As we prepare to kick off this year’s Acquire or Be Acquired conference, I offer my take on one theme I anticipate being brought up early — and discussed often: the return of regional acquirers who are positioning themselves to challenge the true big guys in banking.
What’s top-of-mind for a bank’s Audit and Risk committee members? Let’s start with cyber security…
There are many challenges that bank boards & executives must address, and these two videos (one by our editor, Jack Milligan; the other, by me) briefly review current issues that demand attention + emerging ones that we took note of at this week’s Bank Audit & Risk Committees Conference at the JW Marriott in Chicago.
*For more on the risks facing banks today, take a look at this report from our conference (#BDAudit15).
To kick things off today, we took a look at those banks reshaping the banking industry. With M&A providing an avenue for banks to drive improved operating leverage, earnings, efficiency and scale, we focused on the emergence of mid-sized regional banks that are growing through the consolidation of smaller banks. My thanks to Jack Kopnisky, President & CEO, Sterling National Bank & Sterling Bancorp (NYSE: STL), Ben Plotkin, Vice Chairman of the Board, Stifel Financial Corp (NYSE: SF) and Frank Sorrentino, Chairman & CEO, ConnectOne Bank (NASDAQ: CNOB) for sharing their time and opinions in their session entitled “The New” Consolidators this morning.
While President Obama’s nomination of Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen to lead the central bank garnered significant attention this week, the twittersphere was ablaze with news on emerging payments and financial services. Personally, I focused a lot of my time on retail banking, advertising and marketing stories — a pleasant diversion from the political showdown here in Washington. Accordingly, this week’s column highlights the creative side of building relationships and engaging with potential customers. Please let me know what you think via Twitter (@aldominick) or by commenting below.
(1) How Do You Introduce a Mobile-Only Bank? With a Mobile Orchestra, Of Course. Now, I realize most banks in the U.S. have nowhere near the budget needed for an advertisement like this. Still, BNP Paribas‘ “Hello Bank!” — which claims to be Europe’s first fully digital mobile bank — pulls off “a smart orchestra stunt.” According to AdAge, “the campaign brought together the talents from the musical and tech world for a one-of-a-kind performance by the orchestra that showed what you could do with just your mobile phone.” Taped during a performance in Prague, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra’s 60 musicians put aside their instruments for a special performance of “Carmen.” Take a look:
(2) From your ears to your eyes, a test of your social media savvy: #PACYOURBAGS. Do you get the hashtag? Here’s a hint: this is a promotion run by Bank of the West (a wholly owned subsidiary of BNP Paribas). Still confused? While many still wrestle with a social media strategy, the San Francisco-based bank has taken to Instagram and Facebook to offer exclusive Pac-12 content — including news, events and videos — to better engage with current and potential customers under this hashtag.
Visit their Facebook page and you’ll be invited to “capture any great moments from this week’s college football games… Tag them with #PACYOURBAGS on Instagram to enter and you could win $250 and a trip for two to the Rose Bowl Stadium on 1/1/14!” Dare I say, #Cool.
(3) From Prague to the Pac-12, we’ve covered a lot in a short amount of time. To wrap things up, let me share a story closer to home. This one involves a few plucky upstarts taking on the biggest of the big. No, this isn’t a tale of a community bank competing head on with Bank of America; rather, a link to an article that shows multiple startups trying to disrupt various sectors within the consumer goods industry. Much like their BofA and Wells Fargo brethren, P&G and Unilever “have scale but are under constant assault from savvy upstarts.” Yes, I’m drawing a parallel between the razor blades you might find in your bathroom to the battle for bank customers vis-a-vis “How Tiny Startups Like Hello and 800Razors Are Stealing Share From CPG Giants.” The premise: “smaller brands’ ability to break through goes to digital disruption in media and retailing.” An interesting parallel, especially for those bankers willing “to zig away from the strategic and creative zags of category titans.”