Are We Losing the Small Bank?

The popular wisdom is that banks under $300 million are doomed.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

The business press (and maybe the banking lobby) are beating the drum these days.  “Smalls won’t survive.  Smalls can’t afford current compliance costs with new regulation.  Smalls can’t afford capital — even if they could get it.  Smalls can’t earn enough to survive.”  If you’re a banker, you know the story.

I suppose all of that may be true for some small bankers. But, I don’t think it has to be true for any small bank.

I think a banker who concentrates on his customer and who isn’t trying “to be a big bank” can pretty easily survive and thrive.  Here’s why I say that: (1) the current compliance climate is tough, but it’s not impossible; (2) bank technology is a complete mess that will take lots of money to fix, but there are alternatives out there; and (3) the number of customers it takes to make money is surprisingly small, so you don’t have to have a 50% market share to make money.

I’d recommend that small banks take a weekend retreat and follow two rules: (1) nobody can say “we can’t”, and (2) everybody has to figure out “how we can.”  With wit, intelligence, willingness to be creative and, most of all, bloody-minded persistence, small banks can do just fine.

Want to talk about how you can structure a “re-invention weekend?”  Call me and let’s talk. 

Remember, there’s never a fee to brainstorm solutions.  I’ll pay for the call: 800-521-0236, Ext 17.  Or, email me and put SURVIVE in the subject line.