Jeff For Banks

Banking for Good

It happened. A client, a bank I owned shares in, and one that I admired announced they were selling to a nearby financial institution. In June, Stewardship Financial Corporation, and their banking subsidiary, Atlantic Stewardship Bank (ASB) announced their sale to Columbia Financial Inc. (MHC) and their banking subsidiary, Columbia Bank.   It’s not that […]


Banking’s Top 5 in Total Return to Shareholders: 2019 Edition

For the past eight years I searched for the Top 5 financial institutions in five-year total return to shareholders because I promote long-term strategic decision making that may not benefit next quarter’s or next year’s earnings release. And I am weary of the persistent “get big or get out” mentality of many bankers and industry […]


Time Tried, Panic Tested. The Forgotten Story of the First National Bank of Keystone

September 1st, 1999, regulators from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, at the behest of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, descended on a small coal mining town in Keystone, West Virginia. The town, already depressed from coal’s decline, had a population of 600. Clearly, blue-suit regulators stood out. The bank, First National Bank […]


Improve Bank Boards Through a Disciplined Nomination Process

“Rigorous, peer-reviewed studies suggest that companies do not perform better when they have women on the board. Nor do they perform worse.” ~ Katherine Klein, University of Pennsylvania Do you know how difficult my life might become for the above quote? Just yesterday I received a newsletter from a highly regarded executive recruiting firm that […]


Unintended Consequences of Executive Change in Control Provisions

You’re a top performer at your bank and an executive from a competing bank wants you on their team. You recently got a new boss, and it isn’t gelling. So the offer is timely. You check out the competing bank. Do your due diligence. You respect their executives. Their numbers look good. Heck, you’ve lost […]


In Banking, Soft Skills Remain Blah, Blah, Blah

Weakness: Middle Management. I hear this often. Why is it so common in community banks? I have opinions. Peter Principle is alive and well in banking. We elevate superior performers in their functional position to leadership positions to which they are ill prepared. We promote them to the level of ineffectiveness. But that doesn’t mean […]


Bank Branches: A New Model

This design or that design. Digital, pods, low square footage. All the talk around the branch of the future is about design, staff levels, square footage, and technology.  Yet the people that carry balances, the boomers and older, can’t figure out where to go when they come in for a teller transaction. And the younger […]


How To Do Product Management Without Product Profitability

Quick answer: I don’t know. I posited this question on Twitter because product management has come up during various financial institution strategic planning sessions. I also don’t know of many new banking products since I’ve been in the business. See my post on that subject here from nearly two years ago. But product management is […]


Why Did Oritani Sell for No Premium?

On June 25th, Oritani Financial Corp (ORIT) common stock closed at $16.21 per share. The next day they announced they were selling to Valley National Corp. for $16.29 per share. Virtually no premium. And less than ORIT traded one year ago. Why? I was not part of the discussions regarding the transaction, and am not […]


If We’re Serious About Helping Clients, What About These Two Products?

With all of the automation of financial products, one would think managing finances would be simple. Much more so than when our grandparents saved for the coal delivery in an envelope in the night stand. My focus today is on consumer banking. Which is becoming more challenging for the community financial institution due to heavy […]