ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 46

> FROM THE STATES

A Case for Optimism
BY PETER GWALTNEY

IN NORTH CAROLINA, 2017 will be remembered for the wave of mergers
it brought. This year, more than 20 percent of the banks headquartered in
North Carolina either merged with other banks in the state or were purchased
by out-of-state banks. We are not unique-mergers are taking place across the
country at an accelerated pace.
Mergers of equals and other in-state
mergers have enabled four smaller
North Carolina community banks to
achieve scale and better shoulder the
disproportionate regulatory burden
brought on by Dodd-Frank and other
pressures on profitability. This will
continue until Congress and the federal
regulatory agencies provide meaningful
regulatory relief and supervision that is
tailored to the size and complexity of
the financial institutions.
On the other end of the spectrum,
a significant number of our larger
state-headquartered community banks
were acquired earlier this year in rapid
succession over the course of a few
months-eight of the 20 largest banks
in North Carolina, totaling $32 billion in
assets with the exception of one $800
million institution, were acquired by
out-of-state banks, bringing the total
number of North Carolina-chartered
banks to less than 50. From the
perspective of a state bankers
association, a wave of mergers of this
magnitude was, to use a technical
term, scary.
The press has been enamored
with the merger activity, most likely
because of the pace and the size of
46

ABA BANKING JOURNAL | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

the transactions. Each announcement
has resulted in calls from reporters
on which I've addressed questions
about the impact of the mergers on
consumers and communities and a
host of other issues. After reading an
article in which I was quoted, a friend
observed that I lean toward optimism. I
laughed, because I think his comment
was a diplomatic way of suggesting
that I might not have the best grasp on
reality. I agreed with his assessment
of my chronic optimism and I assured
him that my grasp on reality is just fine.
I understand that unless we adjust
and adapt to a membership that has
consolidated significantly, we could find
ourselves in a bind.
Consolidation is having an immediate
impact on the NCBA and state
associations across the country.
It's affecting revenue, participation
in meetings, utilization of products
and services and engagement in
advocacy efforts, all at a time when
state associations and ABA are
working closely together to bring
about meaningful regulatory reform
in Washington and doing our normal
blocking and tackling in our state
legislatures. State associations serve a
vital purpose for the banking industry,

and we will adapt, because that's what
we do. Bankers will likely see their state
associations doing things differently
as consolidation continues among our
members. We might jettison programs
that were successful five or 10 years
ago, or we might jointly sponsor a
conference or convention with another
state association. Change is rarely
easy, but it is going to be necessary
for the long-term strength and viability
of the banking industry's network of
bankers associations: the ABA-State
Association Alliance.
I love banking and am honored to serve
our industry as a state association
executive. I chose banking as a career
nearly 30 years ago, after my mentor,
former boss and friend, Hartie Spence,
explained to me how bankers help
people. I'm grateful to Hartie for sharing
his passion for serving others with me.
Over my career, I've witnessed the
incredible resilience of bankers and
seen our associations adapt through
recessions, natural disasters and other
disruptions. Putting all of that into
perspective, a merger wave does not
seem so scary and makes me optimistic
about the future of our industry and the
associations that serve it. Yes, I lean
toward optimism.
PETER GWALTNEY is president
and CEO of the North Carolina
Bankers Association.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017

Chairman’s View
Upfront
Legal Briefs
Economic Outlook
Power Up Profile
Pitching In
Choices and Options Down on the Farm
Eager or Not, Every Board Needs an M&A Strategy
Adapting to Survive
More Than Just a Drink
Operations
Payments
Small Business Lending
Human Resources
ABA Compliance Center Inbox
From the States
Corporate Social Responsibility
Index of Advertisers
From the Vault
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Intro
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - ebelly1
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - ebelly2
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - cover1
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - cover2
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 3
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 4
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 5
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 6
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 7
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Chairman’s View
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 9
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Upfront
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 11
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 12
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 13
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 14
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 15
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Legal Briefs
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 17
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Economic Outlook
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Power Up Profile
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Pitching In
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 21
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 22
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 23
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 24
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 25
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Choices and Options Down on the Farm
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 27
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Eager or Not, Every Board Needs an M&A Strategy
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 29
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Adapting to Survive
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 31
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 32
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 33
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - More Than Just a Drink
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 35
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Operations
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 37
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Payments
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 39
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Small Business Lending
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 41
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Human Resources
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 43
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 44
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - ABA Compliance Center Inbox
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - From the States
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 47
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Corporate Social Responsibility
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Index of Advertisers
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - From the Vault
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - cover3
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - cover4
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