CCBN 2023 Top Banker Meeting Takeaways
The California Community Banking Network (“CCBN”) held the Top Banker Panel in La Quinta, California which was well attended by almost 100 bankers and professionals. There were four interesting panels covering leadership, strategic planning, succession planning, and where the industry is headed. There were nine top CEOs of very successful community financial institutions (“CFIs”) who presented on these topics. The average return on average assets and return on average equity for these institutions in 2023 will be well in excess of 1.25% and 15% respectively, with some CFIs well in excess of a 21% return on average equity. Those are BIG Numbers! While the presenters don't anticipate that this is going to continue to be the trend in 2024, these are strong performers that have good regulatory relationships and strong franchises.
While the bankers see that there will be some continued choppy seas in the end of 2023 and 2024, most of them think that there will not be a significant reduction in interest rates in the near term. However, there will be a step down slightly at the end of 2024 that may differ from some of the recent economic pundits who believe that there will be a step down much sooner in 2024. One can only wonder where the Federal Reserve will be moving regarding interest rates over the next 12 months.
It is anybody's guess; however, what we learned is that these entities are well positioned to navigate through these rough seas, and that all of them are focusing in on the basics of having a fortress type balance sheet, having a strong predictable income statement, and knowing their customers. While some have paused regarding certain lending programs in 2023, as they move into 2024, their focus continues to be building the deposit base, maintaining good relationships with our loan customers, controlling their efficiency ratios, knowing their customers well, and also reinvesting back into their people.
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