Banker To Banker

FDIC Assessments

Last week the FDIC released the FDIC assessment trends for insured depository institutions. The data shows that fees across the industry are dropping due to improved capital and asset quality measures. During the first part of 2013, 2,514 banks (19% of the assessment fees) were assessed fees between 5bp and 7.5bp. By the start of 2014, 2,895 institutions (72% of the assessment base) were assessed deposit fees in that range, equating to an average FDIC fee of a less than 8bp annualized.

Bank Board Governance

The FDIC holds bank board of directors accountable for their actions, as they should. Every action and every lack of action, absent of some specific fraudulent circumstances, is the result of board oversight, governance and cultural tone. For that matter, so is the bank’s relevance to various stakeholders. Boards that are rubber stamps are not doing anyone any favors, particularly management and shareholders.

Deposit Innovation

We talk to more than 4,000 banks nationwide and sometimes that is not enough. Last week we had to go out of country in order to get the scoop from Alfa Bank, Russia’s largest private bank ($82B in total assets) and learned something new. The Bank introduced a new deposit account that has a rate of interest tied into an activity tracker.

 

C&I Loan Sales

Let’s say you are a bank. Let’s further say that your preference is to make loans to profitable customers in your community. We are also going to go out on a limb and speculate that you are trying to grow earnings and that you would like more loan volume rather than less. How is our fortune telling prowess? Pretty good, huh? Thank you. Since we are on a roll, we will also speculate that you might like our National-to-Local loan program to help with all the above.

 

Bank Social Media

Here is something that most banks overlook on social media – what will start off as a marketing effort will evolve into public relations and then morph into a customer service channel. This is a natural evolution that most banks should realize upfront before starting or expanding social media. If you are not ready for this, think twice before going down the social media road as our opinion, a halfhearted social media attempt is worse than no social media presence at all.

 

The Upside

Channel Delivery

JP Morgan Chase’s new branch in the Texas Medical Center in Houston is special because of what is not in it – teller stations. Instead of a teller line, the new branch features an express banking kiosk or “EBK.” Basically a giant 21.5 inch iPad that customers can swipe, point and click to dispense cash in increments of $1, make deposits, pay bills, withdrawal up to $2,000 and even issue a new, permanent debit card.

 

Data on Loan Bank Performance

When is the right time to refinance an existing commercial real estate loan on your books? Refinance too early and you most likely forgo a larger credit spread. Refinance too late and the borrower seeks additional competition. In previous analysis we showed that the average spread between refinancing with and without competition is about 40bp. Thus, we advocated putting a retention program in place that covers any loan above 1.2x debt service coverage that does not have some form of prepay protection.

Branch Delivery

PNC is underscoring the latest trend in banking of going to lower cost, more flexible branch foot prints. The Bank is experimenting with a 'pop-up' branch located in Chicago after they experimented with a similar structure in Atlanta.  The Chicago location opened today and plans to be there for three months before moving. The pop-up structure not only helps build the bank’s brand as a forward thinking bank, but allows an inexpensive way to open accounts, demo new products, talk about consumer lending and garner feedback from the area on if a future branch makes sense.

State Bank Ranking

An old bank goodbye used to go, “May your loans repay and your good balances continue to improve.” While times have changed, the sentiment holds true and now, with the advent of data dashboards, you can see all in full, interactive color. In fact, by looking at the state banking performance map (see graphic on ROE) you can see much less red. Geography has one of the greatest effects on bank performance as it drives credit quality, pricing and a number of other factors. Some states have certain advantages or disadvantages over others.

Customer Onboarding

As you look for ways to increase your brand without driving up your cost and you are building a business model around service, having a formal process around onboarding your customer is one of the best things you can do to start a culture of service. When a new client leaves your office or completes an online transaction for the first time, the honeymoon period begins.

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