Opinion

Change to estate tax exemption offers M&A considerations

The influx of capital into the market from tax reform prompts possible changes to bank merger and acquisition activity. Some bankers may use their tax savings to pursue acquisitions, while others may see the lowered tax rate as an opportunity to maximize profits. A change to the estate tax exemption likewise could shift some attitudes … Read more

Nobel Prize validates theory on customer motivations

The Nobel Prize in Economics awarded Oct. 8 to professor Richard H. Thaler for his behavioral economics work on irrational financial decisions confirms the Money Anxiety Theory and its application in banking.

Research in behavioral economics shows that money anxiety is a major factor impacting financial decision-making. The 2013 book, “Money Anxiety,” which I wrote, demonstrates how money anxiety shapes our financial decision making. For example, when money anxiety is elevated during recessions, people tend to shift money from higher yielding bank accounts to much lower yielding bank accounts just to feel that their money is more readily available. This is a phenomenon known as “mattress money.” [Continue]

P2P payments: Service evolves; community banks sign on

Since person-to-person payments became accessible to community banks roughly a decade ago, many have adopted the third party technology as a bank-branded service. Last June, a new P2P network hit the marketplace. Called Zelle, the service is an evolutionary step in P2P in terms of transaction speed. Owned by a conglomerate of some of the largest banks, the network has also been made available to community banks through partnerships with FIS, Fiserv, and Jack Henry and Associates. Steve Shaw, Fiserv’s vice president of strategic marketing and electronic payments, talked about the evolution of P2P, how it works and what’s coming next for the technology. [Continue]

Community bankers to Congress: Seize bipartisan opportunity for local growth

Partisanship has taken hold of our political lives from Washington to the Upper Midwest, contributing to gridlock in the nation’s capital and more than a few awkward holiday meals with family and friends. Despite all the political ill will, there appears to be one issue that Republicans and Democrats can agree on in the new year — promoting local economic growth through our nation’s community banks. [Continue]

ICBA and ABA testify to support SBA 7(a) loans

Both the ICBA and the ABA urged the House Small Business Committee to continue with its reform of the SBA 7(a) Loan Program on Wednesday during testimony on the Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act of 2018. Cynthia Blankenship and Patricia Husic, on behalf of the ICBA and the ABA, respectively, argued the program helps many small businesses get started. [Continue]

What bankers can learn from the masters of the art world

The making and selling of art may not be the world’s oldest profession, but it has been a commercial endeavor for thousands of years. Western artists have been independent business people for about 500 years. What can today’s entrepreneurs in banking and other businesses learn from two of the world’s greatest artists – Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci? Both were internationally successful artists during the Italian Renaissance, each had very different ways of conducting the business of art, and each leave us with relevant business lessons. [Continue]