Events : Acquire or Be Acquired Conference

Saturday | January 28

5:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Celebrating Women In Leadership Reception
Sponsored by: Bank on Women, Inc. and Piper Sandler & Co.
With so many top executives and board members traveling to this conference on Saturday, this reception provides female executives an opportunity for women in banking to meet their contemporaries from across the United States. Please note: a separate registration is not needed to attend this reception as it is included in the conference registration.

5:00 PM – 5:30 PM
First-Time Attendee Reception
Concurrent to our Women In Leadership Reception, we welcome first-time attendees to our Acquire or Be Acquired Conference. Meet members of the Bank Director leadership team as well as others who are attending the conference for the first time. Please note: a separate registration is not needed to attend this reception as it is included in the conference registration.

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Welcoming Reception & Registration
Sponsored by: Piper Sandler & Co.
While winter grips much of the country, we’ve found early evening in Arizona to be a welcome change for many joining us. Kickoff the conference by catching up with old friends and making new connections.

Day One | Sunday, January 29

Widely regarded as the financial industry’s premier M&A event for a bank’s CEO, board of directors and key leadership teams, Bank Director’s annual Acquire or Be Acquire Conference continues to be the meeting ground for discussions around mergers, acquisitions and strategic growth initiatives. The first day of AOBA addresses the state of the industry, shifts in technology and growing the bank.

6:45 AM – 7:45 AM
Registration & Breakfast

7:45 AM – 7:50 AM
Looking Ahead
Michelle King
, President, Bank Director & FinXTech
Laura Schield
, Chief Operating Officer, Bank Director & FinXTech
Bank Director welcomes business leaders from across the United States to our 29th annual Acquire or Be Acquired Conference. To open the conference, we share what we are hearing about staying relevant and competitive.

7:50 AM – 8:35 AM
The 2023 State of the Industry – The Evolving Dynamics of Banking
Thomas Michaud
, President & CEO, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company
KBW’s CEO, Tom Michaud, sets the stage for the conference as he defines where the industry is today and what forces shape its future in 2023 and beyond.

8:35 AM – 9:15 AM
Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow
David Sandler
, Co-Head & Managing Director, Investment Banking Financial Services Group, Piper Sandler & Co.
Steve Williams
, President & Partner, Cornerstone Advisors, Inc.
Moderated by: Jim McAlpin, Board Member, Bank Director
This panel session explores growth options with an eye towards emerging trends and opportunities. While banks were once described as slow and unable to innovate, the last few years have shown the opposite to be the case. As performance expectations continue to shift, we look at macro level trends with an eye on taking advantage of them.

9:15 AM – 9:35 AM
Refreshment Break
Sponsored by: LemonadeLXP

9:35 AM – 10:15 AM
Breakout Sessions 
Participants have the opportunity to select from one of seven breakout sessions to attend – focused on exploring all of your many growth options. During these concurrent sessions, we look at all of the ways your bank can grow – be it through technology, mergers & acquisitions, organic growth, valuation, culture, talent, diversity, the limiting of risks and more. All sessions are strategic in nature and build on this morning’s general session presentations. Additional sessions to be announced.

Breakout I: What The Board Needs To Know In 2023
Robert Fleetwood, Partner, Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP
Al Laufenberg
, Managing Director, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company
This breakout session continues the “Need to Know” series that has consistently been a popular highlight at this conference for many years. Gain practical insight on what CEOs and directors need to know in 2023 and beyond.

Breakout II: The Impact of AOCI on Capital Planning, Bank Equity Valuations and M&A
Craig Mancinotti, Senior Managing Director, Hovde Group, LLC
Rick Maroney, Senior Managing Director, Hovde Group, LLC
The massive increase in unrealized bond losses during 2022 has the industry in uncharted waters, leaving management teams, boards of directors, regulators, investment bankers and investors scrambling to understand the implications on capital, liquidity, valuations and M&A. This session explores the impact of AOCI on equity valuations and whether banks should consider preemptive capital raises or re-consider share repurchase programs. The session also evaluates how AOCI distorts M&A pricing and addresses the question of whether to pursue deals or sit on the sidelines until the dust settles.

Breakout III: How Banks Should Make the Decision to Buy or Sell
Josh McNulty
, Partner, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Beth Whitaker
, Partner, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Decisions made even before bankers engage with the other side foretell the likelihood for success. This session discusses various considerations for the boards of both sellers and buyers in order to play the negotiating game in the most effective manner.

Breakout IV: Growing Your Bank Through Fintech Sponsorship Revenue

Brittany Decker, Head of BIN Sponsorship, Visa USA Inc.
An increasing number of financial institutions are evaluating their performance pre and post COVID, looking for new opportunities to diversify their revenue. Did you know banks working through Fintech Sponsorship Programs can create direct access to additional payments through their existing products? Join Visa, Inc. as we discuss the opportunities available to your institution.

Breakout V: Embracing Your Competitive Edge by Bringing Your Digital Transformation
Strategy to Life
John Behringer, Partner, RSM US LLP
New and innovative technologies that can remove obstacles impacting your bank’s bottom line are being developed and rolled out faster than we’ve ever seen. But where do you start? Does your organization use manual processes that are inefficient, prone to error or drain valuable resource hours that can be deployed more effectively elsewhere? Join this session to learn how banks can leverage digital transformation and automation to streamline internal processes, improve customer experience and identify key opportunities to propel your bank forward.

Breakout VI: 2030 Vision: The Journey to a Networked Future
Britney Pope, AVP of Strategic Solutions, nCino
Today, expectations for financial services are being redefined in real time. In our fast-paced, digitally connected world, financial institutions across the globe are preparing to meet the evolving needs of both customers and bankers, whenever they want and wherever they are. In this session, experts from nCino analyze the past, present and future of fintech and examine how institutions are transitioning from the closed technologies of yesterday to the networked future of tomorrow.

10:30 AM – 11:10 AM
Making Great Acquisitions
Robert Klingler, Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
John Roddy
, Head of Financial Services Investment Banking, Raymond James Financial, Inc.
Matt Veneri
, Head of Investment Banking, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC
This panel is all about types of bank acquisitions: banks buying non-banks, credit unions buying banks, banks buying specialty lines of business, fintechs buying fintechs, traditional cores buying tech companies, among others. Hear what makes these deals great.

11:10 AM – 11:50 AM
Strategic Opportunities Your Bank Should Consider
Robert Azarow
, Partner, Arnold & Porter
Eric Corrigan
, Senior Managing Director & Head of the Financial Institutions Group, Commerce Street Capital, LLC
Mandi Simpson, Partner, Crowe LLP
Moderated by: Al Dominick, Board Member, Bank Director
As the financial industry continues to evolve, some banks not looking for M&A are uncovering new business lines and other ways to enhance their operations. These may include more traditional avenues like introducing new loan products, portfolio acquisition and reimagining your branches, to more recent trends such as banking-as-as-service, digital assets and BNPL, among others. Hear this panel of experts share opportunities your bank should consider as you develop next year’s strategic plan.


10:30 AM – 11:05 AM
FinXTech Session: Growth Strategies Through Fintech Relationships
Clayton Mitchell, Principal, Crowe LLP
Abdul Mitha
, Partner, Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP
Derik Sutton, Chief Marketing Officer, Autobooks
Moderated by: Michelle King, President, Bank Director & FinXTech
Fintech strategies can provide new avenues for growth for community and regional banks — and that has some banks considering options that fall outside traditional growth. This session focuses on the legal, compliance and strategic considerations of partnering with, investing in and acquiring fintech companies.

11:15 AM – 11:50 AM
FinXTech Session: A Deep Dive on Digital Assets and Cryptocurrency
Brandon Koeser, Senior Manager, Financial Services Industry Senior Analyst, RSM US LLP
Richard Levin
, Partner and Chair – FinTech & Regulation Practice, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Adam Waite
, Managing Director, Technology Investment Banking Group, D.A. Davidson & Co.
Moderated by: Kiah Haslett, Managing Editor, Bank Director
This session explains digital assets and what these mean to the banks in the audience – both in terms of opportunities and challenges.

11:50 AM – 1:05 PM
Networking Peer & Guest Lunch

12:15 PM – 12:55 PM
Lunch & Learn Sessions
Shifting from our previous year’s agenda with morning discussion groups, these Lunch & Learn sessions offer participants the chance to learn about a shared topic of interest. Six sessions run concurrently, so attendees may select one to attend.  

Lunch & Learn Session I: Navigating the Dynamic Shifts in Bank Board and Executive Leadership
Sean O’Neal, Principal, Chartwell Partners
Scott Petty, Managing Partner, Chartwell Partners
With CEO retirement and talent volatility at an all-time high, is your bank proactively seeking leaders and board members with the abilities required for long-term success? In this session, we discuss the key skill sets needed in the board and C-Suite to thrive and remain independent. Participants receive Chartwell’s proprietary board skills matrix and succession planning model.

Lunch & Learn Session II:  M&A Integration: It’s More Than a System Conversion
Mikelle Brady, Partner, Profit Resources Inc.
Mike Holt, Partner, Profit Resources Inc.
Is there a chance that your playbook is missing a key component?  Even the most experienced acquirers don’t know what they don’t know.  Once your merger or acquisition receives that stamp of approval, how can you ensure that the two merging banks are fully integrated efficiently and with the fewest hiccups?  This session covers tips for managing an integration effort including vendor partner review, setting process, establishing a governance structure and system conversion.  We review tactics for completing a thorough gap analysis in all areas of the bank, what areas are worth extra focus and how to build and maintain a positive culture.

Lunch & Learn Session III: Leveraging International Payment & Foreign Exchange (FX) Capabilities to Drive Growth
Tom Loffredio
, Head of Business Development, Derivative Path, Inc.
76% of companies that import or export have less than 20 employees. You are banking these small businesses today. When have you last considered how to best serve them? Come learn how one bank took control of their international payment and FX activities, enhanced the customer experience and created significant new sources of revenue.

Lunch & Learn Session IV: Managing Capital and Profitability Through a Recession
Jonathan Littlewood, SVP, Chief Lending Officer, First Keystone Community Bank
Mac Thompson
, President & Founder, White Clay
It has been a while since our industry has managed through a recession. During this session, we discuss changes in capital allocation, loan pricing and profitability management during a financial downturn. We also discuss key aspects of what community banks will need to do differently to optimize capital and come out with a stronger position as the economy returns to growth.

Lunch & Learn Session V: Sharing in the Dream: How to Create and Capture Wealth for Executives in an M&A Event
Anthony Eppert, Partner, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Brian Marek, Partner, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
There are many alternatives to consider when designing compensatory arrangements (including severance, change-in-control, bonus and equity awards agreements). To that end, this session covers: how to identify the right key employees; things to consider before a change-in-control transaction is imminent; the shareholders’ perspective, including the impact of equity on dilution; the attractiveness to the buyer of certain pay structures; and designing plans that maximize the amounts paid to executives.

Lunch & Learn Session VI: Achieve More Value from Your Planning Process by Linking Vision, Strategy and Execution
Ken Levey, Managing Director, Empyrean Solutions, LLC
Bryan Ridgway, Director, Performance Management Solutions, Empyrean Solutions, LLC
For many financial institutions, the strategic planning and budgeting processes have turned purely into a financial forecasting exercise, projecting growth, earnings and performance indicators based on a set of best-guess assumptions. By combining strategic and tactical planning approaches, financial institutions can better align the organization’s operational, financial and strategic plans with the overall vision of the organization.

1:05 PM – 1:20 PM
Editorial Highlight
Naomi Snyder
, Editor-in-Chief, Bank Director
Hear from Bank Director’s Editor-in-Chief as she shares the most significant developments and stories we have been writing about.

1:20 PM – 2:00 PM
Community Bank Market Value – How is it Determined and How is it Changing?
Curtis Carpenter
, Senior Managing Director, Hovde Group, LLC
What are the primary factors affecting bank value in today’s market? How do the recent changes in market conditions impact the way buyers value a target bank? In this session, we discuss the primary drivers of value as we enter 2023 and look to where community banking is heading.


1:05 PM – 1:40 PM
FinXTech Session: A Deep Dive on Open Banking
Peter Glyman, Managing Director, Corporate Strategy, Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.
Daniel Haisley, EVP of Innovation, Apiture
Kendall Rountree, Director of Business Development, Finicity, A Mastercard Company
Moderated by: Al Dominick, Board Member, Bank Director
Open banking connects banks, third-parties and technology providers allowing for a simple and secure exchange of data to provide customers with a more seamless banking experience. During this FinXTech Session, a panel of industry leaders discusses the impact of open APIs for banks today and why a bank should consider open banking as part of their tech and growth strategy.

2:15 PM – 2:55 PM
Breakout Sessions
Participants have the opportunity to select from one of seven concurrent breakout sessions to attend – focused on exploring all of your many growth options. Sessions to be announced.

Breakout I: Critical Strategies to Retain Talent During M&A
Laura Hay
, Lead Consultant, Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC
Susan O’Donnell
, Partner, Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC
Proactively planning and executing retention strategies before, during and after M&A is critical to a deal’s success. This session provides a checklist of the processes, actions and specific compensation strategies each bank needs to have in its “tool kit” to avoid talent disruption during a transaction and ensure successful outcomes.

Breakout II: How to Implement an Effective Data Intelligence Strategy
Daniel Haisley, EVP of Innovation, Apiture
Your financial institution has access to a plethora of data, but are you maximizing its value? In this session, Apiture’s EVP of Innovation Daniel Haisley discusses how you can close the expertise and tool gaps that may be holding you back from fully leveraging the data available to you today.

Breakout III: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Capital Allocators
Gary Svec, Managing Director, Investment Banking, Performance Trust Capital Partners, LLC
What are the 7 ways to avoid the biggest blunders in banking? Year by year, we’ve been seeing seemingly small shifts in shareholder dynamics, capital strategies, asset allocation, deposit mix, competition, technology, etc. But when looking back over the last three decades, the cumulative consequences are catastrophic. This session looks closely at 7 characteristics of the most successful management teams as they have navigated these changes and acted upon opportunities (and avoided the wrong ones) for superior results. We also show how to find strategies to effectively manage and allocate capital given ever-changing market dynamics, volatility and uncertainty.

Breakout IV: Accounting & Auditing Issues: What Banks Should Know
Jason Rader
, National Industry Leader, Financial Services, FORVIS
This session shares updates on top accounting and auditing matters specific to the banking industry.

Breakout V: How to Improve Your Efficiency Ratio with Strategic Tech Investments
Dennis Devine
, President & CEO, Alliant Credit Union
Frank Sorrentino
, Chair & CEO, ConnectOne Bank
Moderated by: Nathaniel Harley, CEO & Co-founder, MANTL
ConnectOne Bank and Alliant Credit Union are two of the most innovative financial institutions in America. They’ve both embraced technology as a competitive advantage, building strategic partnerships with leading fintechs to drive operational efficiency and achieve explosive growth. Join MANTL in conversation with ConnectOne Bank and Alliant Credit Union as they share insights for making smart tech investments to improve your efficiency ratio, open up new revenue streams and boost your bottom line.

Breakout VI: The Employee Retention Credit

Carson Lappetito, President, Sunwest Bank
Howard Makler
, Founder & CEO, Innovation Refunds
The ERC is an overlooked payroll tax rebate born out of the CARES Act to help small and mid-sized businesses through the Covid pandemic. These businesses are eligible to receive up to $26,000 per W2 employee as a payroll tax refund. Rules have changed recently, now allowing businesses who received PPP to also claim and qualify for the ERC. Attend this session to learn more!

2:55 PM – 3:15 PM
Refreshment Break
Sponsored by: Mercer Capital

3:15 PM – 3:55 PM
Breakout Sessions
Conversations continue with a second round of afternoon breakout sessions — participants select one of seven concurrent opportunities. 

Breakout I: Evaluating Your Small Business Banking Health
Derik Sutton
, Chief Marketing Officer, Autobooks
Small business has become big business and represents an estimated $400 billion opportunity. Until recently, this market was expensive to reach and serve. But a growing number of institutions have been following the path of disruptors like Square and PayPal — rethinking their strategy to better serve this lucrative segment. Learn about the evolution of the small business market and come away with a plan to prepare your bank for long-term success. 

Breakout II: The Future of Community and Regional Banking
Jill Cetina, Associate Managing Director, Financial Institutional Group, Moody’s Investors
Service, Inc.
Rita Sahu
, VP, Senior Credit Officer, Financial Institutions Group, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc.
Moody’s provides their outlook on the community and regional banking sector, including the impact of interest rates, inflation and recession risks. Other forces shaping the sector including developments in cyber risk and technology-enabled disruption are also part of the discussion.

Breakout III: Case Study: Building and Scaling a Cannabis Line of Business
Frank Smith, SVP, Deposit Operations Administrator, Republic Bank of Arizona
Mike Kennedy, Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Green Check Verified
Green Check’s Chief Strategy Officer invites the leader of one of the fastest growing, most innovative cannabis banking programs in the U.S. to provide an inside look at how they navigated building and scaling this exciting, niche line of business.

Breakout IV: Addressing Deal Certainty in Uncertain Times
Scott Brown
, Partner, Luse Gorman, PC
Lawrence Spaccasi
, Partner, Luse Gorman, PC
This session focuses on the current regulatory climate with regard to M&A with an emphasis on changing regulatory standards for approval of transactions, hot button issues and potential regulatory threats to the successful and timely completion of a transaction. We also discuss the growing trend of non-traditional buyers (such as credit unions and investor groups) and the unique regulatory and diligence issues they raise. The session also provides examples of merger agreement provisions that can (and should) be considered when engaging with these non-traditional purchasers to better protect the seller. With the increased regulatory scrutiny of merger transactions, we also discuss ways to optimize the diligence process, including how to balance a party’s need to ascertain an entity’s regulatory standing while continuing to fulfill its obligations about the treatment of confidential supervisory information.

Breakout V: How Three Top Banks Unlocked Efficiencies to Drive Loan Growth
Speaker To Be Announced, Baker Hill Solutions, LLC.
In this panel discussion, hear from bankers at leading financial institutions as they discuss proven strategies for driving efficiencies in commercial lending. This panel of experienced bankers and lending experts reveals best practices for establishing effective commercial loan origination processes and considerations when identifying new commercial lending opportunities, including how to evaluate and adjust credit policies in the current economic environment and more.

Breakout VI: The Untapped Big Revenue Opportunity: Winning Businesses On First Impression
Nikhil Lakhanpal, Co-Founder, Narmi Inc.
Businesses are being left at your digital front door. From the very first interaction, businesses are left with a poor account opening experience that forces them to quickly abandon the process and turn elsewhere. The challenge: how do you provide a first-class digital experience while also ensuring KYB compliance requirements are met? Join us as we uncover the playbook to overcome this challenge and win significant market share.

4:05 PM – 4:45 PM
Competing for Growth in a Rising Rate Environment
Gary Bronstein
, Partner, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Frank (Rusty) Conner
, III, Partner, Covington & Burling LLP
Frank Sorrentino
, Managing Director, Stephens Inc.
Moderated by: Jack Milligan, Editor-at-Large, Bank Director


4:05 PM – 4:40 PM
FinXTech Session: A Deep Dive on Lending
Joe Ehrhardt, CEO & Founder, Teslar Software
Dan O’Malley, CEO & Co-founder, Numerated
Benjamin Wallace, CEO, Summit Technology Group
Moderated by: Lexie Grindstaff, Director of Business Development, Bank Director
The economic environment has radically shifted over the last year. Banks have been buffeted by a rapidly rising rate environment and are facing a potential, correlated increase in credit and interest risk in their books. Time is of the essence as they position themselves to respond opportunistically to grow loans, but also play defense to contain and address risks. The era of low loan rates appears to be over — for now. This, along with an uncertain economy, promises to depress growth prospects for the foreseeable future. This panel discusses how banks can strategize in a stressed environment.

4:45 PM – 6:30 PM
Networking Peer & Guest Reception
Sponsored by: Active Digital, BrightFi and Innovation Refunds

Day Two | Monday, January 30

Building on top of Sunday’s sessions and conversations, industry leaders take a look at what is needed to successfully grow a bank as well as reveal the keys to a well executed deal. On this day, AOBA attendees explore paths to creating greater shareholder value and focus on how the competitive landscape continues to evolve.

7:00 AM – 7:55 AM
Sponsored by: Q2

7:55 AM – 8:10 AM
Special Industry Announcement
Michelle King, President, Bank Director
As we kickoff day two of Acquire or Be Acquired, join Bank Director for a special industry announcement provided by a well-known, leading consumer technology company. This is a session you won’t want to miss as we dive into Monday’s presentations!

8:10 AM – 8:45 AM
RankingBanking Panel
Thomas Broughton
, President & CEO, ServisFirst Bank
David Findlay, President & CEO, Lake City Bank
James Hillebrand, Chair & CEO, Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co.
Moderated by: Kara Baldwin, Partner, Crowe LLP
Based on the latest iteration of Bank Director’s RankingBanking study, hear from three banks that topped our list.

8:45 AM – 9:25 AM
The New M&A Playbook: Building Winners
Scott Anderson
, Head of Investment Banking, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company
Joseph Berry
, Co-Head of Investment Banking, Co-Head of Fintech and Head of Depositories Investment Banking, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company
Matthew Kelley, Director of Research, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company
Scale matters but how can it be created in the right way? Join KBW’s Scott Anderson and Joe Berry as they discuss winning playbooks with prominent bankers that are building successful companies. Is it best to buy small, build transformatively or invest outside of traditional banking? The panelists share their views while the investor perspectives are shared by Matt Kelley, KBW’s Director of Research.

9:25 AM – 10:05 AM
Technology Trends to Watch
David Foss
, Board Chair & CEO, Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.
Nathaniel Harley, CEO & Co-founder, MANTL
Jaime Punishill, Chief Market Officer, nCino
Moderated by: Al Dominick, Board Member, Bank Director
This session takes a look at the emerging trends within the fintech space and innovative ways that technology companies are learning from their bank partnerships.


8:15 AM – 8:45 AM
FinXTech Session: A Deep Dive on Tech Strategy
Meghan Crawford, President of the Bank Division, BHG Financial
Heather Eastep, Partner, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
David Feaster, Vice President, Equity Capital Markets, , Raymond James Financial, Inc.
Moderated by: Laura Schield, Chief Operating Officer, Bank Director & FinXTech
This session focuses on the importance of marrying bank strategy with technology investment, measuring whether the ROI is worth the investments and being brave enough to take the leap with a new technology.

8:55 AM – 9:25 AM
FinXTech Session: A Deep Dive on Customer Experience
Stephen Bohanon, Co-founder, Chief Strategy & Product Officer, Alkami Technology, Inc.
Matt Phipps
, Chief Marketing Officer, Agent IQ
Mac Thompson, President & Founder, White Clay
Moderated by: Erika Bailey, FinXTech Research Analyst, Bank Director
How do your customers interact with your bank? Now ask yourself, how do your customers WANT to interact with your bank? An outstanding customer experience can set your bank apart from the competition, while a mediocre one can set you back. During this session, we explore how technology can enhance your customers’ overall banking experience – allowing you to further develop your existing client relationships and keep them from looking elsewhere to service their needs.

10:05 AM – 10:25 AM
Refreshment Break
Sponsored by: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc.

10:15 AM – 11:45 AM
M&A Simulation
Grant Butler
, Partner, K&L Gates
Peter Buck, Managing Director, Piper Sandler & Co.
John Freechack, Managing Director, Piper Sandler & Co.
Joe Regan, Director, Piper Sandler & Co.
Adam Smith
, Partner, K&L Gates
Robert Tammero
, Partner, K&L Gates
The process of striking a deal for a prized target has never been more competitive than it is today. For buyers, careful discipline is required to ensure that bids are designed to accomplish acquisition growth without damaging the value of the company. For sellers, a competitive bid process must be skillfully navigated in order to earn the best deal for shareholders. In this session, participants work through the final rounds of a competitive auction involving a prized seller to see which bank emerges as the successful acquirer. Of course, as in real deals, some wrinkles will emerge. The M&A Simulation is exclusive to 45 bank attendees only, allows for one banker per institution and runs concurrently to the below breakout sessions.

10:25 AM – 11:05 AM
Breakout Sessions
Participants have the opportunity to select from one of seven concurrent breakout sessions to attend – focused on exploring all of your many growth options. 

Breakout I: Getting a Deal Approved
Lowell Harrison, Partner, Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP
Jonathan Hightower, Partner, Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP
Stephanie Kalahurka, Partner, Fenmiore Kay Harrison LLP
The current regulatory environment has merger partners worried about obtaining timely regulatory approvals. This session addresses how buyers and sellers can address potential regulatory deal risks on a wide range of issues, including consumer protests, community impact reviews, fair lending compliance matters and market concentration issues. The session also explores negotiating provisions to deal with regulatory application risks.

Breakout II: M&A Through the Human Capital Lens – Navigating the Challenges and Opportunities Unique to MOEs and Acquisitions
Greg Swanson, Managing Director, Pearl Meyer
Rachel Turitto, SVP & Chief Human Resources Officer, First Interstate Bank
Dan Wetzel, Managing Director, Pearl Meyer
In all types of acquisitions, there are many human capital challenges to consider, including compensation and retention strategies, cultural integration, the transition of senior executives and the merging of two different employee populations. In this session, presenters review the considerations around compensation and broader human capital dynamics unique to a merger of equals and other types of acquisitions.

Breakout III: Credit Union/Bank Transactions: Non-Traditional Growth Opportunities and Valuations
Jay Wilson, Senior Vice President, Mercer Capital
The universe of strategic options for banks has expanded to include credit union acquirers and developing or acquiring non-traditional lines of business (mortgage, insurance, wealth management or fintech). This session provides insights into these trends and how they intersect and discusses how acquirers determine a valuation range and model deal metrics for banks with both traditional and non-traditional lines of business.

Breakout IV: So A Recession is Coming… What Can We Do To Prepare for It?
Erica Crain, Principal, National Credit Risk Leader, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP
Susan Sabo, Managing Principal, Financial Services, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP
It has been over 10 years since our industry has felt the effects of the bottom of the credit cycle. Whether or not a recession hits, there are numerous actions banks can take to prepare, protect and persevere through the cycle.

Breakout V: Protect Earnings and Capital Using Derivatives
Rex Copeland
, SVP, Chief Financial Officer, Great Southern Bank
Todd Cuppia
, Managing Director, Head of Balance Sheet Risk Management, Chatham Financial
Dave Sweeney
, Managing Director, Chatham Financial
Investors compensate bank managers for smooth, predictable earnings, asset growth and capital management. Changing interest rate environments impact each of these metrics. Banks have ways to manage changing interest rates, but banks often lack the most powerful and flexible tool: derivatives. Bankers sometimes shy away from using hedging strategies due to a lack of experience, a cautious board and concerns about accounting. Attend this session to hear how bankers have overcome these areas of resistance to add this tool to protect earnings and capital.

Breakout VI: Modernize Commercial Lending to Stay Competitive
Joe Ehrhardt, CEO & Founder, Teslar Software
This session dives into today’s commercial lending landscape (post-PPP) and shares what community financial institutions should prioritize in order to stay ahead of big banks and maintain a competitive edge, while building personal, yet digitally optimized customer relationships. This session includes best practices when digitizing lending processes and real examples of forward-thinking community banks and the ways they are modernizing their commercial lending processes to grow revenue, increase their competitive posture and better serve their communities.

Breakout VII: The Secret to Extraordinary Bank Growth
Don Neel, President & CEO, United Fidelity Bank
Kim Snyder, CEO & Founder, KlariVis
Through an aggressive acquisition and growth strategy, bank CEO, Don Neel, has pushed United Fidelity Bank to near $5B in total assets by guiding the institution through 9 acquisition transactions and the establishment of 3 de novo branches over the last 8 years. His method of leveraging acquired data to hit the ground running has been vital to the institution’s accelerated success. Sit in on this exclusive fireside chat to learn ways to uncover the true value of an acquisition, powerful strategies for a seamless integration and why data fluency is so critical to bank growth.

11:15 AM – 11:55 AM
Breakout Sessions
Conversations continue with a second round of morning breakout sessions — participants select one of seven concurrent opportunities to engage with industry leaders.

Breakout I: Overcoming the 5 Dysfunctions of a Growing Bank
Drew Anderson
, Chief Administration Officer, Umpqua Holdings Corporation
Renee Brooks
, SEVP, Chief Operating Officer, South State Bank
Mike Daniels, President & CEO, Nicolet National Bank
Moderated by: Ryan Rackley, Partner, Cornerstone Advisors, Inc.
As a bank grows, complexities naturally result. In this breakout session, bank executives explore challenges that arise during merger considerations, contract negotiations and other strategic growth initiatives. In point/counterpoint fashion, Cornerstone Advisors’ Ryan Rackley tackles the most significant challenges confronting bank executives today and lays the groundwork for growth-minded banks to consider.

Breakout II: Why Smart-focused Loan Review is Critically Important Now in M&A
David Ruffin
, Principal, IntelliCredit, A Division of QwickRate
With the combination of rampant inflation, record velocity in rate increases and the weaning off of pandemic government assistance, the likelihood of heightened credit stress is all but guaranteed. Irrespective of current credit metrics being very benign, these are trailing indicators — and subject to change dramatically. In this environment, no prospective acquirer should be satisfied with call report data or previous loan review reports to extrapolate a target’s embedded credit quality.

Breakout III: How to Maximize Your Stock as a Currency

Laura Hamilton, Vice President, OTC Markets Group Inc.
Ciaran McMullan, Former President & CEO, Suncrest Bank CA
This session discusses the cost-efficient pathway to going public on OTC Markets where banks can leverage their stock currency for future M&A opportunities. We also discuss strategies for increasing liquidity and ways to enhance your bank’s shareholder value.

Breakout IV: Entering the Equipment Leasing & Finance Industry
Duane Dewey, President & CEO, Trustmark National Bank and Trustmark Corporation
James Reske, EVP, Chief Financial Officer, First Commonwealth Financial Corporation
Chuck Sulerzyski, President & CEO, Peoples Bancorp Inc. and Peoples Bank
Moderated by: Harry Kaplun, Managing Director, Rinaldi Advisory Services
As banks strive to diversify their C&I assets outside CRE, equipment leasing and finance have a proven track record of doing just that. But the additional benefits of improved spread, ROE and ROA are just a few of the most visible benefits. More than a few banks can corroborate. There are several methods of entering this lucrative C&I business line. Each of the three panelists have entered the equipment leasing and finance market in the past few years and each have entered using three different methods. Hear first-hand from top executives of three outstanding banks about their rationale and experiences.

Breakout V: Close Encounters of the Fintech Kind
Dave DeFazio
, Partner, StrategyCorps
See live demonstrations of trending apps like Robinhood, Cash App, SoFi and Affirm to better understand the new features that are increasing competitive pressures on today’s banking products. We share ongoing research which explains the trends – including which mobile features matter most to each generation, from zoomers to boomers. We also examine how fintech companies like Acorns are leveraging the subscription society (think Amazon Prime, Costco, Netflix, Spotify) and pioneering new recurring revenue-generating models for financial products and services.

Breakout VI: Best Practices, Lessons Learned & Characteristics of a Seller That Merit a Premium Price
Christopher Olsen, Managing Partner, Olsen Palmer LLC
This moderated ‘fireside discussion’ with an accomplished banker and M&A participant reveals key findings applicable to sellers and buyers alike. For prospective sellers, learn how to prepare for a sale and which characteristics merit a premium price… and which do not. For would-be buyers, the session explores best practices, the seller’s mindset, areas of value creation, and key risks in an acquisition.

11:55 AM – 1:00 PM
Networking Lunch
Sponsored by: Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.
Lunch is served outside as you enjoy networking time with your colleagues in the Arizona weather!

11:55 AM – 1:00 PM
Women in Banking Luncheon
Katie Lorenson, President & CEO, Alerus Financial, N.A.
Elizabeth Magennis
, President, ConnectOne Bank
Lisa Oliver, Chair, President & CEO, The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod
Moderated by: Michelle King, President, Bank Director and Laura Schield, Chief Operating Officer, Bank Director
Expanding on the Women in Banking Reception held on Saturday, join your peers for a lively moderated discussion with Michelle King, President and Laura Schield, Chief Operating Officer at Bank Director and three bank leaders as we discuss the challenges, opportunities and lessons learned in our industry.

1:00 PM – 1:05 PM
Welcome Back: Tracking Strategies Across America
Emily McCormick
, Vice President of Research, Bank Director
Jackie Wall
, Vice President of Bank Services, Bank Director
Bank Director shares results from our annual research studies as well as cumulative findings from the Board Performance Surveys that our bank members have completed this year.

1:05 PM – 1:25 PM
Keys To A Well Executed Deal
Rick Childs
, Partner, Crowe LLP
Emily McCormick
, Vice President of Research, Bank Director
This session shares insights from our annual M&A research survey, sponsored by Crowe LLP.

1:25 PM – 2:05 PM
William Demchak
, Chair, President & CEO, The PNC Financial Services Group
Jack Milligan, Editor-at-Large, Bank Director

2:20 PM – 3:00 PM
Breakout Sessions
Participants have the opportunity to select from one of seven concurrent breakout sessions to attend – focused on exploring all of your many growth options. Additional session to be announced.

Breakout I: Manage Compensation Costs by Mastering Generational Values
Flynt Gallagher, President, Newcleus Compensation Advisors
In this session, we evaluate the link between the values of each generation and the effectiveness of your compensation plans. Attendees also learn management techniques to improve communication and productivity based on generational preferences.

Breakout II: Digitally Bring Top-Tier Borrowers Back Into Your Communities
Meghan Crawford, President of the Bank Division, BHG Financial
Are you looking for digital loan solutions while managing cash positions, balancing risk tolerance and bolstering earnings? Community banks are uniquely positioned to capitalize on advanced technology platforms that will benefit them today and in the future. BHG Financial shares the secret sauce on how to properly partner with fintech companies that can give you access to data, research, analytics and more.

Breakout III: Go Digital, Win Commercial: How FIs Can Compete in a Changing Commercial Space
Shon Cass, EVP, Founder & Chief Experience Officer, Texas Security Bank
Debbie Smart, Senior Product Marketer, Commercial Solutions, Q2
Digital disruption has pushed consumer expectations into the commercial space. Businesses want digital banking experiences tailored to their needs. They expect flexibility, ease of use and seamless integrations with the products they rely on to run their businesses. And they want these experiences across the board — from transactional banking and account opening to adding new products, lending and integrating with third-party solutions. Join us to learn how financial institutions can win, onboard, serve and grow more profitable commercial relationships in the digital channel.

Breakout IV: Driving Revenue and Retention Through Digital Investing Opportunities
Margaret Hartigan
, CEO & Co-founder, Marstone, Inc.
The largest opportunity in banking today is increasing non-interest income (fee-based revenue) and retaining deposits from new and existing customers flowing to digital investment and banking platforms. This can be accomplished through launching an offering in wealth that doesn’t require becoming an investment advisor. Hear how Wealth Management-as-a-Service can positively pull those levers for your bank via turnkey technology.

Breakout V: Gaining a Competitive Edge in Business Lending with Data-Driven Decisioning
Cal Steinhoff, Vice President, Sales, StreetShares, Inc.
Quantitative tightening, rising interest rates and decreased demand from your small business borrowers can all be alarming during a recession. Still, there are ways to navigate these treacherous waters. During these times, digital channels create opportunities for banks to serve more business customers, expand market share and increase revenue at a lower cost. Banks that embark on this strategy to leverage AI-powered innovations in analytics and data-driven decision-making can gain a decisive competitive advantage. Making data a competitive advantage and leveraging data for data-driven decisioning can create significant value for customers. By providing them with value-added products at the right time, banks are empowered with cross-selling opportunities, thereby increasing profitability for the bank and building a recession-resilient portfolio.

Breakout VI: Leveraging Blockchain Technologies to Innovate and Gain a Competitive Advantage in Commercial Banking
Kevin Greene, Chair & CEO, Tassat Group Inc.
This session provides you with best practices applying blockchain technologies in commercial banking to deepen customer relationships, capture market share, penetrate new markets and build shareholder value. The session also provides you with insights into how the most innovative commercial banks are applying blockchain-based technology to increase revenues and profits by providing their corporate customers with secure, flexible, real-time payments 24/7/365 and highly customized financial services using smart contracts. These banks are both meeting customer demands and responding to competitive threats posed by innovative fintechs and money center banks.

3:00 PM – 3:20 PM
Refreshment Break
Sponsored by: CFM

3:20 PM – 4:00 PM
Breakout Sessions
Conversations continue with a second round of afternoon breakout sessions — participants select one of seven concurrent opportunities to learn and engage with industry leaders. Additional sessions to be announced.

Breakout I: New Markets Tax Credit Investment: A Unique Value Proposition
James Howard
, Jr., President, Dudley Ventures
Rick Kraemer
, EVP, Chief Financial Services Officer, Valley Bank
Learn how some of the largest financial institutions utilize New Markets Tax Credit investments to reduce federal tax and enhance earnings, while at the same time supporting CRA and ESG initiatives. A relatively small tax credit program of the US Treasury generates great returns for banks in corporate earnings and finances quality job creation, workforce development, mixed-use housing and rural community education and healthcare services in low-income communities.

Breakout II: After the Deal: Measuring, Managing and Monitoring Risk Post M&A
Brendon Falconer, Chief Financial Officer, Old National Bank
Hugh Shannon
, Head of Sales & Customer Success, OakNorth
When it comes to M&A, combining commercial loan books is no small feat and could be loaded with blind spots of hidden risks, growth opportunities and more. In this session, we examine how banks can identify potential credit issues in their acquired bank’s portfolio earlier, what they can do about it and how they can start focusing on growth and opportunity sooner after an acquisition or merger.

Breakout III:  Up, Up, and… Balance Sheet Management in a World of Great Uncertainty
Joe Kennerson, Managing Director, Darling Consulting Group
Matt Pieniazek, President & CEO, Darling Consulting Group
By January 2023, Fed funds will likely be at their highest in 15 years, and there’s no telling where Treasury rates will be. Funding and related costs will be under pressure, and economic uncertainty will weigh heavily on lending, investment and hedging strategy discussions. Join this session for a thought-provoking conversation on managing your entire balance sheet amid great uncertainty.

Breakout IV: Driving Profitability Through Digitization
Sarah Murray, Deposit Product Manager and Counsel, Compliance Systems LLC
Erin Simpson, EVP, Chief Operations Officer, Encore Bank
A winning digital strategy is an end-to-end strategy that supports an automated business and customer engagement ecosystem. The decisions you make now will impact your business from the top down and from the inside out — from capturing holistic relationships online to eliminating outdated operational functions. Is your mobile investment setting you up for success or inefficiency, churn and abandonment? Join this session to gain strategic insights on how to assemble digital assets that deliver more profitable business with less friction.

Breakout V: Drive a Modern Client Experience with Currently Unused Data
Warren Dunton, Director of Channel Sales, Envestnet
Chip Scully
, Head of Banking Sales, Envestnet
You’ve done everything right. Your clients love you. Your clients also love and trust non-banks to store, grow and manage their money. Where do you even begin to fend off this disintermediation? In this session, we explore how to use your unused data for analytics that can allow you to create a modern client experience through highly targeted services.

Breakout VI: Unconventional Strategies for Dramatic Organic Growth
James Capolongo, EVP, Head of Deposits & Payments, Live Oak Bank
Burt Hicks, President & Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, Encore Bank
Jay Tuli, President, Leader Bank
Moderated by: Nathan Baumeister, CEO & Co-founder, ZSuite Technologies, Inc.
When community banks open their eyes to unconventional industry verticals, partnerships and technology, organic growth can explode on both sides of the balance sheet. Learn how three innovative banks embraced multiple new models of business for exceptional financial performance.

4:10 PM – 4:50 PM
Turning Risk Into Opportunity
Craig Sanders
, Partner, Moss Adams LLP
Kevin Schalk, Partner, Baker Tilly US, LLP
Shane Tintle, Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Moderated by: Naomi Snyder, Editor-in-Chief, Bank Director
This session focuses on the riskier areas in banking and areas ripe for transition — blockchain and digital assets, climate change, cannabis — where a select few banks are blazing a trail.

4:50 PM – 5:20 PM
Growth Strategies – What Should You Consider?
Wendy Cai-Lee, Founder & CEO, Piermont Bank
Jeffery Kendall, Chair & CEO, Nymbus
Krista Snelling, President & CEO, Santa Cruz County Bank
Moderated by: Michelle King, President, Bank Director & FinXTech
Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, famously authored, “Only the Paranoid Survive.” That title begs the question: can you not just survive, but also thrive, if you’re constantly on the lookout for challengers and threats? We attempt to answer this question by inviting panelists from across the country to share their insights on how change fuels their business success.

5:20 PM – 6:20 PM
Networking Peer & Guest Reception
Sponsored by:  Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company

Day Three | Tuesday, January 31

On the final day of AOBA, we dive into the different approaches to banking, customer engagement and digital strategies. Attendees gain the insight needed to learn how to cut through the noise of today’s industry and come away with actionable steps to accelerate growth for the next decade.

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM

8:00 AM – 8:10 AM
Don’t Be Blinded By These Buzzwords
Jack Milligan
, Editor-at-Large, Bank Director

8:10 AM – 8:40 AM
Where Banks Are Losing Ground
Jorge Esteban, VP, Southeast Region, Community Financial Institutions, Visa USA Inc.
Derik Sutton
, Chief Marketing Officer, Autobooks
Moderated by: Michelle King, President, Bank Director & FinXTech
This session focuses on where banks have ceded space — small business (Square, etc), payments — and what they’d need to do to gain share back.

8:40 AM – 9:10 AM
Critical Factors for a Successful Merger
Joshua Carter, Partner, PwC
Daniel Goerlich, Partner, PwC

9:10 AM – 9:40 AM
How Digital Growth Drives Massive Change
Mike Butler, President & CEO, Grasshopper Bank
Nikhil Lakhanpal
, Co-Founder, Narmi Inc.
Too often financial institutions struggle with committing to digital transformation because it feels complex and the return on investment feels ambiguous. Join two bank leaders as they unpack how they implemented change across their entire organization and the transformative impact this has had on their institutions. Learn how to cut through the noise and come away with actionable steps to accelerate growth for the next decade.

9:40 AM – 10:00 AM
Refreshment Break

10:00 AM – 10:40 AM
Breakout Sessions
Conversations conclude with a final round of breakout sessions – participants select one of six concurrent opportunities to learn. Sessions to be announced.

Breakout I: ESG Roadmap and Opportunities for Community Banks
Kristi Eberhardt, Managing Director & Head of Sustainable Finance, The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
Aaron Juda, Chief Financial Officer, Forbright, Inc.
Evan Matzen
, Director, Sustainable Finance, The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
Nitin Mhatre, President & CEO, Berkshire Hills Bancorp
With the growing focus around ESG from investors, clients, regulators, communities and employees, having an ESG policy and raising the awareness about current ESG activities is becoming more critical to a bank’s success. We discuss the key aspects of developing an ESG road map while highlighting opportunities and recommendations to navigate the ESG landscape and benefit your business and your bottom line. Joining PNC on this panel are executives from Berkshire Hills Bancorp and Forbright, Inc., two ESG-centric banks, to share their insights and perspectives.

Breakout II: Community Bank Debt Issuance: The Credit Markets’ Updated View
Van Hesser, Senior Managing Director, Chief Strategist, KBRA
Kroll Bond Rating Agency research has helped open the investment grade debt markets to community bank issuance. As we head into more challenging economic times, this session examines the issuing landscape and how credit markets are viewing community bank risk.

Breakout IV: ​​Buy Now Pay Later & POS Lending Solution Growth Strategies
Devon Barrack, Director, Small Business Group Manager, Union Bank
Mia Huntington, EVP, POS Lending/Buy Now Pay Later, U.S. Bank
Rob Seidman, SVP, Head of Product, Buy Now Pay Later & POS Lending, U.S. Bank
Moderated by: Megan Miller, VP, Head of New FI Partnerships, Elavon, Inc.
The rising adoption of the Buy Now Pay Later business model has many questioning its long-term benefits; but the positive impacts for your business clients and what that means to your overall growth strategies are worth discussing. Consumers like the choice of payment terms with easy and instant access to credit when they need it, at the time of purchase. Merchants see an increase in customers completing orders by as much as 20-30% and benefit from a 30-40% increase in the average order value. Hear from a panel of market leaders as they discuss the questions that many financial institutions are having around the board room when considering the regulations and risks associated with BNPL and POS Lending.

Breakout IV: Speed, Scale and Technology
Diego Represas, Founder, Able
How can banks grow revenue without ramping expenses? Technology. Hear how banks are adopting technologies like artificial intelligence to streamline workflows, remove scale blockers, and accelerate revenue growth.

Breakout V: Update on Fintech Valuation Multiples – Where Do We Go From Here?
Paul Friday, Managing Director, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company
This session provides an update on fintech valuation multiples for the past 12-24 months. We examine and summarize public company multiples, the largest M&A and private financing transactions. Did you know that payments companies comprise 50% of the market capitalization of all fintech companies? We also review the bank tech, lending, crypto and other fintech sectors as well.

10:50 AM – 11:20 AM
Reimagine What’s Possible
Ken LaRoe
, Founder & CEO, Climate First Bank
Corey LeBlanc
, Co-Founder, COO/CTO, Locality Bank
Lauren Sparks, Founder & CEO, Agility Bank
Moderated by: Emily McCormick, Vice President of Research, Bank Director
As your bank considers the possibilities for future growth, we close this year’s 29th annual conference by speaking with three bank leaders who have taken a different approach to banking, customer engagement and digital strategy.

11:20 AM – 11:25 AM
Parting Thoughts
Michelle King, President, Bank Director & FinXTech
Laura Schield
, Chief Operating Officer, Bank Director & FinXTech

1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
L. William Seidman Annual Acquire or Be Acquired Golf Tournament
Sponsored by: Alloy and FHLBank Atlanta
Enjoy the afternoon playing golf with your peers. While the tournament is FREE to registered conference attendees, space is limited. Reserve your spot today!

5:45 PM – 7:00 PM
Closing Peer & Guest Reception
Sponsored by: Alloy and FHLBank Atlanta
Attendees and their guests join in the fun to see who is this year’s winner of the L. William Seidman Golf Tournament!

For questions about the program, please contact Bank Director’s conference department at or 877-397-7595.