Steve: Hey bank executives, Steve Williams from Cornerstone Advisors, I’m here with our CEO Scott Sommer
Scott: Hello Gonzobankers
Steve: We’re talking about the top strategic priorities for 2018, for me Scott it’s about growth; the easy stuff of going out there busting out the next big commercial deal and keeping expenses low… that’s kind of ‘ship-has-sailed’, I think bankers got to be looking at some of the businesses they need to grow, namely things like the Payments business to get more non-interest income, focus there strategically around what the disruptors are doing. Also get really serious about deposit funding in 2018 through two vehicles: a real retail strategy for deposits, as well as strengthening up your treasury services offerings. So for me it’s growth what’s it for you Scott?
Scott: 2018 is going to be a hot year for mergers. I think if you are a bank in that 750 million to 5 billion range, you’re gonna have to look for scale. I think the new bottom of the scale for scale is 5 billion and up in assets; you need scale for efficiency, you need scale to attract talent not only lending talent which is hard to come by, banks aren’t growing on their own these days, mergers help that. And technology, our banks are becoming technology companies and you need scale to attract technology talent.
Who wants to go work for a four hundred million dollar bank that really doesn’t have an interesting IT environment? They want to work for a larger bank. So for 2018 I think you need to keep your eye on: what does your merger strategy look like, and how are you gonna execute on it effectively?
Steve: Alright so you got growth out there, make it smart, not the easy stuff but you need that scale and some of that scale you talked about through M&A helps you get the talent to build those growth businesses. So you heard it here from Cornerstone Advisors, don’t take all your capital and invest in Bitcoin. Next year keep dragging out that business and building for scale and building for growth.