21 Reasons I Am Excited About Acquire or Be Acquired


  • Making banking digital, personalized and in compliance with regulatory expectations remains an ongoing challenge for the financial industry. This is just one reason why a successful merger — or acquisition — involves more than just finding the right cultural match and negotiating a good deal.

By Al Dominick, CEO of DirectorCorps — parent co. to Bank Director & FinXTech.

PHOENIX, AZ — As the sun comes up on the Arizona Biltmore, I have a huge smile on my face. Indeed, our team is READY to host the premier financial growth event for bank CEOs, senior management and members of the board: Bank Director’s 24th annual Acquire or Be Acquired Conference. This exclusive event brings together key leaders from across the financial industry to explore merger & acquisition strategies, financial growth opportunities and emerging areas of potential collaboration.

AOBA Demographics

The festivities begin later today with a welcoming reception on the Biltmore’s main lawn for all 1,125 of our registered attendees.  But before my team starts to welcome people, let me share what I am looking forward to over the next 72 hours:

  1. Saying hello to as many of the 241 bank CEOs from banks HQ’d in 45 states as I can;
  2. Greeting 669 members of a bank’s board;
  3. Hosting 127 executives with C-level titles (e.g. CFO, CMO and CTO);
  4. Entertaining predictions related to pricing and consolidation trends;
  5. Hearing how a bank’s CEO & board establishes their pricing discipline;
  6. Confirming that banks with strong tangible book value multiples are dominating M&A;
  7. Listening to the approaches one might take to acquire a privately-held/closely-held institution;
  8. Learning how boards debate the size they need to be in the next five years;
  9. Engaging in conversations about aligning current talent with future growth aspirations;
  10. Juxtaposing economic expectations against the possibilities for de novos and IPOs in 2018;
  11. Getting smarter on the current operating environment for banks — and what it might become;
  12. Popping into Show ’n Tells that showcase models for cooperation between banks and FinTechs;
  13. Predicting the intersection of banking and technology with executives from companies like Salesforce, nCino and PrecisionLender;
  14. Noting the emerging opportunities available to banks vis-a-vis payments, data and analytics;
  15. Moderating this year’s Seidman Panel, one comprised of bank CEOs from Fifth Third, Cross River Bank and Southern Missouri Bancorp;
  16. Identifying due diligence pitfalls — and how to avoid them;
  17. Testing the assumption that buyers will continue to capitalize on the strength of their shares to meet seller pricing expectations to seal stock-driven deals;
  18. Showing how and where banks can invest in cloud-based software;
  19. Encouraging conversations about partnerships, collaboration and enablement;
  20. Addressing three primary risks facing banks — cyber, credit and market; and
  21. Welcoming so many exceptional speakers to the stage, starting with Tom Michaud, President & CEO of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc., a Stifel Company, tomorrow morning.

For those of you interested in following the conference conversations via our social channels, I invite you to follow me on Twitter via @AlDominick, the host company, @BankDirector and our @Fin_X_Tech platform, and search & follow #AOBA18 to see what is being shared with (and by) our attendees.

FI Tip Sheet: This Week in Pictures

As I wrap up the week, let me take a look back at Bank Director’s 20th annual Acquire or Be Acquired conference vis-a-vis video recaps and a gallery of pictures from the Arizona Biltmore.


Sunday Recap

If you’re curious for a <90 second summary of our first day in the desert, take a read at what I wrote or look at these two videos. The first, of our talented editor Jack Milligan; the second, my two cents.



Monday Recap

The second full day of the program built on Sunday’s discussions relative to growth, profitability, efficiency and the need for scale.  Jack and I both shared our thoughts in these video pieces and I also authored a piece that can be found here.



Photo Gallery

Credit for these great pictures goes to Keith Alstrin of Alstrin Photography.

Aloha Friday!

Wrapping up Acquire or Be Acquired

As we bid adieu to this year’s crowd, it strikes me that efficiency and productivity are key elements in positioning a bank to grow.  While this year’s Acquire or Be Acquired conference (#AOBA14) touched on numerous growth strategies, the common denominator among “organic growth banks” is a robust and diverse lending platform along with a proven credit culture and process.

photo (42)

The future of banking

For those joining us at the Arizona Biltmore on Sunday morning, you saw a video that summarized various thoughts on “the future of banking.”  A number of attendees asked to see the video we used to open the conference again.  Here it is:

Tuesday Takeaways

My “rapid reaction” to this morning’s conversations at the Arizona Biltmore, in no particular order: growth is now driving pricing; efficiency & productivity are both key elements in positioning a bank to grow; and the base reality remains that there is overcapacity in the US banking industry.

Off to the hit ’em long and straight (I hope) as we wrap up our 20th annual conference with our annual golf tournament.  74 and sunny… what a treat!

Acquire or Be Acquired – Sunday Recap

The most successful banks have a clear understanding and focus of their market, strengths and opportunities.  One big takeaway from the first full day of Bank Director’s Acquire or Be Acquired Conference (#AOBA14 via @bankdirector): it is time for a bank’s CEO and board to reassess their strategic opportunities.

thanks to Keith Alstrin of Alstrin Photography

90 Second video recap

Looking for profitability cures

From the strategies and mechanics behind transactions to the many lingering questions regarding industry consolidation, economies of scale, regulatory burdens and how to build long-term value, today featured some pretty fascinating presentations.  One of the common themes from the afternoon sessions: most bankers are looking to cure profitability challenges through some kind of M&A activity.

How much are you worth
Whether buying, selling or simply growing organically until it’s time for a transaction, a bank’s leadership team needs metrics in place to know and grow its valuation.  As we heard today, valuation is a controversial and complex subject.  To wit: it requires an in-depth understanding of a company, its market and competitors, financial and non-financial information.  In addition, factors such as the legal and regulatory environment proves quite a challenge.

Trending topics
Overall, the issues I took note of where, in no particular order: margin compression, deposit funding, efficiency improvements and business model expansion in the context of the current environment. Also, keep an eye on the the Northeast and greater Atlanta area this year for increased merger and acquisition activity.

More to come from the Arizona Biltmore tomorrow…

Banking’s Biggest M+A Conference (#AOBA14)

In a few days, I’ll be taking to the stage with our editor, Jack Milligan, to welcome some 830 attendees, guests and staff to Arizona and Bank Director’s annual Acquire or Be Acquired conference.  Widely regarded as the financial industry’s premier M&A event, our 20th annual “AOBA” will bring bank CEOs, CFOs, Chairmen and outside directors to the Arizona Biltmore for three days of presentations, workshops, networking… and hopefully, some sun.  These industry leaders join us to explore issues such as strategic alliances, investors’ interests and whether now is the right time to be a buyer — or a seller.  I thought I’d tee up my blogging plans before leaving the snow and ice of Washington D.C. (see below) for the warmth of the Southwest.

photo (36)

Acquire or Be Acquired

On the merger front, one of the big themes over the past few years has been unrealistic expectations between buyers and sellers of banks.  Not surprisingly, sellers think pricing is too low and buyers think sellers’ expectations are too high.  Now, when managed effectively, mergers and acquisitions present necessary and lucrative opportunities — and this particular conference affords bankers and board members the chance to “go deep” into the M&A process in order to represent and protect the interests of their particular bank.  I’ll be spilling a lot of digital ink on a number of financial, legal, accounting and social issues facing bank executives and board members.  Today’s post simply tees up some of the social tools I’m going to use to keep folks current with the discussions.

First and foremost, @bankdirector has a loyal following and does a great job putting info’ out for a bank’s officers and directors.  For this event, we’ve set #AOBA14 as the conference hashtag.  I’ll be tweeting under @aldominick.  Some of my colleagues will be as well; notably, our editor, Jack Milligan via @BankDirectorEd, Managing Editor, Naomi Snyder, with @NaomiSnyder and our Publisher, Kelsey Weaver, with @BankDirectorPub.


Take a look at Bank Director’s LinkedIn page — and feel free to search under “groups” for Bank Director if you want to join in the discussions.

Instagram + Pinterest

I’ll be sharing behind-the-scenes pix from the Biltmore using the hashtag #AOBA14 on Instagram and will pin to “January’s Acquire or Be Acquired from the Arizona Biltmore” with Pinterest.

More to come as prep continues for January’s official welcome.

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