Banks Use Tax Reform Windfall to Invest in Growth

BRENTWOOD, TENN., December 4, 2018 – A number of banks invested a significant portion of the profits gained due to tax reform back into their business, according to Bank Director’s 2019 Bank M&A Survey, sponsored by Crowe LLP.

Thirty-seven percent say their bank invested some of the tax windfall in new growth initiatives, and 36 percent in new technology.

The focus on new growth initiatives is consistent with the respondents’ view of bank M&A. Fifty-seven percent indicate they are open to bank acquisitions but prefer to focus on organic growth opportunities. “With the current state of the economy and improved regulatory and tax environments, bankers are focused on what they can control: new growth initiatives,” said Rick Childs, a partner with Crowe.

“While the pace of acquisitions might begin to slow, banks should continue to explore potential deals, as M&A remains a catalyst for growth,” adds Al Dominick, CEO of Bank Director.

One-quarter say their bank used some of the tax windfall to raise salaries, and 19 percent paid employees a one-time bonus.

The 2019 Bank M&A Survey was conducted in September and October 2018, and surveyed 184 independent directors, chief executive officers and senior executives of U.S. banks to examine industry attitudes on issues impacting growth, including the U.S. economy and regulatory environment.

Given the passage of tax reform and regulatory relief for the banking industry over the past year, respondents have an overwhelmingly positive view of Washington, particularly President Donald Trump and Mick Mulvaney, who in his tenure as interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has transformed the agency into a more even-handed regulator. Eighty-seven percent say the Trump administration has had a positive impact on the banking industry. The same percentage give glowing marks to Mulvaney.

Additional findings include:

  • Seventy-six percent expect the U.S. economy to grow modestly through 2019.
  • Forty-six percent expect increased tariffs to have a moderate impact on their bank’s business customers, and 38 percent foresee little impact.
  • More than half believe the current environment is more favorable for deals.
  • Fifty-one percent say they’re likely to acquire another bank by the end of 2019.
  • Thirty percent believe their bank is more likely to acquire as a result of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, which rolled back some regulations for the banking industry. Two-thirds indicate that regulatory reform will have no impact on their M&A plans.
  • Acquiring deposits is very attractive to today’s potential dealmakers: 71 percent say the potential target’s deposit base is a highly important factor in making the decision to acquire. 
  • Fifty-three percent say branch locations in attractive or growing markets are highly important, and 49 percent place high value on lending teams or talented lenders at the target.
  • Despite more sympathetic regulators and the passage of regulatory relief, 72 percent say their bank’s examiners have grown no less stringent over the past two years.

Full survey results are available online at BankDirector.com and will be featured in the 1st quarter 2019 issue of Bank Director magazine.

Since 1991, Bank Director has served as a leading information resource for the directors and officers of financial institutions. Through Bank Director magazine, its executive-level research, annual conferences and website, BankDirector.com, Bank Director reaches the leaders of the institutions that comprise America’s banking industry. Bank Director is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Crowe LLP (www.crowe.com) is a public accounting, consulting and technology firm with offices around the world. Crowe uses its deep industry expertise to provide audit services to public and private entities. The firm and its subsidiaries also help clients make smart decisions that lead to lasting value with its tax, advisory, risk and performance services. Crowe is recognized by many organizations as one of the best places to work in the U.S. As an independent member of Crowe Global, one of the largest global accounting networks in the world, Crowe serves clients worldwide. The network consists of more than 200 independent accounting and advisory services firms in more than 130 countries around the world.

Source: BankDirector.com

Contact: Michelle King, chief marketing officer, (615) 777-8465, [email protected]

Tricia Lesh

Vice President of Marketing

Tricia Lesh is Vice President of Marketing for Bank Director and manages the production and development projects for BankDirector.com and FinXTech.com. In addition, Tricia is focused on leading the direction of the company’s marketing, public relations and branding initiatives. A graduate of Belmont University, Tricia has more than 20+ years of experience in the financial industry, working in institutions with assets ranging from $500 million to $2.2 billion.