Banker To Banker

The Pandemic's Impact on Credit RIsk

Community banks face a new and unfamiliar underwriting risk – an epidemiological disruption that has limited visibility and short history that affects both free cash flow and collateral values.  In addition to debt yield, debt service coverage ratio, and property values, banks now need to understand how all of these credit parameters are going to change because of Covid-19.

Live Chat and Chatbots in Banking

It is not a question of “if” it is only a question of “when” you will start deploying chat and chat automation at your bank. It should be on your radar screen for several reasons, the first of which is that it will soon be the fastest growing and the most preferred communication channel among your customers. That trend got a boost when Apple announced last week the production release of its Business Chat product.

The State of Commercial Lending

We sent out a survey to several thousand community bankers across the country to understand bankers’ concerns, challenges, and opportunities in the current business environment.  We feel that organizing an exchange of ideas and sharing of strategies is beneficial to many bankers. We also offered resources (videos, white papers, policies, marketing material, online proposal generators, and calculators) to help bankers obtain information based on their specific survey responses.  The survey only took five minutes and consisted of five questions.

Main Street Lending Profitability

What is with all the waving we do at the end of Zoom calls? Should we start waving as we back out of the room for in-person meetings in the future? By the same token, many banks are baffled by what to do with the Main Street Lending Program (MSLP), as this is not something we would do in normal times. Yet, we found ourselves both participating and waiving at the end of those MSLP Zoom calls. No matter if your bank is going to participate in MSLP or not, understanding the risk involved is a master class in loan structuring and credit.

Remote Working Improvements

Covid-19 has changed many aspects of banking from branch operations to credit underwriting and remote supervision of employees. Many community bank managers are physically distanced from their teams because of the pandemic. This distancing creates new challenges on how to supervise, motivate, communicate with, coach, train, and review bankers. We face this same challenge and we would like to share how we see other bank managers handle this challenge as well.

 

Improving banking through ratings

In the online world, customer reviews and ratings are ubiquitous. Consumers have come to expect them, yet few banks use them. Ironically, sites that rate banks, such as NerdWallet, BankRate, and others, maintain detailed reviews on banks with great success as well as places like Yelp. If your bank is not offering rates, chances are your potential customers are getting their information from elsewhere.

Industrial CRE Lending Risk Update

While several commercial real estate (CRE) sectors are showing signs of stress, the industrial sector is one of the few bank credit lines that are improving. Companies gained confidence at the end of the second quarter and started to lease more space. As such, weekly leasing activity jumped back to pre-Covid-19 levels after hitting a low in mid-April. In this article, we take a quick look at national CRE industrial sector economics and explain why banks may want to consider reallocating more capital to this area. 

 

Branch Investment Rebalance

Chances are you were already reducing the number of your branches. Between the interest rate environment over the past several years, the increase in digital spend, and the quest for greater operating leverage, banks can no longer afford large branch structures and still return their cost of capital. Recent studies now suggest a lower probability of a COVID-19 vaccine and a much lower probability of achieving herd immunity, at least over the next three to five years. As such, most every bank will be forced to rethink its branch strategy.

 

Deposit Innovation

HMBradley is a fintech that has partnered with Hatch Bank, a subsidiary of Firstrust Bank ($3.7B, PA), to offer two innovations that we have talked about in the past, but few banks have executed. This fintech has tiered their rates based on the percentage saved and offers only a single operating account instead of checking, savings, money marketing, and similar accounts. In this article, we will cover both ideas for your bank’s consideration.

 

A New Way to Tier Deposit Accounts

The LIBOR to SOFR Transition

In the next twelve months, the transition from LIBOR to alternative Risk-free Rates (SOFR in the US) will take an important course. Banks with products tied to LIBOR need to understand the implications of ISDA Fallback Protocol and how to manage possible risks with this critical industry transition. Shortly, ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) will be publishing LIBOR Fallback Protocol. Firms that sign up for the LIBOR Fallback Protocol agree to the spread adjustment and the fallback rates if LIBOR becomes unavailable in the future.

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