The Most Interesting Banking Conference in the World: ICBA Live 2016 Recap

ICBA Live Banking Conference Recap

It was almost with equal sadness that we bid the 2016 ICBA Live conference goodbye this morning and Dos Equis’ World’s Most Interesting Man.Yesterdayboth announced their completion. We also bring up the latter because we are going to miss anybody that can bowl overhand, wins a lifetime achievement award - twice, speaks Russian - in French and once won the World Series of Poker with only Uno cards. By the same token we are going to miss any organization that brings together more than a thousand bankers, the building of homes, community banking advocacy, great educational content, live music, Skipper Tony La Russa, Emmy-award winning journalist John Stossell and entrepreneur Josh Linkner on four consecutive days. Today, we recap and send off both.


ICBA Conference Recap


Living Vicariously


Just as the World’s Most Interesting Man lives vicariously through himself and was always surrounded by bears, women, monks and other interesting people, the highlight of this conference was the wide variety of bankers that were doing interesting things. We had a list of 30 bankers that we wanted to learn from and set up a series of meetings to find out their insights. Attendees did not disappoint as we explored branch profitability metrics, sales techniques, interactive tellers, universal bankers, online lending, fee income ideas and a variety of other topics that we will be highlighting in the future. If anyone ever questions on why to attend a conference, making connections and meeting bankers that have experience in certain areas can save you time and pain to pay for your trip and time 10x over.


ICBA Conference Recap


Passing Up the Fountain of Youth


The Most Interesting Man in The World once remarked that he passed up drinking from the Fountain of Youth because he wasn’t thirsty. At the ICBA convention, you know how he felt, as with over 20+ sessions per day you had to pass up the fountain of information because you were satiated. The standard popular topics were there to include M&A, asset-liability management, investments, cyber security, compliance, payments, ag lending, compensation, governance and of course, Millennial marketing. While bankers aren’t getting younger, they are acting younger as we saw more knowledge and engagement on such topics as online lending, social media, digital marketing, branch restructuring and innovation. 


ICBA Conference Recap


Warning the Psychic Regulators


The World’s Most Interesting Man often warns psychics about the future - he is that knowledgeable. After we got done with several regulatory panels, bankers felt almost as knowledgeable. While none of these will be new to the readership, here is a quick recap of the latest regulator focus:


  • Cyber security awareness
  • Exposure to energy – evidence of stress testing coverage. This includes the secondary exposure in related industries (including hotels, parts, services, etc.)
  • Interest rate risk – evidence of its impact on market value and credit
  • CRE concentrations – evidence of stress testing, proactive diversification/correlation analysis and general portfolio-level risk management. Internal limits should be set and sized according to risk tolerance, market and mitigating factors (capital, devoted resources, etc.)
  • Vendor risk / third-party due diligence
  • Use of wholesale funds and are they being used temporarily or to fuel risky growth?
  • Updated management succession plan
  • Strategic planning with an understanding of demand for services and products, how volume could be impacted in the future (including interest rate movement) and knowledge of the product/service value proposition. In addition, associated capital plans should be updated and in-line with the future expected risk and expansion.
  • Operational risk, BSA and compliance review infrastructure 


ICBA Conference Recap


Out of Respect


Dos Equis’ spokesperson is so interesting that out of respect, mosquitos don’t bite. That is relatable, as the outgoing and incoming ICBA leadership demonstrated that they not only made progress with our state and Federal legislators, but have continued to make great strides in separating community banks from our larger, mega-sized brethren. Through the hard work of the ICBA and bankers across the country, community banks continue to gain respect on all fronts. Unfortunately, the New Orleans mosquitos were still biting. 


ICBA Conference Recap


Need a Week


Sharks have actually named a week after the Most Interesting Man in the World, which is the same amount of time we would need to cover all that occurred over the past 5 days in New Orleans. As the Most Interesting Man in the World takes off for Mars, he will be sorely missed as he was one of our favorite campaigns. It is rumored that the campaign will continue and our only hope is that we get The World’s Most Interesting Woman, for it is about time.  


Until then, the ICBA Live crew takes off and starts their planning for San Antonio, the site of next year’s conference. Our final takeaway from the conference was the overarching trend that banks need to enhance the customer experience while becoming more relevant. If we can get this process right, banks will become more interesting and future profits will take care of themselves. We have a heavy load of work ahead of us but if there is one thing that was abundantly evident at the Conference, bankers are more up to the challenge than ever.


Hopefully, we will see you all next year. Until then - Stay thirsty our friends – for knowledge. 


Photo credits: Tom Russo, Emily Hofer, Stephanie Forbes, David Ebbers, Jeff Gerhart, Charles Doyle, Kris Alderman, Dante, Scott McComb, Eric Isham, Kim Sharp, Jill Castilla, Jana Junuskovska and Shirley Ringhand.


Special Thanks: Cindy Delaparte