Starting To Grow Again

My family and I spent July 4th weekend with old friends who live in the Baltimore/Washington area. I had a conversation with a friend who has been with a well-established, $3.5B community bank in Maryland for over 15 years. One thing that came across loud and clear talking with her is that banks everywhere are struggling with flat loan demand and figuring out ways to stimulate loan growth.

At KenanSoperBryant, we are starting to see some customers invest in new hiring to boost lending, open up new markets, and/or start or grow other lines of business.

If you are out there trying to hire for any of the above, you are probably talking with ‘A players’ who can make an impact. Let me share some of the key questions I hear from good candidates who are considering such a move.

1. What is the bank’s current situation in terms of stability and plans?
Regardless of the bank’s situation, you need to be able to answer questions to the best of your ability regarding asset quality, regulatory involvement, capital position and what plans may be in store over the next 12-18 months. I know there are not always crystal clear responses to these issues, but you should be prepared to discuss them.

2. Do you have a compelling story?
Emerging from the difficult times the industry has seen, does the bank’s brand, growth plan, and strategy provide a good blueprint for growth over the next several years?

3. Do you have a strong management team?
Associated with #2 above, is the senior management team in place engaged, cohesive, and on board with the strategy?

4. Are you committed to the line(s) of business and growth?
For example… Is your credit culture aligned with C&I lending? Does management have a good understanding of the wealth management business? Regardless of the area(s) you are focused on, a qualified candidate is going to want to be sure the bank is committed and they will have the support needed to grow. Conversely, you need to understand what the candidate’s expectations are for support and growth before you get them into the job.

It’s worth the time to think through how you are going to respond to these and other questions before you are in front of a great candidate.

I hope you and your families had a great July 4th!

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