Most M&A activity will continue to take place among banks with assets between $1 billion and $10 billion.
For an acquirer, the level of underwriting for deposits can be more rigorous then underwriting for loans. Indeed, because of BSA & AML concerns, it takes a high degree of effort to realistically measure the risk of buying “someone else’s cooking.”
This year’s keynote, Richard Davis, is the Chairman & CEO of U.S. Bank — which has $446 billion in assets. FWIW, he started his career as a bank teller at Security Pacific Bank in Los Angeles on his 18th birthday.
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Over the past decade, U.S. Bank’s consistent results made it, according to the Wall Street Journal, a darling with investors and analysts. While impressive, their CEO’s perspectives on where we are now — and where we might be heading — inspired this short video recap.
In addition to his remarks on building a great team, his perspectives on technology struck a real chord given my background (I worked at great technology company in Bethesda, MD for 6+ years). Specifically, his encouragement to focus on:
In subsequent posts, I’ll elaborate on these issues. But for those interested in following the conference conversations that are more M&A-oriented via our social channels, I invite you to follow me on Twitter via @AlDominick, the host company, @BankDirector and its @Fin_X_Tech platform, and search & follow #AOBA17 to see what is being shared with (and by) our attendees.
As I dug into the Wells story — which received a lot of play from the press — It strikes me that to successfully transition one’s business model, innovation teams such as this one need to work in concert with major business groups like wholesale and commercial banking, commercial real estate, trust and wealth management, and payments / consumer banking. As I consider how banks actually operate — e.g. how work is done, the degree of automation, the pricing and design of products and underlying compensation systems — I revisited several videos from Bank Director’s annual FinTech Day @ NASDAQ. One, of Ben Plotkin, Vice Chairman of Stifel / Executive Vice President of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, stands out, as he shares his perspective on how banks of all sizes can find success.
Ben touched on the payments space, and I too am curious to explore the role banks must play in the emerging payments ecosystem. Here, Accenture provides valuable context as the world becomes more digital: “speed in all aspects of financial services is increasingly important. The payments ecosystem is no exception. Faster payments are taking shape across the globe—and may become industry standard. While faster payments can enhance the customer experience and improve cash flows, it introduces a number of complexities, such as capital costs, and accounting and fraud systems impacts. In the short term, providing the impression of a near-real-time payment through memo posting and verifying the certainty of payment could be implemented sooner, and may meet expected market demand.”
Certainly, the trend toward digital money continues to gain momentum, and when it comes to the payment space, there are emerging technologies that have the potential to dominate the financial landscape (e.g. P2P & Blockchain methods). Case-in-point, Stripe, the California-based online payments company, has raised new investments which have raised the company valuation to $5 billion. Per a report in yesterday’s Let’s Talk Payments (h/t Brad Leimer @leimer), the funding “was led by financial giant Visa and experts believe this is a huge endorsement for Stripe. The company had previously raised a total funding of $190 million from high-profile investors including PayPal co-founders, Sequoia Capital, Box CEO Aaron Levie, Khosla Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and others.” As The New York Times reported, the companies’ strategic alliance will give Stripe access to Visa’s global network of issuers and acquirers. BI Intelligence Payments Insider notes the companies will also collaborate to create online checkout solutions and buy buttons that can be plugged into developers’ websites anywhere.
How we pay, borrow and invest continues to change the way we conduct our financial payments. It is fascinating to watch as companies like Stripe, PayPal, Dwolla, etc hustle to simplify how businesses accept payments through mobile applications while banks like Wells Fargo invest to do the same.