Jeff For Banks

The Death of The Community Bank

In June of 2008 I gave a speech titled “The Death of the Community Bank” and in that speech I made predictions. Recently I was cleaning out my files and I ran into the hard copy slide deck that accompanied the speech. If I ignore where I was wrong then I am as guilty of […]


Banking’s Top 5 Total Return to Shareholders: 2020 Edition

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


The Bank Branch Manager’s Wish List

Now is the time for wishes. And if I were a branch manager, given all of the demands on me, here is what I would wish for: 1. Clarity of Expectations. Do you want me, your branch manager, to grow small business customers by being a trusted advisor to small business owners within a five mile […]


The Slippery Slope of Using Banks to Advance a Political Agenda

On October 29, 2020, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued a letter to all depositories and non-depositories regulated by them regarding climate change and financial risks. This post is not about climate change. It is about how an unchecked bureaucracy can implement an agenda it cannot get through duly elected legislative […]


Could Net Interest Margin Woes Spell Opportunity?

When an in-person strategic planning retreat has to be hastily switched to a virtual one, sacrifices must be made. And in this case, I simply didn’t have the time to review the long-term implications of the Fed’s guidance that they were not inclined to raise the Fed Funds Rate until inflation hit or passed 2%. […]


Create Operating Discipline at Your Bank

Bankers have made great strides in developing the strategies to succeed over the long-term, analyzing the customers that most value their strategic direction, and gaining the buy-in from their Boards of Directors and employees. The next challenge is to build the environment and culture where the organization moves toward its aspirational future. To create operational […]


For Banks, Self Assessments Are Hard

Self assessments are hard, period. Not just in banks. But since this is a banking blog, let’s focus there. Strategic plans should include a fact-based self assessment. Some call it a situation analysis, others an environmental scan. They usually include a SWOT, which some people dislike but I find the vitriol around a SWOT to […]


A Whale of a Tale: Enloe State Bank

“The bank’s on fire!” So said the panicked cleaning person that ran across the parking lot from the bank to the adjacent restaurant. “Call 9-1-1!” The bank in reference was Enloe State Bank, a $37 million in total assets, one-branch bank based in Cooper, Texas, population 1,969. The fire happened on May 11, 2019 and […]


Texas Big: First Road Trip Since the Pandemic

It was bound to happen. After four months of lockdown, bankers are getting back to the office. They never stopped working, mind you. But work has been different to say the least. This month was our first opportunity to visit clients outside of driving distance since March! The challenge: We are based in Pennsylvania and […]


Bankers: Hunker or Pounce?

Unprecedented times. How many of our borrowers on forbearance can begin making payments? What provision do we make this quarter? How do we justify it? What will our constituencies think when we have to foreclose on borrowers? For most of us, the onset of a recession means a time to assess the risk on our […]