Stress tests can guide CRE decision-making

Lenders, property owners, economists, and more have been holding their collective breaths when it comes to potential fallout from Covid-19 on commercial real estate. With so many unknowns, implementing clear internal parameters for CRE stress testing is warranted. You’ll need to consider this in the context of new loans, annual reviews and/or ongoing risk management. [Continue]

Change is real

Fourteen months after the coronavirus paralyzed the country, it seems we are returning to pre-pandemic normalcy. Most of the people I talk to are looking forward to a summer when we can meet in person again, attend live events, and socialize without fear. But what is “normal” and will we ever be able to get back to the way things were? Some of the changes of the last year do not seem to be retractable. Consider: Customers, employees and cash. [Continue]

Strong digital strategy requires a human element

Now as we step fully into an age of remote work, digital transformation within the industry has accelerated and customers’ demands and expectations for digital banking services have increased. While implementing digitalization through internal technology sounds straightforward enough, bringing it to the consumer-facing level involves more of a balancing act.  [Continue]

Not quite a fare-thee-well for bricks and mortar

There’s no question the pandemic has changed how people interact with their bank. Consider the insights from a study conducted last summer by Texas-based fintech Self Financial, which found a third of respondents opened an online-only bank account in the past 12 months. More than half believe online banks will eventually outnumber traditional banks, and 46 percent believe the way people currently bank needs to change. [Continue]

Customer experience adaptations that will likely stick

It is undeniable that COVID-19 has changed the way people live and work. The hallmarks of community banking — the one-on-one interactions and personal touch — have been redefined. How can bankers maintain strong relationships with their customers while lobbies are closed and social distancing measures are in place? [Continue]

‘The best year ever’ for small banks? Not so fast.

The Paycheck Protection Plan drove customers and revenue to community banks in large numbers last year, leading many to see 2020 as a banner year for small banks. With the second round of PPP in 2021, that trend should continue. But let’s not start celebrating yet. Banks that administered PPP successfully may enjoy gains for the short-term, but at what cost?  [Continue]

Secure your core relationships to protect earnings

Despite the pandemic, banks are flush with deposits, and loan demand, including a Paycheck Protection Program, that has kept bankers busy. Liquidity isn’t a problem. But as conditions change as a result of the pandemic, bankers must ask themselves: How can I capitalize on what I already have? [Continue]

Can banks cash in on Employee Retention Credit?

When the CARES Act was signed into law in March of 2020, it introduced the Employee Retention Credit as an alternative to employers who didn’t meet the criteria for a PPP loan. It provides a 50 percent credit on qualified wages of an eligible employer. Guidance has evolved since the ERC was first released, offering an opportunity for some banks to qualify.  [Continue]

Positioning your bank for 2021

2020 has been unprecedented on many fronts. The way in which community banks have risen to the myriad challenges is one of the many reasons we appreciate being part of the industry and helping navigate the evolving landscape. As we look toward 2021, there are several recurring themes we are helping clients anticipate and manage. [Continue]

Holding companies find sub debt attractive in current conditions

Unlike the previous economic crisis just over 10 years ago, and the recessions that preceded it, the current downturn has mostly spared the banking industry. Indeed, though it is not necessarily reflected in the share prices of publicly traded institutions, many US banks have strong balance sheets and are poised for growth. And that includes community banks. [Continue]