Meeting Coverage

Patience, outreach, lead M&A strategies discussed at BHCA Seminar

Most of the many merger and acquisition strategies discussed during the Bank Holding Company Association’s Fall Seminar, “Buy, Sell or Hold: Strategies for Success,” sounded familiar to Lynn Fuller.

The president and CEO of Heartland Financial, Dubuque, Iowa, has made acquisitions a habit for more than three decades. Fuller described Heartland’s growth from less than $200 million in assets to $8.2 billion during one of the general session presentations at the seminar held at the Hyatt Regency hotel, Bloomington, Minn., Oct. 2-3.

“I said to my father, ‘We better giddy up or get out,’” Fuller said. “Our goal back then was to get into the top 100 banks. Today, we’re somewhere between 90 and 80, depending on how our positions go. … Starting from less than $200 million, you can imagine that was a long haul.”

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago gave Fuller the push he needed to pursue acquisitions when it predicted massive consolidation coming. [Continue]

UBB event offers info on payments, trademarks and more

Michael Bilske, CEO of North American Banking Company, Roseville, Minn., demonstrated his bank’s new person-to-person payments app at the Grand Event hosted by United Bankers’ Bank on Oct. 20 in Bloomington, Minn. Bilski, whose bank is very active in ACH payments processing, said the app allows individuals to exchange money via their cell phone, much the same way Venmo does. He actually transferred $20 into the bank account of a banker in the audience to demonstrate the app. The app, which is called “ExCheQ,” utilizes the existing ACH payments system. [Continue]

Ag loans, cybersecurity and liquidity among regulator concerns

Regulators are generally upbeat about bank conditions throughout the Upper Midwest, said representatives from the regulatory agencies who participated in a panel discussion at the 37th annual Bankers Seminar hosted by the Eide Bailly accounting and consulting firm Nov. 2 in Mankato, Minn. Ag lending, growing concentrations of commercial real estate loans, cybersecurity and liquidity are the issues regulators from the State of Minnesota, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and the FDIC said raise the most concerns. [Continue]

Focus on management best approach for ag lenders, speakers says

Nov. 2. Kohl was addressing bankers attending the 37th annual Bankers Seminar hosted by the accounting and consulting firm of Eide Bailly. Kohl addressed another Eide Bailly group the day prior in Fargo, N.D.

Kohl warned that prices for ag commodities are not returning to the levels experienced between 2006 and 2012. The United States is dealing with a surplus of ag commodities, which is keeping prices low. While productivity is up in many places around the globe, export demand is strong, particularly in light of a weakening dollar. Approximately 21 percent of U.S. ag income comes from exports, he said. [Continue]

CBAI bolsters policy independence, urges reg relief effort

With a vote of the membership, the Community Bankers Association of Illinois strengthened its resolve against a merger with another banking association. The vote took place during CBAI’s annual convention at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Springfield, Ill., Sept. 14-16. The CBAI unanimously approved an amendment to its constitution making it significantly more difficult to change association policy on bank structure or to merge with another association.

Previously, only 60 percent of the member banks in attendance needed to approve any change, but the amendment raised that figure to 80 percent. Proposed changes to matters of policy consistent with CBAI precedents still need only 60 percent approval.

“It elevates the threshold on issues of that magnitude,” outgoing CBAI President Bob Wingert said, leading the final convention of his 43-year career. “In other words, there has to be a meaningful consensus to take that course of action.” [Continue]

Appropriate supervision can lighten regulatory burden, Fed chief says

If the Federal Reserve continues its emphasis on regulatory reform, community bankers may not find much in the exam process to complain about. They already largely welcome the exams and regulators themselves, finding fault with only the redundant and cumbersome natures of some of the compliance requirements, according to a national survey of 611 community bankers conducted by regulators from the Fed and state regulatory agencies.

The survey was released at the fifth annual 21st Century Research and Policy Conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, conducted Oct. 4-5 at the St. Louis Fed. [Continue]

Strategies on tax reform, credit unions discussed at IBA convention

Leaders of the Iowa Bankers Association articulated the group’s top priority: gaining tax parity with credit unions. David Nelson, CEO of West Bank, West Des Moines, and Kurt Herbrechtsmeyer, president and CEO of First Security Bank & Trust, Charles City, focused on credit union taxation during their respective speeches at the 131st annual IBA convention. The meeting, which attracted nearly 600 bankers, vendors and guests, took place Sept. 17-19 at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines. [Continue]

The Super Conference formula: Culture plus strategy equals success

The “Best Banks in America Super Conference” hosted by The Emmerich Group on Sept. 11-13 in Minneapolis did not follow the conventional industry meeting script. There were no vendor pitches, no exhibit hall, no breakout sessions that sent groups of bankers into separate rooms. Instead, energetic music opened each session; people clapped along like they do during a time-out at an NBA game. [Continue]