What I learned from buying a troubled bank

At the end of July 2013, we invested $1.8 million to buy 49 percent of Flagship Financial Group, Inc. This was the start of one fun journey that continues today. The primary asset of the organization was Flagship Bank Minnesota, which had two locations in the Twin Cities metro area. The bank was under a cease and desist order and struggling with a high level of troubled assets. However, it had a great group of employees and was in a market that I knew very well. At the time, Flagship Bank Minnesota had $94 million in assets and $62.8 million in loans in the two locations. In June 2021, we were up to six locations, $327.6 million in assets and $233.7 million in loans.  [Continue]

Banks bump wages, offer perks to attract workers

Longtime Iowa community banker Darlys Hulme is well aware of the challenges community banks face in attracting and keeping employees. Hulme, president of Farmers Savings Bank & Trust in Traer, noted her organization recently increased starting teller wages from $15 to $19 per hour, a change she expects will be permanent as the bank continues seeing fewer younger candidates apply. Compounding the issue, other employers are trying to hire away her top-level employees, forcing her to also bump officer salaries to retain talent. [Continue]

Faces of Loan Analysis: Country Banker

For those banks with a substantial agriculture portfolio, experiencing the plateau after the Super Cycle was a “wake-up” call. Bankers can become complacent when the economy is strong, but difficult times require a sharper focus on more in-depth analysis. Regulators are increasingly emphasizing uniform and consistent analysis, and bank management teams are taking note. Customer … Read more

Faces of Bank Value: United Bankers’ Bank

New loan growth continues to be a challenge as most banks are extremely liquid with excess deposits. Net interest margin compression is at the top of everyone’s mind so finding alternative ways to grow profitability in a low interest rate environment is a challenge all bankers are facing. United Bankers’ Bank provides loan participations as … Read more

Smaller deals lagging in M&A arena as stock prices set pace

As the pandemic moves from phase to phase, the banking sector has seen dramatic swings in public stock valuations and M&A prices. While the volatility of the markets is closely tied to health trends, which remain difficult to predict, a study of the past 18 months provides insights into future community banking performance and value prospects, which can be invaluable for strategic planning in the boardroom and for setting shareholder expectations. [Continue]

Bankers cry foul over CU acquisitions

After a lull due to the Covid-19 pandemic, credit unions are pursuing banks and thrifts with renewed vigor, picking up where they left off in 2019, which set a record for credit union-bank deals. In buying community banks, credit unions are leveraging their financial heft to break into new markets, gain new members and become a force in commercial lending. For their part, many bank owners find it difficult to turn down a handsome offer from a credit union, despite the complexity of such sales and the stigma associated with them. [Continue]

Faces of Talent Management: Wipfli

COVID-19 was the game changer. Many bank employees were able to work from home, and some of these employees prefer to continue this practice, a significant shift from traditional business operations. Varying surveys indicate 50 percent or more of employees would consider changing employers if they could no longer work remotely. Community banks, now more … Read more

Father, son navigate succession through kitchen table confabs

Community banks face never-ending challenges, from regulations to technology to recently, a global pandemic. Yet they take it all in stride and are able to offer their customers a sense of consistency, even familiarity. At Park Bank in Holmen, Wis., familiarly is embodied by suspender-wearing bank President Douglas Farmer. So when thoughts turned to transitioning bank leadership, the process required thoughtful planning and consideration so as to not disturb the bank’s deep roots with customers and businesses alike. [Continue]

Helping others is journey and destination for CCB

Chickasaw Community Bank has been able to fold its support of the larger community into its goals while keeping an eye to the bottom line. When talking about their work, leadership and staff frequently call CCB mission-driven. “As part of our mission, we’re really committed to our local community and our community at large,” said CEO T.W. Shannon. [Continue]

Chickasaw Community Bank leverages HUD expertise as it diversifies

In 2017, when former Oklahoma state legislator T.W. Shannon took a leadership role at Bank2, one of just a few Native American-owned banks in the United States, his industry experience was limited, the bank had a small footprint, and it had an uninspiring name. So much has changed since then. Bank2 is now Chickasaw Community Bank, a change made in January of 2020 in a nod to its origins and ownership by the Chickasaw Nation. Shannon, now CEO, is driving a notable transformation. [Continue]