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18

Apr

The Three Ds of Banking

The Three Ds of Banking http://wp.me/s3ajpF-3d

Just as the cherry blossoms provide a welcome personal respite from winter’s cold embrace, so too have stories of creativity and growth diverted my professional attention away from compliance issues and regulatory updates.  As I travel across the country, I’m continually impressed by the close attention being paid by leaders at financial institutions to non-traditional sources of revenue —…

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11

Apr

FI Tip Sheet: You Can Hang Your Hat On It

FI Tip Sheet: You Can Hang Your Hat On It

It’s been a while since I last called Dallas home; still, the white shirts & gray shorts of St. Mark’s proved a welcome and familiar site during a trip to the Texas city earlier this week.  A flashback to my freshman year of high school?  Absolutely.  Dare I reminisce before diving into today’s post with a few random fun facts.  Heck yeah.  Did you know Dallas lies in a large prairie running…

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05

Apr

Bank Director in the Wall Street Journal

As the sun shines down on Washington, D.C., some ”light” Saturday morning reading on the Wall Street Journal’s Risk + Compliance Journal…

Bank Director in the Wall Street Journal

As the sun shines down on Washington, D.C., some ”light” Saturday morning reading on the Wall Street Journal’s Risk + Compliance Journal…

04

Apr

FI Tip Sheet: First Quarter Favorites

FI Tip Sheet: First Quarter Favorites

As I come off of a great week in Chicago and Bank Director’s annual Chairman/CEO Peer Exchange, today’s post takes a look back at the first three months of the year.  Yes, certain discussions during this time focused on tepid loan growth, higher capital requirements and expense pressures & higher regulatory costs hitting banks today.  Nonetheless, many more conversations focused on growth,…

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31

Mar

Monday Morning Takeaways: Growth-focused

Monday Morning Takeaways: Growth-focused

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As we open up the Four Seasons “dining hall” for lunch, allow me to share some trending topics I took note of this morning at Bank Director’s Bank Chairman & CEO Peer Exchange.  For example, virtually every financial institution cites maximizing shareholder value or franchise value as their overriding strategic objective.  In addition:

  • Four significant challenges face community banks today:
    • Tepi…

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The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room http://wp.me/s3ajpF-elephant

In my opinion, the “elephant in the room” is the fact that 90% of institutions in the U.S. have less than $1Bn of assets… and that many advisers and pundits consider $2Bn to be the “magic number” a bank needs to be at or above in order to be considered viable and competitive.

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Against this backdrop, let me tee up today’s Bank Chairman/CEO Peer Exchange.  Only rarely do we limit the size of an…

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28

Mar

FI Tip Sheet: Is 2014 the Year of the Bank IPO?

FI Tip Sheet: Is 2014 the Year of the Bank IPO?

Good things come in threes — like insightful/inspiring meetings in New York, Nashville and D.C. this week.  By extension, keep an eye out for a Sunday, Monday and Tuesday post on About That Ratio.  Yes, I’m heading to Chicago for Bank Director’s annual Chairman/CEO Peer Exchange at the Four Seasons(#chair14) and plan to share my thoughts and observations on issues like strategic planning,…

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14

Mar

A few weeks ago, to begin “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” I shared the need for banks to think differently or risk becoming obsolete.  This morning’s column builds on that idea by looking at some of the characteristics of top performing publicly held banks based on a research piece shared by Raymond James.  I studied this list and realized quite a few of the “winners” leverage design trends, the second point in today’s post, to differentiate their messaging.  My third and final point looks at technology expertise making its way into a bank’s boardroom — and provides an excuse to post a number of pictures from my time in Nashville last week. 

Top of the (Performance) Pack
Recently, Raymond James presented its second annual Community Bankers Cup.  This “award” recognizes the top 10% of community banks based on various profitability, operational efficiency and balance sheet metrics culled from a pool of 302 publicly traded community banks with assets between $500 million and $10 billion.  What we see in the firm’s recap is superior financial accomplishment drives superior stock price returns.  These 30 banks (e.g. Eagle Bancorp, First Financial, etc.) demonstrated exceptional results “on a relative basis in one or more of the following measurements of financial performance and stability: non-performing assets to loans and real estate owned, five-year average core deposit percentage, net interest margin, efficiency ratio, return on average assets, and return on average tangible common equity.”  If you are looking for examples of strong + healthy banks that have taken creative ideas to build a business, and subsequently monetized them, take a look at what the Raymond James team writes about these 30 institutions.

Ahead of the Curve
Since the beginning of the most recent global financial crisis in 2008, Getty Images has been tracking the changes in imagery used by financial services providers to represent their brand.  In their words, “gone are the depictions of aspiration and conspicuous wealth as financial services brands try to re-establish trust with their customers.”  In their place comes creative uses of community support ”set-up for the long-term to  demonstrate their responsibility for local businesses, communities and the environment.”  Take a look at this “visual trends in financial services marketing” to get a truer sense of what’s working for bank marketers today.

Surprisingly Staffed
Last week, our team welcomed 117 bank officers and directors to the Hermitage in Nashville.  At this spectacularly Southern hotel, we went a bit old school and put pen + paper in front of these decision makers to ask five technology-specific questions.  I don’t normally equate technical proficiency with a bank’s officers and directors; however, the vast majority of attendees shared that their executive team has at least two people with strong technology understanding/experience.  While a small sample size, more then 50% of these key leaders responded to our query… and the results underscore, in my opinion, the importance being placed on  technology at community banks.  In addition, I did hear from several Chairmen that they are adding outside directors with an understanding of issues like cyber security risk and how to oversee vendor management.  If you’re interested to see what an event looks like from my POV, here’s a look (photos courtesy of Don Wright Designs & Photography)

Aloha Friday!

FI Tip Sheet: Positive Trends http://wp.me/s3ajpF-trends A few weeks ago, to begin “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” I shared the need for banks to think differently or risk becoming obsolete.  

07

Mar

FI Tip Sheet: Strong Board, Strong Bank

FI Tip Sheet: Strong Board, Strong Bank

As the banking industry continues to regain its health, efficiency and productivity are key elements in positioning a bank to grow.  Still, the reality remains there is an overcapacity in the US banking industry and the consolidation trend that brought the number o bank charters from over 14,000 to under 7,000 over the last 25 years will continue.  So let me sum in up in word letters: OTSS… only…

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05

Mar

Joining a Bank’s Risk Committee?

Joining a Bank’s Risk Committee? http://wp.me/s3ajpF-risk

Risk committees, chief risk officers, risk appetite programs, stress tests and enterprise risk management programs were not a major part of most board’s focus six years ago — but they are now.  As a risk committee typically coordinates risk oversight with the audit and other committees, today’s post builds on yesterday’s piece, Joining a Bank’s Audit Committee.  Please understand, there are so…

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