Jeff For Banks

What Makes an Effective Community Banking Board?

How do you construct an effective bank board of directors? A question frequently asked, seldom answered. According to the FDIC, directors’ responsibilities include:   “Directors are responsible for selecting, monitoring, and evaluating competent management; establishing business strategies and policies; monitoring and assessing the progress of business operations; establishing and monitoring adherence to policies and procedures […]


Three Gifts for Bankers

The magi, thought to be named Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior, followed a bright star to find the Messiah. According to the Gospel of Matthew, they brought him three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The journey wasn’t easy for the magi. At first, they did not know where they were going. And when they arrived in […]


Banking’s Top 5 in Total Return to Shareholders: 2018 Edition

For the past seven 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 […]


Teflon Tim: You Can’t Mess With Wells Fargo

Could the past two years have been worse for Wells Fargo (WF)? According to an appropriately snarky Gonzo Banker post by Scott Hodgins, Wells’ blunders are epic: September 2016 – Disclosed that they created two million bogus accounts without customer consent to hit the bank’s “eight is great” cross-sell targets. That fiasco cost them over […]


Bankers: Don’t Buy the Hype. Let Fintech Equity Investors Bear the Cost of Experimentation.

When JPMorgan Chase released its 2016 annual report, in which the celluloid CEO Jamie Dimon proudly acknowledged spending nearly $10 billion on technology, the talking heads erupted. Ten billion! Must be good. Jamie does it. And from that moment the conventional wisdom was and is: community banks can’t compete. I just heard it on Friday. […]


Financial Institutions: What Drives Value v2

In a follow up to my last post on the subject, that was driven by my friends from Performance Trust, I was asked in the comments section of that post if there was a correlation between non-interest bearing checking accounts and price-to-tangible book multiples. That nugget was asked by Mike Higgins, a bank consultant from […]


For Financial Institutions, What Drives Value?

Not all financial institutions are publicly traded. But there are enough of them to help those that do not trade to measure what metrics drive the value of their franchise. So what metrics drive value? Umrai Gill, Managing Director of Performance Trust in Chicago presented his findings to the Financial Managers Society at their East […]


Are Bank Products Simple, Fair, and Transparent?

I was on a road trip discussing banking with a colleague, and I mentioned that bank products are anything but simple, fair, and transparent. He said, “sounds like a blog post.” I have never heard a bank customer say, “gee, I wish my bank relationship was more complex.” Yet we charge business checking fees based […]


The Real Reason for Bank Scale: Trading Multiples

“Get big or get out.” “You must be twice the size that you are to succeed.” These are bromides that some industry talking heads might be telling you. I hear it and read it frequently. And in today’s social media, non fact-based opinion society, if you say it enough, people may start to believe it. […]


For Financial Institutions, Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Capital? Yes. Yes There Is.

I was on a panel at a bankers conference with an investment banker and two bank fund investors. One of the investors’ opening remarks was about banks that were over-capitalized. I panned the audience to see if regulators were present. But there were enough open jaw gapes to see that many bankers share the regulatory […]