retailers play a great role in convenience and price, but when you shop from a small business, there is a story behind what you are buying. so it’s more personal and thoughtful, especially for the holiday season.”

Small business owners like Mackenzie Farquer are gearing up for Small Business Saturday, when shoppers are encouraged to patronize small, local retailers.

Kate Rogers | CNBC
Small business owners like Mackenzie Farquer are gearing up for Small Business Saturday, when shoppers are encouraged to patronize small, local retailers.

Heather Parker sells dog bow ties, leashes and other gifts online and at her shop Crew LaLa in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s her fifth year participating in Small Business Saturday, and each year sales have doubled, Parker said. Last year, the day accounted for 12 percent of the company’s overall holiday season sales, and even brought in new, repeat customers.

“Last year 40 percent of our customers from Small Business Saturday were first-time customers,” Parker said. “Of that 40 percent, 65 percent actually turned into returning customers.”

The store even has to bring in extra employees for the weekend and the rest of the holiday season.

“We have to beef up for it because we get such a response from Small Business Saturday,” Parker said. “Having a day that really shows support … is really inspiring. It helps us and kind of fuels us for the rest of the year.”

Here are the expectations for Small Business Saturday

Here are the expectations for Small Business Saturday   8:32 AM ET Fri, 23 Nov 2018 | 02:10

For Mackenzi Farquer, Small Business Saturday is a big deal.

The owner of Queens, New York-based Lockwood gift shop, which sells kitchenware, clothing and paper goods, says there’s often barely room to stand in her locations on the retail holiday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“It’s our busiest day of the year,” Farquer says. “I think people in this neighborhood especially are trained to know that this the day to come out and shop at small businesses. They are not only coming for holiday shopping, they also want to be here to support us.”

And those shoppers show their support in a big way — that day alone accounts for some 8 percent of Lockwood’s overall holiday sales. “It’s at a fever pitch and growing every year,” she says.

Small Business Saturday, now in its ninth year, is sponsored by American Express and encourages consumers to get out and shop “small” supporting local retailers and restaurants in person and online. Last year, nearly $13 billion was spent on that day alone, a slight dip from 2016.

This year, data from Amex and the National Federation of Independent Business finds some 83 percent of consumers say they plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping at a small independently owned retailer or restaurant either in person, or online. Nearly 6 in 10 consumers nationwide say they are aware of the shopping holiday, and among them, 80 percent plan to shop at independent retailers that day.

Small business owners working in bakery together

John Lund/Marc Romanelli | Blend Images | Getty Images

Meanwhile, data from CNBC and SurveyMonkey’s Small Business Saturday poll finds some 44 percent of consumers say they will patronize a small business on the day this year, up slightly from 2017, and 58 percent say they will shop in person. Overall this season, 28 percent said they will spend less while 14 percent said they will spend more.

This year, American Express has also expanded the holiday to Puerto Rico for the first time and is sponsoring events including popup shops with Etsy, campaigns to support female-owned businesses and more.

“Small Business Saturday is a great chance to drive awareness and keep small businesses top of mind,” said Raina Moskowitz, Etsy’s SVP of people, strategy and services. “Mass retailers play a great role in convenience and price, but when you shop from a small business, there is a story behind what you are buying. so it’s more personal and thoughtful, especially for the holiday season.”

Small business owners like Mackenzie Farquer are gearing up for Small Business Saturday, when shoppers are encouraged to patronize small, local retailers.

Kate Rogers | CNBC
Small business owners like Mackenzie Farquer are gearing up for Small Business Saturday, when shoppers are encouraged to patronize small, local retailers.

Heather Parker sells dog bow ties, leashes and other gifts online and at her shop Crew LaLa in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s her fifth year participating in Small Business Saturday, and each year sales have doubled, Parker said. Last year, the day accounted for 12 percent of the company’s overall holiday season sales, and even brought in new, repeat customers.

“Last year 40 percent of our customers from Small Business Saturday were first-time customers,” Parker said. “Of that 40 percent, 65 percent actually turned into returning customers.”

The store even has to bring in extra employees for the weekend and the rest of the holiday season.

“We have to beef up for it because we get such a response from Small Business Saturday,” Parker said. “Having a day that really shows support … is really inspiring. It helps us and kind of fuels us for the rest of the year.”

[“source=gsmarena”]

Five Ways To Prepare Your Business For Small Business Saturday

young smiling customer looking excited and carrying many paper bags in clothes shopGetty

American Express’ Small Business Saturday has fast become an American tradition for the Saturday following Black Friday. Small businesses across the country will be celebrating the ninth year of this annual shopping event on Saturday, November 24. It can mean a big day of sales; in 2017 alone, consumers spent almost $13 million. Gear up your small businaess to make the most of profits this Small Business Saturday with these five tips.

1. Promote your participation as soon as possible.

American Express offers materials and resources you can use to promote your business and sales. You can create customizable online, in-store and social media marketing materials. This is a cost-effective way to promote your participation. Print signs and banners at a local printer to support another neighborhood business and get your materials sooner. 

2. Prepare digitally.

Online shopping is increasing every year. Make sure your website is up to date with available inventory, all promotional offers and holiday hours. In 2017, almost half of all online retail traffic during the holiday shopping season came from a smartphone, according to data from Adobe. You don’t want to miss out on that traffic, so be sure to check that your website is mobile-friendly for customers shopping on the go.

Schedule social media posts announcing your participation in Small Business Saturday and any sales in advance by spending an afternoon planning out your posts. Reach new customers by advertising with Google Adwords, Twitter and Facebook. You can provide consumers with a customized experience by launching geo-targeted ads to your desired audience.

3. Prepare your team.

The holiday season often requires more employees, but hiring seasonal help can be a challenging process. Get a head start by accepting applications in early November, and in order to get the best help, accept applications in person and online.

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Once your team is in place, training is imperative. Customer service should be your No. 1 priority on Small Business Saturday, and your employees need the necessary skills to help make that priority happen. Teach all your employees to help customers find the proper products, and explain which additional products would complement the rest of their order. Remember, this is the perfect opportunity to turn first-time visitors into life-long customers.

4. Prepare your inventory.

Your distributors may be flooded with other client orders before Small Business Saturday and the rest of the holiday season, so place your orders well in advance. It is essential to have enough inventory to last the weekend, but you should also be judicious in how much you order. You don’t want to run the risk of overstocking. Review your previous year’s performance to get an idea of how much you need to order. Even if you did not actively participate in Small Business Saturday last year, many consumers knowingly shopped at small businesses that weekend. That means previous years’ sales can provide you with a good starting point.

5. Prepare your financing.

Additional employees, marketing materials and inventory will require additional working capital. Finance your Small Business Saturday campaigns by finding the right financing fit to help. You can calculate how much you’ll need to finance your campaigns or secure more inventory by reviewing your previous budget and sales from the prior years.

Some business funding options include SBA loans, merchant cash advances, lines of credit, term loans and invoice factoring. Your financing needs and your business’s credit score will help determine which type of financing option is best. The length of time you can repay the amount you’re looking to borrow is also an important factor in your decision, and the age of your business can affect which products are available to you.

Preparation is key to a successful Small Business Saturday. Consumers will be inundated with messages about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But with some careful planning, you can stand out from your competition, both big and small.

[“source=forbes]

Government looks to super funds to back $2 billion small business plan

Superannuation funds will be courted to participate in the federal government’s $2 billion push to increase funding for small business.

The government’s two part policy announced on Wednesday features a potential $2 billion investment in a  securitisation fund to help small businesses access debt finance outside the big banks and the “encouragement” of the establishment of a growth fund to provide longer term equity funding.

Mr Frydenberg told Fairfax Media on Friday there was a clear need for the funds “with the big banks responsible for more than 80 per cent of small business loans that are less than $2 million, there are few alternative funding routes.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the two funds on Wednesday.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the two funds on Wednesday. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Securitisation fund

The securitisation fund will operate through the government buying bonds that are drawn from a pool of small business loans and providing cheaper funding to smaller banks and non-bank lenders through new or existing warehouse facilities.

The government will receive interest from these loans on a monthly basis which is where it will make its money and a well placed source said the government hopes superannuation funds will also participate in a similar way.

Ultimately the source said the government envisages it will not have to keep investing as the market matures which could take around three to five years.

Looking to superannuation funds

Joseph Healy, is the co-founder of SME lender Judo Capital, which is likely to benefit from the fund and said if the government is willing to invest money through the fund, superannuation funds may be willing to invest as well.

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“Being able to invest into the securitisation fund and access a pools of funds rather than individual funds is a much better way for SMEs to access the superannuation market,” he said.

Eva Scheerlinck, chief executive of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, said new investment opportunities are always welcome but it’s too early to say what the response will be from super funds.

“Super funds have a fiduciary duty to their members to ensure that every investment made is the right one for their portfolio and the investment outlook,” she said.

“At the end of the day, the assets that trustees invest in still have to be of investment grade and assessed against a rigorous criteria to ensure members get the best outcomes.”

Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees chief executive Eva Scheerlinck.
Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees chief executive Eva Scheerlinck.Credit:Steven Pam

Small business ombudsman Kate Carnell helped develop the policy and said the securitisation fund would encourage smaller banks and non bank lenders to lend to small businesses.

“For second tier banks the cost of lending is a mix of risk and cost of capital,” she said. “Why don’t they lend now?  The cost of capital is high and the dilemma of lending to small business or SMEs is that the risk is higher. By bringing down the cost of capital you can make the business case for some of these lenders to focus on small business.”

Small businesses having trouble securing finance

01:16

Small businesses having trouble securing finance

Small businesses are being promised easier access to finance through a new $2 billion fund to be unveiled by the Morrison Government.

Growth fund

The second part of the government’s policy is to promote the establishment of a growth fund.

The government is consulting with the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority and the banks over how the fund would work.

The fund would provide passive equity investment to small businesses to enable them to grow without taking on additional debt or giving up control of their business and is likely to be modelled on similar funds in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Since its establishment in 2011, the United Kingdom’s business growth fund has invested some $2.7 billion in a range of sectors across the economy.

Unlike a traditional private equity investment or a ‘Shark Tank’ style investment, businesses would not have to give up control or offer a board seat.

A similar fund doesn’t exist in Australia in part because the amount of capital APRA requires banks to hold for these investments makes it unprofitable for the banks however this treatment is under review.

The government’s role will be limited to setting up the rules around the funds operation and ensuring reporting and auditing.

[“source=ndtv”]

Government called upon to reform tax system to aid small businesses

Sue O’Neill was speaking at the SFA’s annual lunch in Dublin, which was attended by about 400 members

Sue O’Neill was speaking at the SFA’s annual lunch in Dublin, which was attended by about 400 members

The Government needs to urgently implement “real reform” within the tax system to ensure competitiveness and end discrimination against the self-employed and entrepreneurs, the head of the Small Firms Association has said.

Sue O’Neill, chairwoman of the SFA, said taxation remains one of the most powerful tools available to the State as it urged the Government to do more to support small business.

“The opportunity to address areas of our tax policy that hinder our ability to compete with our nearest neighbours in particular, were missed in Budget 2019 and instead of ensuring that no additional costs were imposed on small business, we see the reinstatement of the 13 per cent vat in sectors that reinvented themselves and significantly contributed to our recovering economy,” she said.

‘Important pillars’

“One of the most important pillars of a national small business strategy is a comprehensive tax policy. As a country we need to urgently implement real reform within our tax system to ensure sustainable competitiveness for small business and finally end tax discrimination against the self-employed and entrepreneurs,” Ms O’Neill added.

Ms O’Neill was speaking at the SFA’s annual lunch in Dublin, which was attended by about 400 members.

Warning about the dangers Brexit poses for small firms, Ms O’Neill also spoke of a softening of confidence among members with a recent study showing that the number of companies who feel the business environment is improving has declined.

[“source=ndtv”]

The New Sony Xperia XZ2 Has Tools for Small Business Content Marketers

The New Sony Xperia XZ2 Made for Creators

Sony (NYSE: SNE) announced the Xperia XZ2 at Mobile World Congress 2018, where the prevailing theme amongst smartphone manufacturers this year has been cameras and entertainment.

Hideyuki Furumi, Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing for Sony Mobile Communications, explained in a press release, “If entertainment is your priority, then our new Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact are your smartphones. We have pushed Sony’s boundaries even further with our new products for movie recording, viewing, and music listening.”

However, for content creators, particularly small business marketers, the XZ2 also has some noteworthy features which may persuade them to consider it as their daily driver, especially if the price is right.

The Xperia, Sony’s flagship phone, comes in two different versions. The XZ2 and the XZ2 Compact have been designed with quality cameras, display and audio technology content creators involved in small business marketers can take advantage of.

For small businesses operating in a creative field, the XZ2 is a smartphone packed with powerful features for creating and consuming content.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Specs

The specs both phones share include: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage expandable up to 400GB with MicroSD card, 18:9 Full HD+ (1080×2160) HDR display, TRILUMINOS Display for mobile, 19MP rear camera and 5MP front camera, fingerprint scanner on the back, and Android 8.0 Oreo.

The XZ2 has a 5.7-inch display, Dynamic Vibration system, QI Wireless charging, 3180mAh battery, and is covered in a 3D Gorilla Glass surface.

The compact version has a 5-inch display, polycarbonate finish and a 2870mAh battery.

The standout features of both phones are fast connection speeds (up to 1.2Gbps) with second-generation Gigabit LTE, 4K HDR Movie recording, 960 fps Super slow motion video (FHD/HD), Predictive Capture (motion/smile), 3D Creator, Movie Creator and AR effect.

Price and Availability

The Xperia line is not the first brand customers think of when they are in the market for a smartphone. But if Sony prices this phone right — meaning much lower than the $1,000 price tag of other flagship phones — it has a great chance of getting more recognition.

Sony hasn’t announced how much these phones will cost when they become available globally in March, so a decision on whether small businesses can fit this device in their budget must wait. However, when the XZ1 launched it was $699 and the XZ1 Compact came in at $599. So if the latest Sony phones come in anywhere near this, they will definitely get the attention of many businesses and consumers alike.

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]

Small Businesses Using YouTube Live Updates will Soon See New Features

Youtube Live Updates Captions and Chat to Help Creators Better Interact With Their Audience

YouTube has announced three updates to its live streaming service giving live broadcasters, including small business marketers, more options to engage with their audiences.

The new features give content creators and their audiences more options, whether an event is live or after the fact. The goal, according to YouTube, is to increase the level of interaction between content creators and their audiences allowing them to communicate in real time.

YouTube is used by businesses of all sizes to showcase the products and services they provide. For content creators, who are classified as small businesses, the platform is used to monetize the content they generate. And all these content creators rely on engaging with their audiences to maximize the return on their investments.

The new features YouTube has announced will improve the experience viewers have when watching live streams too.

YouTube Live Updates Captions and Chat

The first update uses an automatic speech recognition technology to provide automatic English captions to live streams. If your small business can’t afford a professional caption service, this is a great feature to make your streams more accessible, especially for people who are hearing impaired.

The captions are also important because of the amount of silent video that’s watched, especially on social media. The system is not 100 percent accurate but is an option.

The second update makes it possible for your audience to replay the chats you have on live streams. This lets them follow the conversations people were having during the live stream even after it is over. The chat stream appears just as it did during the event alongside the video.

The third update gives creators geo-tagging capabilities when they are using their mobile device to stream live and upload videos. Users can then see exactly where the event is taking place if they decide they want to visit or know the location. A location filter can also be used on the search results page to find other videos from a specific place.

Enabling Live Streaming

If you want to stream a live event and you still haven’t used this feature on YouTube, you first have to enable your channel.

You start by confirming your channel is verified and you have no live stream restrictions in the last 90 days. Once you do this, you can enable live streaming by going to the Creator Studio tools and clicking the Live Streaming tab. You are now set to start creating live video. However, it can take up to 24 hours for the feature’s setup to install. After the first event, your streams will go live instantly.

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]

California’s new ban on small cages for chickens, pigs, and calves could force the entire egg industry to go cage-free

California chickens will soon all be getting more space. One square foot of it, to be exact.

On Tuesday, voters in California overwhelmingly approved Proposition 12, which will enact stricter rules on how much space farmers must give to egg-laying hens, veal calves, and breeding pigs. The idea is that all of those animals should have enough room to stretch out their wings, claws, and paws.

The measure has major ramifications for the rest of the country, because it also means that grocers in California won’t be able to sell any meat or eggs that come from out of state and don’t adhere to the new regulations. That means farms across the US that want to sell their wares in the nation’s most populous state will be forced to comply with California’s new rule.

chicken

California already had a law on the books about cruelty-free eggs: it says egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and calves raised for veal must be given enough space “to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.” But that still allowed for some variations based on interpretation.

Now, under the new regulation, farmers have until the start of 2020 to provide each egg-laying hen at least one square foot of floor space. By 2022, all the state’s hens need to have completely cage-free housing.

Animal rights activists like the Humane Society of the US, which sponsored Proposition 12, cheered the change.

“California voters have sent a loud and clear message that they reject cruel cage confinement in the meat and egg industries,” Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of the Humane Society said in a statement. “Millions of veal calves, mother pigs and egg-laying hens will never know the misery of being locked in a tiny cage for the duration of their lives.”

Egg producers around the country had already rallied in opposition to California’s current hen-housing requirements. In April, 13 states took the battle to the Supreme Court. Iowa, the country’s largest egg producer, even enacted a new law to protect farmers there who keep hens caged.

But big egg retailers like McDonalds, Costco, and Burger King had already started to respond to consumers’ cage-free demands – McDonald’s and Burger King have both pledged to source only cage-free eggs by 2025.

The battle over how we house farm animals comes as the US’ egg appetite soars – American egg production rose 3% in 2017, with a total of 106 billion eggs produced last year. (The vitamin-rich yolks are no longer thought to raise cholesterol levels the way many people previously thought.)

Read More: ‘Cage-free’ and ‘free range’ eggs aren’t necessarily cruelty-free

Converting to cage-free doesn’t come free, though: it costs farmers about $40 per bird, according to Pew Stateline. Farmers say raising cage-free chickens can also be messier and require more work.

Cage-free eggs also cost more in stores. A study published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics in 2017 estimated that California’s current law cut egg production in that state by more than a third. For consumers, egg prices were found to be between 9% and 33% more expensive than they would have been without the rule.

“I think it should be an issue of the person votes when they buy the eggs,” Dennis Bowden, who converted his own chicken farm in Maine to a cage-free facility, told Pew Stateline. “Poor people can’t afford to buy eggs if they’re all cage-free.”

Plus, cage-free doesn’t always mean that the birds get to roam freely; some cage-free egg-layers still don’t spend a single moment of their lives outside.

In addition to passing Proposition 12, Californians also voted in favor of nixing Daylight Saving Time and decided that the state should be able to spend mental-health funding to house homeless people with mental illnesses.

[“source=forbes]

Error in reporting inflates AU Small Finance Bank’s wilful defaults

Every co-borrower, director is shown to have the same outstanding loan as the firm, leading to the inflated number, shows data. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/MintAn error in reporting wilful defaulters to credit information company TransUnion Cibil by AU Small Finance Bank (SFB), because of duplication of outstanding loans, has led to a 10-fold rise in the bank’s wilful defaults.

Data from TransUnion Cibil shows that the Jaipur-based small finance bank’s wilful defaults jumped to ₹179 crore in the September quarter of FY19 from ₹18 crore in the June quarter.

However, a look at the geography-wise disaggregated data shows that every director and co-borrower has wrongly been shown to have the same individual outstanding loan as the company, thus leading to the hugely inflated number.

A wilful defaulter is a borrower who has defaulted in repaying loans to lenders even when it has the capacity to do so or if it has not utilized the loan for the specific purposes for which finance was availed of and has instead diverted the funds for other purposes. Other criteria include siphoning-off of funds and disposing of or removing movable fixed assets or immovable property for securing a term loan without the knowledge of the lender.

For instance, in Madhya Pradesh, Gopi Pipe House owes AU SFB ₹4.6 crore, but data shows each of the two other co-borrowers also owe ₹4.6 crore individually. This gives the impression the wilful defaulter’s outstanding loans are ₹13.8 crore, instead of ₹4.6 crore.

In another instance, wilful defaulter Kotecha Industries Ltd owes ₹3 crore, but its directors are shown to owe ₹3 crore each as well, leading to an inflated number of ₹15 crore. In an emailed response, Sunil Parnami, chief of M&A and investor relations at Au SFB, said the bank was only trying to comply with RBI’s directives when it reported borrowers and co-borrowers, along with the entity.

“(The RBI directives) require that once a person is declared a wilful defaulter, many sanctions are imposed on them like no further lending, no directorship, (and commencing) criminal action against them,” said Parnami.

Reporting just their names without the amount would not suffice, which is why the amount gets repeated, he said.

The bank clarified that it has reported two new borrowers of ₹21.74 crore in the September quarter and that the actual wilful defaults stood at ₹39.34 crore, instead of ₹179 crore as shown on TransUnion Cibil’s database.

An email sent to TransUnion Cibil did not elicit a response till press time.

Other lenders, data showed, have not faced this problem as they have clubbed all directors under one column and the total outstanding loan of the company in a separate one.

RBI has mandated banks to submit a list of suit-filed accounts and non-suit filed accounts of wilful defaulters of ₹25 lakh and above on a monthly or more frequent basis to credit information companies. Only a handful of lenders have submitted their wilful defaulter data for the September quarter. According to June quarter data, wilful defaults stood at ₹1.39 trillion, with State Bank of India having the largest share at ₹34,159 crore.

Identifying a wilful default is not easy. The evidence of wilful default is examined by a panel headed by an executive director and two other senior officers of the rank of general manager or deputy general manager of the bank. If the panel concludes that wilful default has occurred, it issues a show-cause notice to the borrower and calls for their submissions. After considering the submissions, it issues an order on wilful default, giving the reasons.

The order of the panel is then reviewed by another committee headed by the chairman or managing director and chief executive officer of the bank and consisting of two independent directors. The order becomes final only after it is confirmed by this review committee.

[“source=forbes]