Local. Mobile. Social.


One of the last sessions I had the chance to sit in on at AOBA13 was “Local. Mobile. Social. Profitable. Checking.” This particular session featured Mike Branton and Dave DeFazio from Strategy Corps. Strategy Corps provides consumer checking solutions that generate customer-friendly fee income by building better banking Imagerelationships with individual and local small business customers, and incorporates innovative mobile phone delivery of services and focused social media messaging that really connects with customers. I personally thought this session was great! They introduced their product BaZing, and talked about the three main areas they try to touch



Through the use of mobile devices, the consumer is able to do many things that can help them out with purchase decisions. They can benefit from the use of coupons, compare shopping prices and find location based offers. Banks can really take advantage of the whole mobile phone trend, not only by providing a mobile banking app, but also by offering these services to their customers. 



Through social media, you are able to reach out to an unlimited amount of people relatively easily. Unlike many other businesses, people don’t bank because they want to, they bank because they have too. To make the customer experience memorable it is important to generate unexpected and unselfish communication. 

During the session, it was revealed through a survey that 51% of bankers did not have a Facebook, while 49% did. Also, what I thought was surprising was that only 22% had an active email marketing plan, while 82% did not. 


ImageFor community banks, it is important to remember the word COMMUNITY. More often than not, these banks are the ones who support local businesses. Because of this, it is critical that they push their customers to support local retail businesses. This can be accomplished by rewarding people for buying locally. Mike Branton said, “It is important to be a community connector. Get local retail customers connected with local retail businesses.”

Through their innovative checking account, Strategy Corps offers benefits that people want to pay for. Not only is it an additional way to generate fee income, but it is a way to be better engaged with customers. It is safe to say that BaZing, and the entire concept behind it sure passes the test from this Generation-Y’er



Be Patient, Be Ready.


Well, day 2 of AOBA13 is officially complete! Here is a look at some of the sessions I attended today.

  • State of the Industry
  • Will Sellers’ Pricing Expectations Match Market Capacity?
  • What Bank Management & Boards Need to know in 2013
  • Non-Competes & Change of Controls

Because this conference focuses on M&A, I find it appropriate to talk about What Bank Management & Boards Need to Know in 2013. This particular session featured John Freechack from Barack Ferrazzano & Al Laufenberg from Stifel Nicolaus Weisel

This presentation is much like the webcast on the Bank Director website, which is entitled What Bank Management & Boards Need to Know in 2012. A little later in the week I will do a more in depth comparison of the two presentations. I think it will be very interesting to see how much things have changed from one year to the next.

As for today, some of the points brought up were:

  • The economic environment is getting better. Right now it is good, but not great.
  • Despite the recovery, there is still a sense of uncertainty.
  • The overall number of troubled institutions is going down.
  • The economy needs to pick up a lot for you to see more buyers on the market. 

One thing that is very important to remember is that you never want to make the seller feel like they are being forced to sell. In the current environment, it seems like patience may be a virtue. This can be a long process, and timing is everything.

Now it is time to move onto the cocktail reception, dinner and entertainment portion of the evening. It is still a surprise what the entertainment will be, so I will be sure to fill you all in tomorrow morning! 



Fear is BAD!


Well it was an early morning for the entire Bank Director team today, but we got our coffee in us and are very excited to start day 2 of AOBA13!

Before getting too far ahead of myself, I want to talk about another sessions that I sat in on yesterday. The breakout session was called “We Just Bought a Bank, Now What Do We Do?and it featured Rick Childs, Director, Assurance & Financial Advisory Services, from Crowe Horwath LLP.

There is always a lot of talk about what needs to be done leading up to the acquisition, and we all know that can be a very long process. It is very important to realize that once an acquisition is made, that is when a lot of the hard work begins. That is precisely what this session’s focus was.

From an accounting standpoint, Childs noted the importance from day 1 through day 731. With all of the rules and regulations that are out there, it is critical to understand and complete everything that must be done. He also noted that “accounting is not the reason why deals aren’t getting done”.  From a taxation standpoint, it was pretty much the same message. Making sure you keep your organization in check, and up to speed will make the entire process much more enjoyable, on both sides of the deal.

What Childs really wanted people to know was that “fear is bad”. He truly feels that you do not have to go out and sell your bank just because someone told you to. Because of the past few years many people feel down in the dumps, but Childs wanted to ensure everyone that they “have the opportunity to serve your community better. You control your own destiny.” Those words must be pretty uplifting to hear, considering the past few years from bankers.

Here are a few links from the Bank Director website that features Rick Childs as he discusses M&A in 2013, and the results from the Crowe survey, which was completed earlier this year.

M&A Expectations in 2013

The Price is Not Right