Course Info - B541 Special Topics in Banking

Spring 2011

Class Time and Instructor

Instructor:Sung Won Sohn, Ph.D –
Classes:Wednesdays, 6:00 to 10:00 pm
Course Location:Thousand Oaks Campus
Contact Information 
Phone:805 437 2789

Cases and Articles

The course material comes from the following sources:

  • Financial Institutions Management by Anthony Saunders and Marcia Million Cornett, 7th Ed, McGraw Hill Irwin
  • The Internet (Free)
  • Cases from Harvard Business School (HBS) purchased at bookstore

Office Hours

Wednesdays 5:00 to 6:00 pm or by appointment at TO Campus

Learning Objective

We will emphasize learning concepts, not necessarily the details in the concepts.
There are two main areas the course will go into: current topics and understanding banking.

  • Current topics: Each session, we will spend up to 30 minutes discussing the important economic issues of the week impacting the financial markets.
  • Financial institutions have played an important role in the recent financial crisis and the current economic condition. Every individual and business must interact with banks. Each week we will study and learn how a bank operates and make decisions. In addition, we will use Harvard Business School cases.

Basis for Evaluation

The grade is based on one mid-term exam (35 percent), one final exam (35 percent), class participation (10 percent) and a student paper (20 percent). The exams will be essay-style covering everything we discuss in class. No numerical grade will be assigned to class participation; it will be used only if your grade is on the borderline.


Students are encouraged to find a real business and write a real-life case study related to banking and finance. Preferably, it should be someone you know locally. The grade will be based on writing style (organization, clarity, ease of reading) and contents (What made the business successful or failure? How can we apply the tools we learned in class to this business to improve the operation).

What should you do to succeed in this course?

  • Come to class and participate: Attendance is required. Class participation (10 percent of your grade) could be important. Missing class means missing valuable discussion, and information regarding assignments. Please note that this is not intended to be a lecture class. I will lead the discussions but students should participate actively.
  • Read the cases and articles: They are very valuable sources of information and clarification. Class discussion will be based on your readings. Harvard Business School cases are not intended to be lectures. Your contribution in class is the key to the success of learning.
  • Get started on your paper early.

Academic Honesty

All work that students submit as their own work must, in fact, be their own work. Verbatim language taken from other sources — books, papers, web sites, people, etc. — must be placed in quotation marks and the source identified. Similarly, work on tests and exams must be the student’s own work, not copied or taken from other students’ work.

In accordance with the CSU Channel Islands policy on academic dishonesty, students in this course who submit the work of others as their own (plagiarize), cheat on tests or examinations, help other students cheat or plagiarize, or commit other acts of academic dishonesty will receive appropriate academic penalties, up to and including failing the course.

Assignments or papers with plagiarized language or ideas will receive a failing grade. Plagiarism or cheating on quizzes or exams will also result in a failing grade. In cases where the cheating or plagiarism was premeditated or planned, students may receive an F for the course.

Students are encouraged to consult with the instructor on when and how to document sources if they have questions about what might constitute an act of plagiarism or cheating.

Course Schedule

The schedule below is flexible. For some chapters and cases, we can spend more than indicated here. The objective is learning, not necessarily adhering to a rigid plan.

Week 1:Saunders: Chapters 2, 4 East West Bank Earnings Release ( for 4Q 2010 See the press release.
Week 2: Saunders: Chapters 7, 8 BFBD (Basics for Bank Directors) pages 10-11 and 85-94 (also in week 3) (Basics for Bank Directors) pages 1-22
Week 3: BFBD: Pages 85-94 Saunders: Chapters 8, 9
Week 4:Credit Analysis: materials to be supplied by the instructor.
Week 5: Continue credit analysis discussion HBS: Better Living Patio Rooms #BAB572 Saunders: Chapter 13
Week 6:Midterm Exam, May 11th. This is flexible depending on progress.
Week 7: Saunders: Chapter 17 BFBD pages 73-85
Week 8: Saunders: Chapter 18 HBS: Wells Fargo and Norwest (A) #HR-26A
Week 9: Saunders: Chapter 20 BFBD pages 24-34
Week 10: Saunders: Chapters 25, 26 HBS: Commerce Bank #9-603-080
Week 11:HBS: State Street Corporation # 9-209-112
Week 12:Final Exam on June 22

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