David Bowie / Banks in Insurance / Athletes in Banking

By: Sharon J. Lorman
Jeffrey P. Marsico

Guest: Todd Ellis, President, Sandy Spring Insurance

Podcast Show Notes:

Our This Month In Banking (TMIB) podcast will highlight significant news and events in banking and our hosts’ take on them, along with interviews with industry thought leaders. TMIB will be available on the last Wednesday of every month here, on Stitcher, Soundcloud, and iTunes for your listening enjoyment. Join us on your commute or at your desk.

Topic 1: The death of a financial innovator
Start time 2:51
Legendary rock icon David Bowie passed away on January 10th after an 18-month battle with cancer. News of his death spread virally over social media platforms, and people reminisced about his music career. But, it was a little more difficult to find information about him as a financial innovator. He was always pioneering — in the fields of finance and technology, as well as music and fashion. He was also a film actor. He appeared in his first major film, The Man Who Fell to Earth in 1976. He also starred in the Elephant man on Broadway in 1980. In 1997, Bowie monetized his pre-1990 music collection by issuing $55 million of Bowie Bonds. The bonds were tied to future royalties from hits including “Ziggy Stardust,” “Space Oddity” and “Changes.” In 2000, Bowie collaborated with a Philadelphia based bank (BankPhiladelphia) to launch BowieBanc.com, an online banking division of BankPhiladelphia.

Topic 2: Banks in Insurance
Start time 7:07
Last month, Eastern Bank in Boston, and First Bancorp in NC announced agreements to buy insurance agencies. In January, Tompkins Financial in Ithaca, NY acquired an insurance agency to add to its existing agency. At the same time it was announced that Arrow Financial in NY was divesting an agency. Are banks bullish again on insurance or not? The hosts were joined by guest Todd Ellis, President of Sandy Spring Insurance to discuss this topic. Prior to becoming President of Sandy Spring Insurance, Todd led the retail bank at Sandy Spring from 2007 to 2012. His prior experience also includes leading Sandy Spring’s wealth management division that included building out a small business unit and managing the commercial bank. He started at Sandy Spring as a regional retail manager. Todd sits on the Board of the American Bankers Insurance Association.

Topic 3: Midwest Bank sells controlling interest to ESOP
Start time 18:17
Closely held family banks are being faced with the issue of what to do with family shares when those involved get older and the next generation lacks interest in the bank. This month it was announced that Old Fort Bank in Tifflin, Ohio sold a controlling interest to its employees. The Old Fort Employees Stock Ownership and 401K plan bought a 45% stake in Gillmor Financial Services, Inc. which is the holding company for Old Fort Banking Company. Following the transactions, the employee stock ownership plan established by Old Fort Banking Co. has a total value of about $15 million. The plan is a retirement vehicle that does not require employees to make matching contributions, unlike a 401(k), which Old Fort Banking Co. also offers its employees. Can this transaction be a model for other family held or closely held financial institutions?

Topic 4: Largest credit union merger on record called off
Start time 23:29
In October, $3.9 billion Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) and $1.9 billion United Federal Credit Union (UFCU) touted their pending merger as the largest ever. The merger would have resulted in an entity with about $6 billion in assets.
However, this month both organizations called off the merger citing that both believed their best path forward was to be independent and said they have canceled their plans “for business reasons”. United Federal said the regulatory process was never completed and the merger was never put to a vote. Why call it off?

Topic 5: Do athletes make good bankers?
Start time 28:29
This month Umpqua Bank in Portland Oregon hired Tory Nixon as EVP, head of commercial banking. He will oversee the $23 billion asset company’s commercial lending division, particularly C&I lending in the middle market segment. Nixon played with the San Francisco 49ers from 1985 to 1989 and was a member of the team that beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl in 1989. Are there other athletes in banking success stories?

Watch for episode 2 of This Month in Banking to be released on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 and a new episode on the last Wednesday of every month.

Thank you for listening!

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