Sunday, January 29th, may seem like quite a ways off… but not for my team at Bank Director. Indeed, we are full-steam ahead as we prepare to host the premier banking event for CEOs, senior management and board members: our Acquire or Be Acquired Conference. AOBA continues to draw key leaders together in order to explore financial growth options; in 2017, we host this three-day program at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge in Phoenix, AZ.
Each month, Tim Melvin shares nuanced observations on the banking space in his Community Bank Investor Newsletter. In his October 2016 edition, he points out that “scale and earnings growth are still among the main drivers of M&A activity, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.” Clearly, the need and desire to grow exists at virtually every organization, something I’ve picked up on while talking with bank CEOs about next January’s event.
As you can see from this image, our 22nd annual Acquire or Be Acquired Conference brought together key leaders from across the country. I addition to the 590+ bankers in attendance, an additional 300+ executives from leading professional services and product companies joined us. During (and following) our time in the desert, I shared various observations on this site (e.g. Five Reasons Why Banks Might Consider Selling in 2016 and Community and Regional Banks are Crucial to the Vibrancy of Our Communities). In the simplest of terms, I left Arizona with a sense that more bank boards and their management teams were seriously considering M&A as a growth plan than perhaps in previous years — a view formed by the continued margin pressure that banks have been operating under for the last several years.
Ironically, there is a growing likelihood that the bank M&A market in 2016 will see declines in both deal volume and pricing compared to the previous two years, even as the industry’s underlying fundamentals remain relatively unchanged. Nonetheless, registration patterns for 2017 suggest an increase in bank executive’s appetites to explore a merger, to prepare for an acquisition, to grow loans, to capturing efficiencies & managing capital to partnering with fintech companies (*all topics that will be covered in ’17). So for those of you looking to refine and/or enhance your growth playbook, I invite you to review the agenda for January’s program that we just updated on BankDirector.com.
FWIW: we have welcomed over 5,000 CEOs, Chairmen and members of a bank’s board to this conference over the years, and we anticipate 2017 will be the biggest ever – with over 900 attendees focused on the future of their banks. Most come with one or more officers of their bank and yes, many bring their spouses.