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3 trends midstate bankers are watching closely

Millennials, new tech and the long shadow of post-recession regulation are keeping bankers from institutions of all sizes on their toes.

These themes dominated a panel discussion Thursday at Lendicon, an annual education and networking event held by Lancaster-based law firm Barley Snyder.

The event included break-out sessions addressing a range of lending topics and a keynote address from Ben Wallace, executive vice president of operations and technology at Orrstown Bank. The day culminated in the panel discussion with six local bankers. 

These panel members represented banks ranging from about $397 million to $219 billion in assets:

  • David Hornberger, market president, Lancaster region of Orrstown Bank;
  • Gene Draganosky, president and CEO of York Traditions Bank;
  • Stephen Staman, senior vice president, regional manager of commercial banking for First National Bank;
  • Jeffrey Myers, executive vice president, chief lending officer of Centric Bank;
  • Mark Smith, senior vice president of commercial banking for Fulton Bank;
  • Michael Troutman, senior vice president, corporate banking manager for BB&T.

Here are some trends these bankers are watching in 2017 and beyond:

1. Wooing the millennials

Nobody’s quite sure what to make of the group of 20- to 30-somethings entering the workforce. But many of Thursday’s panel members agreed they needed to do more to attract them to banking.

As Troutman explained, “Many people in this industry have gray hair.”

“Millennial” has been a popular buzzword in finance in recent years, with everyone from local professionals to the American Bankers Association funding studies and creating advisory boards to figure out how to attract the next generation of bankers.

The fact that many banks have cut back on formal mentoring and training for new employees might partially explain why fewer people from that generation are looking to build long-term careers in the industry, Hornberger surmised.

Even as institutions look to shape workplaces to charm the next generation of bankers, several panel members agreed that millennials also need to take a close look in the mirror if they want to succeed as professionals,  in banking or elsewhere.

Their advice to the 20-somethings: Put down your cellphones, and work on developing relationship skills.

2. The pros and cons of a tech-savvy world

Technology represents a risk and an opportunity for bankers.

On one hand, the technology to develop a good web presence and mobile app is much more affordable and accessible than it was just a few years ago. Customers have come to expect these features, and banks that eschew have little chance of staying competitive.

On the other hand, the more banking goes online, the more opportunities criminals have to take advantage of it.

“It’s amazing how organized the bad actors are,” Draganosky said. 

Several panel members cited cybersecurity as their most significant challenge right now. As quickly as innovations like chip cards come out to thwart would-be bad guys, criminals are figuring out new and creative ways to get around them.

Technology has also changed the face of the competition as less-regulated fintech companies creep in to fulfill the needs traditionally met by banks.

“If you’re looking at competition in your local community, you’re sadly mistaken,” Myers said.

3. Regulation: ‘It’s not going to get worse’

Several bankers at Thursday’s panel expressed a sort of begrudging acceptance of the heightened regulations that slammed the industry after the 2008 recession. Although compliance costs have risen, and regulator scrutiny has maybe stifled tech innovations, many banks have learned to operate with this post-recession reality.

“It’s the law of the land. We have to adhere to it,” Troutman said.

Myers noted regulators might have even made banks stronger, forcing them to scrutinize their practices more than they did in the past. 

The panel had little optimism about President Donald Trump making any significant rollbacks on laws like the ones set forth in Dodd-Frank, but several members figured his presidency will at least give them time to breathe.

“It’s not going to get worse,” Myers said of the regulatory environment.

Jennifer Wentz
Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at jwentz@cpbj.com.

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