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This week’s blog will commence after this important announcement:

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Congratulations to Ray Lafond for winning the Super Bowl contest!!
https://heresthedealaj.com/2014/09/04/even-bankers-love-football/

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We are very excited to send Ray and a guest tickets to see a regular season game and follow up with him on the blog about his experience! We will be doing this contest again next year, so be ready.

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Back to our scheduled topic:

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Mergers and acquisitions are on everybody’s mind, especially right now. There are obvious signs and not-so-obvious signs that your bank or another bank is trying to sell.

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1. Major changes within the bank. Examples include major layoffs, an abrupt stop to hiring new people, especially if it occurs during the hiring process with no reasonable explanation, and a reduction in middle management. We saw these things occur before the announcement that BB&T and Susquehanna would merge and we’ve seen this time and time again in other situations.

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2. A bank makes a big geographic move or two that does not make immediate sense. Maybe they jump over a few counties from the market they are established in, or they buy branches of a bank that doesn’t seem like a good match. Maybe they come into an area that everyone is trying to get out of instead of into. Many times, not always, the banks seemingly illogical move, is indeed very logical. Some times they are trying to be more attractive to a buyer or trying to color in their own map, but the grand scheme is not yet seen. By moving into a particular area, banks trying to sell are trying to gain leverage by being closer to banks wanting to buy.

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3. If the bank hires chief level people who have been through several mergers and/or acquisitions, this may be a red flag. If your new CEO sold his or her last 3 banks, don’t be surprised if your bank is next.

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4. You see high level people from other banks “hanging out” at your bank. Believe us, they’re not there for the coffee. This is especially true if these people are with banks known to be making purchases right now. DUH

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5. Another duh one: Banks who have tried to sell before unsuccessfully will typically do so again… Most of the time, the intent is still there. The bank is not likely going to put itself out there as being for sale, have a deal fall through, and then decide not to sell.

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These are just some of the red flags to look for. If you have any you’d like to share leave us a comment or shoot us an email. You can even ask a question in our new section “Ask Us Anything.”

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We present to you our 2015 predictions:

1) There will be more counter-offers in 2015. We saw an increase of them toward the end of last year and even had some candidates almost fall for them already this year. It’s competitive out there. Banks are competing over the same loans, deposits and people. When things improve, the market bares some counter activity. We will not discuss the merits, pitfalls, positives or negatives of giving, receiving or considering a counter here, simply just stating they will increase.

2) Overall, we will continue to see a decrease in traditional bank branches. However, electronic banking kiosk type branches will increase. This falls in line with the mobile and electronic banking focus. For example, Apple Pay and other mobile paying apps, the ability to video conference, and other new technologies will account for a portion of why this will happen.

Another reason for this scale back will be consolidation, M&A activity and regulations obviously.

3) Another shift from “tradition,” also has to do with branches and how they operate. While it used to be normal to give away a free gift such as a blender or a beach towel as incentive to open a new account or encourage a friend to, some banks are increasingly offering money, some even on a monthly basis, to use their branch services. Banks are essentially paying customers to use their services. Many banks are also instituting “universal bankers,” branch employees who can do many jobs. Basically, branches will continue to change in 2015 and beyond.

4) The return of some key positions that have been on the decline:
Say “welcome back” to SBA and Deposit sales positions in 2015. Sure, both of these roles have existed over the last few years, but both of them have begun to have major trends upward over the last few quarters. That should continue.
Many banks are chasing commercial and affluent deposits through deposit RM’s or sales people. They are doing this without leading with or even worrying about the loan. To some groups this is nothing new and to other banks it’s revolutionary.
Additionally, SBA positions, departments, and needs are sprouting up with many of our clients. From community banks to money centers. Many banks are looking for ways to develop new business as opposed to just battling over the same stuff (all though it feels like that’s all that is happening).

P.S. Ray Lafond, SVP of Commercial Lending at Enterprise Bank & Trust is the last man standing when it comes to our Super Bowl prediction contest. (Patriots vs. Seahawks with the Patriots winning.) Good luck!

https://heresthedealaj.com/2014/09/04/even-bankers-love-football/

2014 Recap

It’s hard to believe a year has gone by since our last “Prediction Recap.” Last time we nailed our predictions going a strong 4 for 4:
https://heresthedealaj.com/2013/12/18/end-of-the-year-past-present-predictions/

This year we laid out three new predictions:
https://heresthedealaj.com/2014/01/08/2014-predictions/ and it’s safe to say we went 3 for 3, with our third prediction showing signs of life, but not quite the signs we thought overall.

• Our first prediction for 2014 saw heavy representation. We felt that banks in our core Mid-Atlantic and Northeast markets would begin to color in their market maps a bit and boy did they ever. Banks like Howard Bank in Maryland strengthened their reach into areas like Cecil and Harford County with purchases of branches and banks like NBRS. WSFS from Delaware grew in MD and had some organic growth in Harford/Cecil Counties, making some key hires. County First Bank in MD opened up an LPO in Virginia. Additionally, Carroll Community Bank will be making its push into Greater Washington. Over in John’s market in PA we saw First Choice, First Bank, and Cape Bank expanding into PA. Investors Bank also took a piece of South Jersey through acquisition.

• We said M&A activity would increase. Winner-Winner-Chicken Dinner here folks! In MD, DC, VA and PA alone…BB&T buys Susquehanna, FNB buys OBA, Eagle buys Virginia Heritage Bank, National Penn acquired Third Federal, Bryn Mawr acquired Continental and Univest picked up Valley Green. Additionally, late in the year First Savings of Perkasie and First Federal of Bucks County got together. We are also still waiting to see Victory and Huntingdon Valley follow through. In New England we saw no less than 8 acquisitions too. For example Independent Bank Corp (Rockland Trust) is expected to complete its acquisition of Peoples Federal Savings Bank shortly, and North Shore Bank and Sausqusbank, two of the smaller banks in the state say they are in the process of merging.

• Finally, we claimed tech lending would see a surge. American Banker had an October 27th article on Square 1 and others seeing the pick-up. Additionally, we had some clients grow their tech teams and even add new tech lending departments. In the Mid-Atlantic this has been quieter than expected, but in New England and New York it has boomed a bit. Wells entered the tech team fray in that market in 2014 with bankers like Debra DelVecchio and David Dickinson. City National deepened its reach there too as Bill Sweeney and Jim Demoy continue to build their teams. Citibank hired some folks in both markets. In addition, two of the market’s regional banks have been utilizing our firm to start new departments there.

Next month’s blog entry will be our predictions for 2015. Stay tuned!

According to American Banker, last week 97 million people banked online. Only 7 million visited a branch. These are powerful statistics which speak for themselves. We all know that technology is becoming a part of almost every facet of the business world. Apple Pay allows us to pay for almost anything using our phones, Samsung has a similar program. Just this week The Washington Business Journal posted an article all about Wells Fargo’s venture to “switch from “last century” password security to new voice and facial authentication for smartphones.” Banks now have apps. Many are downsizing branches and upgrading their technology, but are banks truly keeping up with the times? Yes, No? The answer is somewhere in the middle.

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I talked about this issue with the owners of A J Consultants and here is what they had to say:

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“I really don’t believe that my children will frequent a branch, unless it is to get lollipops, said John Morris, however, being a business owner, I know that there will always be a need for face to face interaction with a banker.”

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“People need to realize that just making a few changes does not mean that the [banking] industry will go away. Just look at the music industry. When Napster first started and CDs became less popular, people believed that the music industry would crumble. Instead, music adapted by releasing less expensive digital versions of their songs, and actually benefiting from the changing times,” said Adam Eckels.

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This same notion goes for many changes that have occurred due to technology in the recruiting industry. When MONSTER first arrived, many predicted the end of headhunting as we know it. Instead, it strengthened our industry as it actually muddied the waters and enhanced the need for a connected headhunter. When Linked-In and “social media recruiting” came into play some people thought we were done for. The truth is, we use these as tools and they actually occasionally help us to do our job. However, human contact will always be the most important aspect of recruiting and is why recruiters work.

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Recently we have been working with clients currently making key adaptations to grow with the times in mobile and digital banking. These banks range from money center players to community size, all the way to a few billion dollar regional banks that are taking the hint. The moral of this story is this. Just like everything else, banking needs to evolve with technology, not completely change because of it. Humans are social creatures by nature and that will never change. Adaptation may be the key.

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Banks are hiring to grow. Many of the positions we are working on this year have been brand new, not backfills. Banks are expanding in ways we haven’t seen in years. Mergers and acquisitions are more prevalent. Banks are purchasing individual branches from each other in new markets. Bankers are being brought in to forge new territories and divisions, and most noticeably, team lift-outs are on the rise.

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Some Examples:

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-National Penn Bank bought Third Federal, Univest bought Valley Green Bank, and FNB bought half of Maryland. 🙂

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-In the last year, we can think of seven teams in the Greater Washington and Maryland Market that have moved on from their former employer together. Severn Savings, NWSB, the banks formerly known as VCB and most recently OBA have lost entire groups. Additionally, a certain big time player in the super regional world has lost 3 entire teams to competitors. If you do not know who we are talking about, you need to put your ear to the ground a bit more. Interestingly, five of the seven teams are in brand new markets for their new employer.

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New positon hires:

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-Diane Zanetti was hired by Capital One to spearhead their new look in the GovCon division, while Phil Quintana was moved from Capital One and hired by Fauquier County Bank to do something similar.

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http://www.fauquiernow.com/index.php/fauquier_news/entry/fauquier-bank-hirs-new-prince-william-executive-2014
http://www.abladvisor.com/news/4892/capital-one-bank-hires-government-contractor-lending-expert-for-metro-dc-team

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-Scott Meves was hired by Webster Bank as a Regional President to expand into Pennsylvania.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/webster-bank-names-new-regional-president-in-greater-philadelphia-area-272911731.html

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And we aren’t the only ones seeing this. It’s happening in many different industries and markets. According to the July 2014 Fordyce Letter, which is the #1 executive recruiting periodical in the industry, and a recent Career Builder forecast, 47% of the world’s largest network of recruiters state that newly created positions are the main source of job orders coming in. The article goes on to say that with the subsidence of the recession, employees are more willing to search for new opportunities. This is a big pendulum swing from the last few years.

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Banks are trying to purchase away business and people as their first priority, rather than being focused on growing talent from inside the bank. We are seeing the importance of a candidate having a current active portfolio being greater now than in the last five years. The way banks make decisions is changing. (For better or worse is another topic for another time).

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Football season is upon us!! Therefore, we have challenged some bankers to predict the two teams who will make the Super Bowl and which will win. If anyone guesses correctly, we will award the winner(s) with two tickets to see a regular season game of their choosing next season!

 

Bill Fink- Chief Lending Officer & Head of Credit Management- TD Bank

Bill is a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan. He grew up in Cleveland and has followed them ever since. He predicts a repeat of last year, with Denver vs. Seahawks in the Super Bowl with the Seahawks winning.

 

 

Cindy Flanders- Founder of Manage Fearlessly and former Mid Atlantic Executive of Bank of America

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Cindy is a die-hard Washington fan, and has been since High School. “I would try to get to games at RFK whenever I could. I actually stood in the rain in 1983 for the parade after they won the Super Bowl. I will admit it’s getting harder and harder to stay a fan, but I always have hope (at least at the beginning of the season)”.
Although Cindy thinks the Super Bowl could be a repeat of Denver and Seattle, she predicts the Broncos vs 49ers with the Broncos winning.

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Ray Lafond- SVP Commercial Lending-Enterprise Bank & Trust

Ray is a huge Pats fan. He has been in their corner since inception and suffered through some down times, but none like the Red Sox. He predicts Patriots vs. Seahawks with the Patriots winning.

The Gray Hoodie Master pulls out another rabbit – “Gronk Power”

 

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Lance Nobles- SVP Commercial Lender-Chain Bridge Bank

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Lance’s favorite team is The New Orleans Saints. “The Who Dat Nation is in full force for 2014. Drew Brees just had baby #4, Jimmy Graham has a new contract and the addition of Jairus Byrd from the Bills will add to an already powerful defense. Sean Peyton got creative with pre-season training camp to deal with the dismal road game performances of 2013 (The Greenbrier in West VA of all places). We will take back home field advantage from the Seahawks!”

The wild card: Rob “Wild Thing” Ryan:

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Lance predicts the New Orleans Saints vs Denver Broncos with the Saints winning, leaving Peyton Manning with his second Super Bowl loss at the hands of the Saints. “As the sun sets in the desert, so will Peyton’s dream of another Super Bowl ring.”

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Ben Pitkow- Business Banker- Citizens Bank

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Ben’s favorite team is the Philadelphia Eagles and although he’s a dedicated fan his Super Bowl picks are Broncos vs 49ers with the Broncos winning.

 

 

Eric Suss- SVP Human Resources- Capital Bank

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Eric’s favorite team is the Giants because he lived in NY/NJ until he was 7 years old, and his Dad was a huge NYG fan and he followed suit. He predicts the Broncos vs Green Bay Packers with the Broncos winning.

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“I think Denver needed the Super Bowl loss last year after an explosive year to make them that much hungrier. Green Bay will have a healthy offense again and solid D. If I have to pick a winner, going with Denver.”

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With all of these Denver predictions, we may be in trouble. We learned that Denver seems to be a clear favorite to win among folks we have talked to and that Lance and Rob Ryan use the same barber!

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The heads of our firm collectively have 30 years of experience in the recruiting world. The tales you are about to read are rare, and hilarious. Here are some of the craziest interview experiences our recruiters have dealt with in their careers.

 

1. One candidate thought that the key to winning over his interview audience was to say that he was a lion. He said that he was ferocious, meaning that he was a go-getter, but that he was also nurturing like a mother lion is with her cubs. His nurturing quality would help him relate to customers. He referred to himself as a hybrid, just like the lion: the king of the animal world. The lion thing was the majority of what he talked about. He even followed up after the interview with a thank you note jabbering on and on about lions.

2. During a final interview, we had a seemingly perfect candidate get cut. Why, you ask? Well let’s just say that he made a not-so-nice hand gesture to his potential boss. (One finger, one message.) But, you know, he said he didn’t understand the big deal because he was “just kidding”.

3. Someone had the audacity to take a sandwich into their job interview with the CEO and even set it down on his desk… This is a little more bizarre and rude than pulling your cell phone out during an interview, or reeking of cigarettes. (Which you should also never do.)

4. A great interview was ruined when the interviewee decided to take matters into his own hands. He was asked to come back for a second interview with the CEO of the company. I guess he thought to himself, ‘why wait?’, and proceeded to barge into the CEO’s office to introduce himself. Yeah, following protocol, not important at all.

5. We’ve had a few wardrobe disasters cost people jobs, including one woman who wore hip hugger jeans and a tank top, and a guy who wore a bright yellow leisure suit with sneakers. The best part? Leisure suit guy was checking out how great he looked in the windows outside of his potential new work place. You know, seeing if he had anything in his teeth, pulling his best interview faces… The problem was that the windows he was using to see his reflection looked directly into the hiring manager’s office.

6. This ties into the previous point about clothing choice. One gentleman brought his best suit with him on the plane to his interview, yet when he was picked up from the airport by BANK EXECUTIVES he was wearing board shorts and flip flops. Note: This was not a 10 hour flight, it was about an hour and a half at most. He was all locked and loaded to be hired and lost the job, and this was the major reason why. You are a potential representative of the bank, so first impressions go a long way.

7. One person brought a date to his final interview in which an offer was to be presented, at the fanciest most expensive restaurant in town. Without even asking. That’s normal, right?

 

So there you have it. As I said, these people are the exception, not the rule, the 1% of people who really need some intense coaching in common sense. We hope this made you smile!