Less than two weeks until Acquire or Be Acquired! Bank Director President Al Dominick previews some of the issues that will be addressed in Arizona.

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On Sunday, January 25, we kick off Bank Director’s 21st annual “Acquire or Be Acquired” Conference (@bankdirector and #AOBA15) at the luxurious Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I am so very excited to be a part of this three day event — and am supremely proud of our team that is gearing up to host more than 800 men and women.  With so many smart, talented and experienced speakers on the agenda, let me share a primer on a few terms and topics that will come up.  In addition, you will find several links to recent research studies that will be cited before I share one example of the type of issues being both presented and addressed at “AOBA.”

Colorful Language

Just as M&A is a colorful — and complex — issue, so too are the words, terms and considerations used by attorneys, investment bankers and consultants in management meetings, in the boardroom…

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

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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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What are your thoughts on the future of banking? Al Dominick wants to know.

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bd8a817e833e9bb01ddf91949fce917bAs shared in Bank Director’s current issue, peer-to-peer lenders, like San Francisco-based Lending Club, are beginning to gain traction as an alternative to banks in both the commercial and consumer loan space.

In the retail sector, well-funded technology companies like Google, Amazon and a host of others are swimming around like sharks looking to tear off chunks of revenue, particularly in the $300 billion a year payments business. These disruptors, as many consultants call them, are generally more nimble and quicker to bring new products to market.

While being “attacked by aggressive competitors from outside the industry is certainly not a new phenomenon for traditional banks,” it is fair to ask what a bank can do today. For inspiration, take a look at what Richard Fairbank, the Chairman and CEO of Capital One, had to say on a recent earnings call.

Ultimately the winners in banking will have the capabilities of a…

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How will disruptive competitors like Google, PayPal and Simple impact the banking industry? Bank Director Editor Jack Milligan explores this question.

The Bank Spot

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I am writing a story for the fourth quarter issue of Bank Director magazine on the emergence of nonbank disruptors as potentially serious competitors for traditional banks in the personal financial services and payments space. I don’t want to tip my hand before the piece is published in late October, but I would like to share some of my preliminary thoughts. I love writing feature stories like this because they allow you to really dig into a subject. There are fewer magazines out there that still practice long form journalism, but Bank Director is one of them.

There has certainly been a lot of activity in the PFS and payments space of late. The disruptors have been very busy. (You should definitely read a string of insightful blogs on the nonbank competitive threat written by my colleague, Bank Director President Al Dominick, at AboutThatRato.) Here are some of the…

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Love this behind-the-scenes look at the latest issue of Bank Director magazine.

The Bank Spot

In the world of magazine journalism, there are few things more important than the cover story. I believe this is still true in magazine publishing today, although the importance of the cover story might eventually join the typewriter and 35mm camera as relics of the past as digital magazines become more prevalent.  Most webzines, whose designs are often indistinguishable from any other website, would never devote all that precious space on their home pages to one story.

When I was a newspaper reporter, my goal was to get on the front page as often as I could. Above the fold was good. The upper right hand corner, as the lead story, was better. A story that ran across the entire top of the front page under a banner headline was like hitting the lottery.

I have spent most of my journalism career in magazines, either with a monthly or now…

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Al Dominick ends his excellent five-part series on non-bank competition.

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This is the fifth and final piece in my series on emerging threats to banks from non-financial companies — one that shines a light on the pooling of money from many different people to make an idea happen. Click on any of these titles to read my previous posts: For Banks, the Sky IS FallingPayPal is Eating Your Bank’s LunchThe Bank of Facebook and Is WalMart the Next Big Bank.

Next week kicks off Shark Week on the Discovery channel… maybe you’ve been inspired by the endless commercials hyping this programming during Deadliest Catch?  Perhaps so inspired that you’ve come up with a brilliant new idea that just needs some money to get it off the ground!  As a creative type (you watch Shark Week after all), you can’t be bothered with your community bank’s draconian business loan process.  No, you want to start right away and are…

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Jim Collins once wrote “good is the enemy of great,” opining that the vast majority of companies “never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good – and that is their main problem.”  I have heard many use the title of today’s piece to explain the unexpected; most recently, while talking with a friend about Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision to exclude Landon Donovan from his 23-man World Cup roster (hence today’s picture c/o USA Today).  While I’ll steer clear of any soccer talk until the U.S. takes the field against Ghana in a few weeks, Collins’ statement sparked the three thoughts I share today. Indeed, being “just good” will not cut it in our highly competitive financial industry.

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Let’s Be Real — Times Remain Tough

In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Robin Sidel and Andrew Johnson began their “Big Profit Engines for Banks Falter” with a simple truth: “it is becoming tougher and tougher being…

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