Who would you add to this list of the top community bank CEOs?

about|that|ratio

We are getting close to that time of year when people start writing their top ten lists, providing year-in-review posts and taking out the proverbial crystal ball.  In this spirit, my post-Thanksgiving piece provides a list of bank CEOs I met this year that impressed me with both their bank’s performance & personal leadership styles.  From the outside looking in, I have to assume shareholders and employees alike appreciate what each has done for their organization.

Wait, this isn't Bank Director's news team... Look at this leadership

A few days ago, David Reilly authored a piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Wanted: Dance Partners for Bank Merger Ball” (sorry, registration required).  Citing Bank Director’s annual M&A research report, he reminded us that it takes two to tango — and “that is still the issue for investors expecting, or hoping for, a significant pickup in bank merger activity in 2015.”  As we showed in our survey of about 200 bank directors and executives…

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Consolidation isn’t killing community banking, but it is changing the landscape,and significant challenges remain.

The Bank Spot

An argument that I hear occasionally is that consolidation of the U.S. banking industry has put community banks on a path towards extinction. Two economists at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. have shot down this theory in a new research study whose findings are counterintuitive.

On the face of it, the industry’s consolidation over the past 30-plus years has been pretty dramatic. The FDIC says there were approximately 20,000 U.S. banks and thrifts in 1980, and this number had dropped to 6,812 by the end of 2013. A variety of factors have been at work. The biggest contributor, according to the study, was the voluntary closure of bank charters brought about by deregulation, including the advent of interstate banking. A lot of the “shrinkage” that occurred between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s wasn’t so much the disappearance of whole banks as it was the rationalization of multiple charters by the same…

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Bank M&A Round-up

I’m still getting settled back in chilly Tennessee (23 degrees and icy!) and can’t help to take a fond look back at sunny Phoenix, Arizona, where just last week Bank Director wrapped its 20th annual Acquire or Be Acquired Conference.

Obviously, at a conference called “Acquire or Be Acquired”, a lot of discussion centered on buying and selling a bank. As our 2014 Bank M&A Survey with Crowe Horwath LLP found last March, pricing is still a concern, with 63 percent of potential buyers saying that pricing expectations are still too high. Underscoring that point, 35 percent say that coming to an agreement on price is the single greatest challenge in M&A:

2014 MA Survey Challenges q12

The focus in Arizona wasn’t entirely on M&A. Speakers from the investment side — specifically, Curtis Carpenter of Sheshunoff & Co., John Duffy of Keefe Bruyette & Woods, a Stifel Company, and Stifel Financial Corp.’s Ben Plotkin — focused on issues of size, scale and profitability. I explored what they had to say about size HERE for BankDirector.com.

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