JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge
January 28 – 30, 2024

Saturday January 27


5:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Celebrating Women in Leadership Reception
Sponsored by: Piper Sandler & Co.
With so many top executives and board members traveling to this conference on Saturday, this reception provides female executives an opportunity 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
Sponsored by: Bank Director
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 and others 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. Kick off the conference by catching up with old friends and making new connections.

Day One | Sunday January 28


7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
Registration & Breakfast
Sponsored by: Endurance Advisory Partners

8:00 AM – 8:10 AM
Welcome to the 30th Annual AOBA!
Michelle King, President, Bank Director
Laura Schield, Chief Operating Officer, Bank Director
Bank Director welcomes business leaders across the United States to this very special event – our 30th annual Acquire or Be Acquired Conference!

8:10 AM – 8:55 AM
What Happened and What’s Next – The 2024 State of Banking
Thomas Michaud
, President & CEO, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company
The conference opens with an overview of where the industry is today, where it is headed and what that means for you and your bank.

8:55 AM – 9:35 AM
A Look Back Over the Last 30 Years in Banking
Al Dominick
, Partner, Cornerstone Advisors
David Sandler, Co-Head & Managing Director, Investment Banking Financial Services Group, Piper Sandler & Co.
Mandi Simpson, Partner, Crowe LLP
Moderated by: Jack Milligan, Editor-at-Large, Bank Director
As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Acquire or Be Acquired, this panel recalls the many changes in banking over the past three decades – and notes the biggest themes that have shaped where we are today.

9:35 AM – 9:55 AM
Refreshment Break
Sponsored by: Encapture

9:55 AM – 10:35 AM
Breakout Sessions
Participants have the opportunity to select one of seven breakout sessions to attend. These sessions are strategic and build on this morning’s general session presentations. Sessions to be announced.

Breakout 1: What the Board Needs to Know in 2024
Robert Fleetwood, Partner, Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP
Al Laufenburg, 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 into what CEOs and directors need to know in 2024 and beyond.

Breakout 2: Bank M&A Update: Why Capital/Balance Sheet Management Will Be a Key Component of Dealmaking in 2024
Michael Barry, Senior Managing Director, Head of Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Regions, Hovde Group, LLC
Will Curtiss, Director, Hovde Group, LLC
This session briefly reviews the bank operating environment and bank M&A activity in 2023, the key factors which slowed activity during the year, and expectations for bank M&A in 2024, with capital (both organic and externally raised) and balance sheet management being key components to any successful bank M&A strategy.

Breakout 3: Accounting & Auditing Issues: What Banks Should Know
Lyle Alexander, Partner, FORVIS
Ashley Ensley, Partner, FORVIS
This session shares updates on top accounting and auditing matters specific to the banking industry.

Breakout 4: 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 of success. This session discusses various considerations the boards of both sellers and buyers should make in order to play the negotiating game in the most effective manner.

Breakout 5: The Rocky Road Ahead: Creating Value in Economic and Regulatory Uncertainties
Jill Castilla, President & CEO, Citizens Bank of Edmond
Dave Koch
, Managing Director, Advisory Services, Abrigo, Inc.
Roy Young, SVP and Head of Mid Cap & Community Banking, U.S. Bank
Moderated by: Rob Blackwell, Chief Content Officer & Head of External Affairs, IntraFi
IntraFi’s Rob Blackwell, moderates a panel of top bank executives and a bank advisor as they discuss the economic challenges on the ground and what changes policymakers are contemplating. How should banks be thinking about interest rates and deposit competition right now? What issues are bankers and policymakers most worried about? How do the market conditions influence value creation?

Breakout 6: Using Data to Drive Earnings Boost
Aaron Donaldson, Principal, Technology & Management Consulting, RSM US LLP
Brandon Koeser, Director, Risk Consulting, RSM US LLP
Strong, sustainable earnings are key to an effective growth strategy for banks in the current economic environment. Access to the right data allows banks to target the right customers to increase wallet share and meaningfully boost their earnings. Managing data effectively using metrics and dashboard reporting is critical to a successful growth strategy. For many institutions, information can be hard to find or is often insufficient for developing an effective strategy. This session provides an overview of solutions that allow you to effectively capture and monitor data in real-time through the integration of information from multiple sources.

Breakout 7: Get to Know the Next Generation of Digital Consumers
Anne Doligale, Vice President, Visa USA Inc.
Engaging with digital consumers is essential to stay current in today’s market. But who are they? What do they want? And how are their actions accelerating payments innovations? Take a deep dive into Visa’s research of the attitudes, behaviors and expectations of next-generation consumers.

10:50 AM – 11:30 AM
Don’t Take Your Eyes Off of the Balance Sheet
Eric Corrigan, Senior Managing Director, Commerce Street Capital, LLC
John Roddy, Head of Financial Services Investment Banking, Raymond James Financial, Inc.
Matt Veneri, Head of Investment Banking and Managing Director, Financial Institutions Group, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC
Moderated by: Jim McAlpin, Board Member, Bank Director
There is a clear link between balance sheets, earnings and ultimately, valuation. Hear how your bank’s financial statements are affected by various factors – and how you can impact them positively.

11:30 AM – 12:10 PM
New Frontiers to Consider
Robert Azarow, Partner, Arnold & Porter
David Carlson, Head of Sales, MANTL
Peter Glyman, Managing Director, Corporate Strategy, Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.
Moderated by: Michelle King, President, Bank Director
Per Bank Director’s 2023 Risk Survey, three-quarters of respondents say their board or leadership team has discussed risks or opportunities related to cryptocurrency or digital assets in the past 18 months. 64% percent say the same of banking as a service (BaaS), and 69% say that of environmental, social and governance issues. Cannabis, on the minds of 58% of respondents, has been more commonly discussed at banks under $5 billion in assets. This session focuses on the most cutting-edge topics out there. Yesterday was ChatGPT; what will January 2024 bring?


10:50 AM – 11:25 AM
FinXTech Session: Navigating the Changing Technology Landscape
Joe Ehrhardt, CEO & Founder, Teslar Software
Clayton Mitchell
, Managing Principal, Crowe LLP
Justin Steffan, Partner, Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP
Moderated by: Kiah Haslett, Banking & Fintech Editor, Bank Director
How do you navigate the constant changes in technology? What are the must-haves and nice-to-haves as you build your bank’s digital strategy? Learn what you need to know so your bank can remain competitive and grow in today’s current environment.

11:35 AM – 12:10 PM
FinXTech Session: How to Best Partner and Manage Your Tech Stack
Erin Fonté, Partner, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Jeff Nowicki, Vice President of Banking, Treasury Prime
Patrick Sells, CEO & Co-founder, True Digital
Moderated by: Lexie Grindstaff, Vice President of Business Development, Bank Director
During this session, industry leaders dive into how banks can find the right technology partner and how to structure the relationship best so it is a win for both sides. Hear what works, what doesn’t and best practices for vetting a potential partner.

12:10 PM – 1:20 PM
Networking Peer & Guest Lunch
Sponsored by: Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.

12:25 PM – 1:05 PM
Lunch & Learn Sessions
Lunch & Learn sessions offer participants the chance to learn about a shared topic of interest over lunch.  Six sessions run concurrently, so attendees may select one to attend. Sessions to be announced.

Lunch & Learn Session 1: Who is Using Your Liquidity and Capital & Are You Getting Paid for It?
Scott Earwood, Director of Community Solutions, White Clay
Mac Thompson
, President & Founder, White Clay
Liquidity and capital are becoming scarce resources in this evolving economy. Understanding relationship profitability for each client provides insight into how those clients use liquidity and capital and contribute to shareholder value. The session also includes examples and related action plans.

Lunch & Learn Session 2:  Leveraging Data to Tell Your Financial Story
Ken Levey, Managing Director, Empyrean Solutions, LLC
Bryan Ridgway, Director, Performance Management, Empyrean Solutions, LLC
The economic environment is demanding more from bank finance teams. They must become experts in several crucial, strategic areas for the bank, including accounting, performance and profitability measurement, risk management, reporting and analytics. This session is designed to help banks evolve their finance area into a key strategic partner and the chief storyteller for the organization, empowering them to respond to emerging concerns as the bank charts its path forward.

Lunch & Learn Session 3:  Top 10 Ways to Impact Profitability During Economic Uncertainty
Mike Holt, Partner, Profit Resources Inc.
High-performing banks throughout the United States continue to improve profitability—despite the unpredictable economy and regulatory burden.  Profitable banks are closely monitor items that can increase non-interest income such as interchange and fee income.  On the expense side, bankers are focusing on things such as system contracts and capacity planning.  This session provides benchmarks and specific details for immediately implementing the top 10 ways to impact income and expenses.  No matter your institution’s profit performance, this session gives you tools for improving and/or sustaining high-performing profitability.

Lunch & Learn Session 4: Sharing in the Dream: How to Structure Executive Compensation to Facilitate 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). This session covers issues to consider before a change-in-control transaction is imminent, a shareholder’s perspective, how certain arrangements can provide the executive individual negotiation power with the buyer, the attractiveness to the buyer of certain pay structures and designing plans that maximize the amounts paid to executives.

Lunch & Learn Session 5: Aligning Bank Board and Executive Leadership in Challenging Market Times
Dr. Julie Bell, Leadership Advisory, Chartwell Partners
Scott Petty, Partner, Chartwell Partners
With director and CEO retirement at an all-time high, is your bank proactively seeking leaders and board members with the capabilities aligned to your bank’s strategic plan? This session discusses 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 6: Fight the Fed: Hedging to Protect the Balance Sheet
Terry Earley, CFO, Veritex Community Bank
Isaac Wheeler, Head of Balance Sheet Strategy, Derivative Path, Inc.
Moderated by: Chris Slusher, Head of Bank Solutions, Derivative Path, Inc.
Interest rate volatility has challenged even the most robust depositories over the last several years. This session discusses relevant hedging strategies that help shield the balance sheet from the effects of monetary policy and changing rates.

1:20 PM – 2:00 PM
Getting the Highest Value Possible
Curtis Carpenter, Senior Managing Director, Hovde Group, LLC
This session explores the primary drivers of value entering 2024 and looks to where banking, specifically community banking, is heading.


1:20 PM – 1:55 PM
FinXTech Session: Ensuring the Financial Health & Managing the Risks of Your Fintech Partnership

Daniel Haisley, EVP of Innovation, Apiture

Brad Rustin, Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Jack Thompson, Head of Financial Services Sales, Americas, SAS Institute, Inc.
Moderated by:
 Lexie Grindstaff, Vice President of Business Development, Bank Director
Before partnering with a fintech, you want to know they are going to be around for the long haul. You want to ensure they are financially healthy and mitigate potential vendor risks. Find out the must-ask-questions to ensure a long-lasting partnership.

2:15 PM – 2:55 PM
Breakout Sessions
Participants can select one of seven concurrent breakout sessions to attend – focused on exploring all of your bank’s many growth options. Sessions to be announced.

Breakout 1: Compensation and Its Effect on M&A
Laura Hay, Partner, Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC
Dan Kaufman, Partner, Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC
The M&A environment creates new compensation challenges as deals take longer, and the number of mergers of equals rises. This session includes topics such as retaining key talent pre-close, setting compensation when merged CEOs continue working for the combined entity, what to do when a deal falls through and combining disparate board compensation structures.

Breakout 2: How to Achieve 77% YOY Growth: An Omnichannel Account Opening Playbook
Rudy Beeching, EVP, Managing Director of Retail & Business Banking, Veritex Community Bank
Nathaniel Harley, CEO & Co-founder, MANTL
Looking to optimize commercial and retail deposit growth and improve operational efficiency across all banking channels in 2024? Join MANTL and Veritex Community Bank to discuss their playbooks for omnichannel deposit origination. Learn how digitizing their deposit origination across branches, online and call centers simultaneously drove better business outcomes, including supercharged commercial and retail growth.

Breakout 3: The Return of M&A: Have the Rules of the Game Changed?
Tom Hayes, Managing Director, D.A. Davidson & Co.
Chuck Stubbs, Managing Director, D.A. Davidson & Co.
There are several macro-factors that have adversely impacted bank M&A activity in 2022 and 2023, and the sector is due for a rebound. This session delves into why M&A activity has been muted, why a significant increase is expected and how buyers and sellers can position themselves for success.

Breakout 4: First AOCI, then Margin Compression and a Liquidity Crunch. Now, Opportunity? YES!
Gary Svec, Managing Director, Investment Banking, Performance Trust Capital Partners, LLC
This session identifies the dramatic changes that have affected the industry over the past year, looks ahead to what may be coming, identifies huge opportunities now available to mitigate future interest rate risk and takes advantage of incredible options to greatly enhance shareholder value.

Breakout 5: Lessons Learned From a Cross-Border Acquisition of a Specialty Finance Lender That Became an Operating Subsidiary of a National Bank
Al Doering, Chief M&A Officer, Stearns Bank N.A.
Mike Lochmann, Partner, Stinson LLP
Heather Plumski, Chief Financial & Strategy Officer, Stearns Bank N.A.
Selena Samale, Of Counsel, Stinson LLP
Stearns Bank, N.A, purchased a 70% controlling interest in a Delaware corporation engaged in specialty finance lending from a Canadian corporation. It became an operating subsidiary of the bank with increased net interest margins on its U.S. loan portfolio. The panel discusses this cross-border non-bank acquisition’s unusual business, regulatory and tax aspects.

Breakout 6: Leveraging Innovation: Community Banks’ Roadmap to Small Business Dominance
Cary Cooper, CEO, Lenders Cooperative
Ryan Hildebrand, Chief Innovation Officer, Bankwell Financial Group
Carlos Naudon, President & CEO, Ponce Bank
Ben Wallace, CEO, Summit Technology Group
Hear from a banker on how they navigated and transformed their small business lending with innovative strategies and technology. Explore fintech collaborations, enhanced data models, streamlined processes and personalized customer experiences that elevate community banks as leaders in small business lending. Discover how innovation can redefine relationships, increase market share and unlock the potential of local economies.

Breakout 7: AI in Banking
Daragh Morrissey, Director Artificial Intelligence, Financial Services, Microsoft
This session covers top use cases, security and responsibility for using AI.

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Crowe Tabletop Exercise
Jill Czerwinski, Managing Principal, Integrated Risk Management, Crowe LLP
Tracy Hall, Senior Manager, Business Continuity Management, Crowe LLP
Stephanie White, Senior Manager, Integrated Risk Management, Crowe LLP
Tabletop Simulations are an effective way to practice crisis response planning and operational recovery capabilities by allowing team members to “experience” a tailored scenario – and the challenges resulting from this scenario – in a relaxed, non-threatening atmosphere. The simulation fosters collaborative conversation, develops critical decision making and surfaces areas for improvement by equipping the response team members to better safeguard the organization while mitigating the financial, reputational, legal and operational impacts resulting from an incident of any kind.

Please join us for a fictional simulated exercise that will prove to be impactful and insightful to gauging your organization’s readiness!  The Tabletop Simulation is exclusive to 35 bank attendees only, allows for one banker per institution, no capital markets titles (this session is NOT for investment bankers of any kind) and runs concurrently with the breakout sessions during this time period.

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. Sessions to be announced.

Breakout 1: Creative Solutions for 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 concerning M&A, emphasizing changing regulatory standards for approval of transactions, hot-button issues and potential regulatory threats to the successful and timely completion of a transaction. It also discusses the proliferation of more unique or creative solutions employed in the recent M&A context (including by credit unions and investor groups) and the attendant regulatory and diligence issues they raise. The session provides examples of recent unique and non-traditional transactions and features as well as 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, this session explores ways to optimize the diligence process, including balancing 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 2: Building and Scaling a Best-In-Class Cannabis Banking Program
Shannon Cox, Chief Operations Officer, Southwest Capital Bank
Stacy Litke, VP, Banking Programs, Green Check Verified
More banks than ever are serving the legal cannabis industry, garnering low-cost deposits, additional fee income and a host of other benefits. But what goes into running and scaling a successful program? In this session, hear directly from one of the leaders in cannabis banking, Southwest Capital Bank, and take away practical insights on how to work safely and effectively with cannabis-related businesses.

Breakout 3: Growing Small Business Deposits and Income
Derik Sutton, Chief Marketing Officer, Autobooks
Today, small business owners, independent workers and non-profits are turning to third-party providers for a variety of financial needs – fragmenting their relationship with the bank. Attend this session to learn about the challenge of competing against third-party providers and about small business customer research that illuminates the opportunity. This session also considers how your bank can easily enable market-ready digital payment acceptance tools directly from your existing online and mobile banking channels within weeks of the conference.

Breakout 4: Accelerating Bank Modernization: Strategies to Launch Cost-savvy, Digital Offerings in Months, Not Years
Musi Qureshi, Partner, PwC
Mike Shipham, Director, PwC
Discover how to launch cost-savvy digital offerings in a matter of months, not years, with intentional design strategies, industry-leading blueprints, technology accelerators and cutting-edge generative AI (Gen-AI) solutions.

Breakout 5:  History Doesn’t Repeat But it Often Rhymes – Top Takeaways from 2023 and the 2024 Outlook for Community and Regional Banking
Jill Cetina, Associate Managing Director, Financial Institutional Group, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc.
Megan Fox, Vice President, Senior Analyst, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc.
Moody’s Investors Service provides their outlook on the community and regional banking sector, including the impact of interest rates, regulation and macroeconomic risks.  We also summarize top takeaways from 2023 and the 2024 outlook.

Breakout 6: Delivering a Personalized Digital Banking Experience to Maximize Lifetime Customer Value
Daniel Haisley, EVP of Innovation, Apiture
83% of today’s financial consumers are willing to consent to share financial data if it leads to a better customer experience, according to an Accenture report. In light of this statistic, financial institutions are increasingly using relevant data to surface users’ needs, then taking action to deliver the right solutions at the right time. In this session, find out how employing a data strategy can help your bank personalize customer journeys and facilitate better user engagement.

Breakout 7:  From Local Roots to National Reach:  How an Award-Winning Bank Expanded in 72 Days
Jill Castilla, President & CEO, Citizens Bank of Edmond
Nikhil Lakhanpal, Co-founder, Narmi Inc.
Join us for a deep dive into the transformative journey of Citizens Bank of Edmond, an Oklahoma-based, single-branch bank that shattered traditional banking norms by going national in just 72 days. Learn how agility, the power of digital account opening technology and a strong brand identity facilitated this leap. As technology takes the forefront, explore the strategies employed by the bank to ensure the human touch and customer experience remains integral.

4:10 PM – 4:50 PM
Where We Are Today: Exploring Your Growth Options
Gary Bronstein
, Partner, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Kevin Schalk, Partner, Banking and Capital Markets Sector Leader, Baker Tilly US, LLP
Frank Sorrentino, Managing Director, Financial Institutions Group, Stephens Inc.
Moderated by: Emily McCormick, Vice President of Editorial & Research, Bank Director
This panel session explores growth opportunities with a forward view on the current trends and opportunities available to institutions today. As performance expectations continue to shift, look at what banks should think about today with an eye on the future.


4:10 PM – 4:45 PM
FinXTech Session: Winning the War on Deposits
Stephen Bohanon, Co-founder, Chief Strategy & Product Officer, Alkami Technology, Inc.
Parker Graham
, Founder & CEO, Finotta
Mac Thompson, President & Founder, White Clay
Moderated by: Kiah Hashlett, Banking & Fintech Editor, Bank Director
The battle for deposits continues, so how can your bank win the war? This session considers embedded finance strategies, looks at the pros and cons of niche banking and offers several account opening solutions that provide a customer experience that will not only retain your existing client base but also attract new business to your institution.

4:50 PM – 6:30 PM
Networking Peer & Guest Reception
Sponsored by: MJC Partners LLC, R&T Deposit Solutions and SAS Institute, Inc.

Day Two | Monday January 29


7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
Sponsored by: Q2

8:00 AM – 8:10 AM
Day Two Welcome: Editorial Highlights
Emily McCormick, Vice President of Editorial & Research, Bank Director
Naomi Snyder, Editor-in-Chief, Bank Director
Hear from Bank Director’s editorial team as they share the most significant developments and stories they have been writing about.

8:10 AM – 8:50 AM
The Best of RankingBanking
James Beckwith, President & CEO, Five Star Bank
Corey Chambas
, CEO, First Business Financial Services, Inc.
Charles Hageboeck
, President & CEO, City National Bank and City Holding Company
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.

8:50 AM – 9:10 AM
Getting the Deal Done: Lessons Learned From a Veteran Acquirer
Jack Milligan, Editor-at-Large, Bank Director
Clint Stein
, President & CEO, Columbia Banking System and CEO, Umpqua Bank
Hear from the CEO of Columbia Banking System and Umpqua Bank, Clint Stein, as he discusses lessons learned from his latest merger of Umpqua and Columbia and what opportunities he sees for banks today.

9:10 AM – 9:50 AM
Lessons From the Latest Acquisitions
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
Hear what worked and what didn’t from experts and bankers featured in this panel session.

9:50 AM – 10:10 AM
Competitive Threats & Opportunities
David Foss, Board Chair & CEO, Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.
Emily McCormick, Vice President of Editorial & Research, Bank Director
Drawing from Bank Director’s 2023 Technology Survey, sponsored by Jack Henry, this session explores competitive threats and opportunities for banks. How can banks align in-person and digital service to attract and retain customers? How do they serve younger generations like Gen Z? What role do payments and artificial intelligence play in the future of banking? And how can banks address challenges around getting the right technology in place?


8:10 AM – 8:45 AM
FinXTech Session: Lending Across the Bank
Steve Allocca, Managing Director, U.S. & President, Funding Circle
Jonathan Katz, Head of Partnerships, Amount, Inc.
Dan O’Malley, CEO & Co-founder, Numerated
Moderated by: Kiah Haslett, Banking & Fintech Editor, Bank Director
How is your bank competing with digital, nonbank lenders? This session focuses on the many areas of lending – consumer, small business, commercial – and new lending strategies your bank should consider.


8:55 AM – 9:30 AM
FinXTech Session: Optimizing Data and Using It For Success
Meghan Crawford-Hamlin, President, Bank Division, BHG Financial
Joshua Jordan, Director of Digital Engagement, Digital Experience, Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.
Anthony Morris, Chief Industry Innovation Officer, nCino
Moderated by: Lexie Grindstaff, Vice President of Business Development, Bank Director
Banks have a wealth of data, but is your bank using it and using it well? Find out how your peers are using data to expand existing customer relationships and market share through data aggregation.


9:40 AM – 10:15 AM
FinXTech Session: Innovation in Payments
Silvana Hernandez, Executive Vice President, Product and Engineering North America, Mastercard Inc.
Derik Sutton
, Chief Marketing Officer, Autobooks
Heidi Wicker, Partner, Stinson LLP
Moderated by: Michelle King, President, Bank Director
Today’s digital payments landscape is about providing choice and flexibility. Yet, with so many payment solutions and services to choose from, it can be challenging to determine where to prioritize and invest. This session dives into today’s top digital payments trends – from open banking to the evolution of digital wallets – to get ahead of what’s next as the pace of innovation continues to rapidly evolve.

10:10 AM – 10:30 AM
Refreshment Break
Sponsored by: Freedom Capital Markets

10:25 AM – 11:55 AM
M&A Simulation
Peter Buck, Managing Director, Piper Sandler & Co.
Grant Butler, Partner, K&L Gates LLP
John Freechack, Managing Director, Piper Sandler & Co.
Matthew Murray, Director, Piper Sandler & Co.
Adam Smith, Partner, K&L Gates LLP
Robert Tammero, Partner, K&L Gates LLP
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 company’s value. For sellers, a competitive bid process must be skillfully navigated 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, no capital markets titles (this session is NOT for investment bankers of any kind) and runs concurrently with the below breakout sessions.

10:30 AM – 11:10 AM
Breakout Sessions
Participants have the opportunity to select one of seven breakout sessions to attend.

Breakout 1: The Pit Stop Approach: Optimizing Efficiency in a Slow Loan Growth
Joe Ehrhardt, CEO & Founder, Teslar Software
In today’s economic climate, loan growth may be slow, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to improve your processes and put your bank ahead of the curve. This session discusses strategies to maximize growth in this environment and the advantages of optimizing your lending processes to prepare your bank for optimal efficiency when loan growth spins back up.

Breakout 2: Taking Loss on the Installment Method – Impact on Value
Jeff Davis, Managing Director, Mercer Capital
Andrew Gibbs, Senior Vice President, Mercer Capital
Banks are saddled with hundreds of billions of low-coupon bonds that are worth far less than the current market price. As much as one might like to do so, there is no escaping the bloodless verdict of the market in which losses will be realized immediately, if the bonds are sold, or slowly, if the bonds are held to maturity. This session reviews the impact taking a loss today vs. holding the bonds to maturity can have on the value of a bank’s equity and also reviews an intermediate strategy referred to as the installment method.

Breakout 3: Leadership Talent Assessment: A Key to Unlocking Shareholder Value in Mergers
Michelle Hickox, EVP & Chief Financial Officer, First Financial Bankshares, Inc.
Elise Walton
, Principal, Pearl Meyer
Experience shows that “strength of leadership” is an important factor in influencing the financial success of mergers. Whether acquiring or being acquired, the skills, knowledge and effectiveness of the leadership team are key to unlocking shareholder value and realizing merger synergies. This session shares best practices for assessing leadership in the context of a merger.

Breakout 4: Hedging Your Balance Sheet for the Unknown and Unexpected
Todd Cuppia, Managing Director Balance Sheet Risk Management, Chatham Financial
Jack Plants, CFO & Treasurer, Five Star Bank
Moderated by: Ben Lewis, Managing Director and Global Head of Sales, Chatham Financial
2023 highlighted the importance of preparing your business for what you don’t think will happen. Attend this session to learn from a practitioner and two market experts how hedging strategies prepare banks for unexpected outcomes in rising and falling rate environments and how to get your institution set up for hedging to be ready to execute strategies when the time is right.

Breakout 5: Creating a Digital-first, Yet Relationship-based, Strategy For Your Institution
Soren Bested, Chief Operating Officer, Agent IQ
Brianna Elsass, Head of U.S. Digital Channels, BMO Financial Group
Forward-thinking institutions who may have traditionally been conservative in adopting new technologies realize that digital needs to be a critical part of their growth (and survival) strategy. Yet, how do you balance that with the personal connection and relationships that you can get with your customers in the branch? A better digital experience that still provides personal connection is what customers are demanding from you – or going elsewhere to find it. This discussion centers on a digital-first strategy that is focused on building a digitally-enabled, future-ready bank that drives progress for their customers, unlocks the power of their people and delivers loyalty, growth and efficiency.

Breakout 6: Data Is Non-negotiable: A Tale of Two Banking Trailblazers
Jill Castilla, President & CEO, Citizens Bank of Edmond
Kim Snyder, Founder & CEO, KlariVis
In today’s ever-evolving financial landscape, data is no longer just a tool; it’s a non-negotiable asset reshaping the future of community banking. Join Kim Snyder (former bank CFO and CEO and founder of KlariVis) and Jill Castilla (President and CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond and Founder of ROGER, a new digital bank specifically designed to serve new military recruits) for a captivating session that delves deep into the dynamic world of community banking, focusing on the pivotal role of data. Get ready to be inspired as they share their unique insights, recount the challenges they’ve faced and celebrate their triumphs in harnessing the power of data. Their journey will leave you with invaluable lessons on the paramount importance of embracing innovation, collaboration and the transformative potential of data in an industry in constant evolution. This session promises to illuminate the path forward for community banking in the data-driven era.

Breakout 7: A Multi-Pronged Strategy for Cannabis Banking
William Hufnagel, President & CEO, Dart Bank
Tony Repanich, President & CEO, Shield Compliance, LLC
The emerging cannabis industry is helping banks find new sources of deposits and revenue. For most banks serving the legalized cannabis industry, it starts with deposit and cash management services in their local markets. For some, it leads to lending. Learn how Dart Bank is leveraging its experience and expertise in high-risk banking to execute a multi-state footprint, payment sponsorship and BaaS strategy.

11:25 AM – 12:05 PM
Breakout Sessions
Conversations continue with a second round of morning breakout sessions — participants select one of seven concurrent opportunities to engage with industry leaders. Sessions to be announced.

Breakout 1:  The Smart(er) Bank: Fast, Differentiated & Trusted
John Eggemeyer
, Chair of the Board, Banc of California
Collyn Gilbert, EVP, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer, Valley National Bank
Moderated by: Quintin Sykes, Partner, Cornerstone Advisors
Smart banks do a lot well. Smarter banks do even more in pursuit of hyper-efficiency and stand-out performance. This panel discussion brings several of Cornerstone’s “trouble making banking clients” together. The conversation shines a light on growing deposits at a reasonable cost of funds. Explores new liquidity models. Debates how to prioritize, and orchestrate, change. All to provide practical intelligence to those data-driven, and outcome-focused, participants of AOBA.

Breakout 2:  Growing Deposits and Primary Relationships
Dave DeFazio, Partner, StrategyCorps
Checking products is more important than ever to start, grow and maintain deposit relationships – especially ones that are primary, profitable and engaged enough to cross-sell other deposit and loan products. Yet most banks’ checking product features are irrelevant to today’s marketplace, don’t grow revenue and drag down earnings. This session shares the latest market research on what consumers and business owners want in their checking products as well as gives live examples of existing product features that are winning and new features that are changing expectations of today’s banking customers.

Breakout 3:  Charting New Financial Frontiers:  Equipment Leasing Redefining Banking
Anthony Cracchiolo, President & CEO, U.S. Bank Equipment Finance
Duane Dewey, President & CEO, Trustmark National Bank and Trustmark Corporation
Chuck Sulerzyski
, President & CEO, Peoples Bancorp Inc. and Peoples Bank
Moderated by:  Bob Rinaldi, President, Rinaldi Advisory Services
Unlock profitable horizons with equipment leasing and finance. Learn from two bank leaders who diversified their C&I portfolio with this lower risk option. Hear their real-life experiences including equipment leasing’s positive impacts on spread and ROA. Interact directly with these outstanding community bank executives.

Breakout 4:  The AI Competitive Advantage: How Banks are Using AI to Improve Efficiency, Profitability and Growth
Adam Kenney, Chief Product Officer, Numerated
William Kitsch, SVP, Chief Revenue Officer, ENB Financial Corp
Matt Phillips, SVP, Business Banking Regional Manager, Dollar Bank
Every institution now faces the challenge of driving growth in a volatile lending environment. Industry leaders are focused on what they can control – what’s inside the bank. With resources scarce, many are looking to leverage artificial intelligence to reshape how they engage with borrowers. Boards are demanding to know how their banks will implement AI-driven strategies to increase efficiency, manage risk, propel growth and beat the competition. Join two fintech executives and business banking strategy leaders as they discuss how to best leverage AI and technology partnerships to remain competitive.


Breakout 5: Four Common Forces Leading to Technology Solution Pivots
Jay McLeod, Chief Operations Officer, FOCUS Bank
Tori VanCura Rutland
, Chief Growth Officer, HC3
This session delivers an overview of four common forces that cause bankers to invest money, resource time and process change to leave solution providers. The four key questions are: What is my integration’s value to our brand today? Why am I doing the heavy lifting my partner should be doing? What technologies will integrate with what’s needed to take our brand forward? Why are we putting our brand at risk with our current situation?

Breakout 6: Optimizing Public Markets to Create Shareholder Value
Laura Hamilton, Vice President, OTC Markets Group Inc.
James VanSickle, CEO, Wayne Savings Bancshares, Inc.
The effects of the 2023 global banking market have created more opportunities for U.S. community banks. In this session learn how your bank can add value to your shareholders by optimizing the public markets, which serve as an avenue to leveraging your stock as a currency in future M&A transactions.

Breakout 7: Bank M&A Master Class: Best Practices and Lessons Learned for Maximizing Value and Minimizing Deal Risk
Gary Crum
, Former CEO, Western States Bank
Bruce Lee, President & CEO, HTLF
Moderated by: Christopher Olsen, Managing Partner, Olsen Palmer LLC
Attend this session to hear a moderated ‘fireside’ panel discussion with a recent selling bank CEO and a recent acquiring CEO. For prospective sellers, learn best practices for preparing for and executing a sale as well as characteristics that achieve a premium price. For would-be buyers, gain better insights on the seller’s mindset, the deal process, areas of value creation, and key transaction risks.

12:05 PM – 1:05 PM
Networking Lunch
Sponsored by: EY
Lunch is served outside as you enjoy networking time with your colleagues in the Arizona weather!

12:05 PM – 1:05 PM
Women in Banking Luncheon
Sponsored by: Mastercard Inc.
Expanding on the Women in Banking Reception held on Saturday, this is an opportunity for women to come together over lunch. Both men and women are invited to attend this luncheon.

1:05 PM – 1:10 PM
What Your Peers Think
Emily McCormick
, Vice President of Editorial & Research, Bank Director
Hear quick takes from Bank Director’s latest research studies.

1:10 PM – 1:30 PM
Findings From Bank Director’s M&A Research Study
Rick Childs
, Partner, Crowe LLP
Emily McCormick, Vice President of Editorial & Research, Bank Director
This session shares insights from our annual M&A research survey, sponsored by Crowe LLP.

1:30 PM – 2:10 PM
Keynote Conversation
Brian Moynihan, Chair of the Board & CEO, Bank of America
Moderated by: Jack Milligan, Editor-at-Large, Bank Director
In honor of our 30th anniversary, Editor-at-Large Jack Milligan talks with the CEO of one of the largest banks in the country: Bank of America.


2:25 PM – 3:55 PM
Fintech How-To Workshop
From Idea to Impact:  A Guide for Banks to Collaborate with Fintechs to Drive Growth

John Behringer, Partner, Risk Consulting, RSM US LLP
Aaron Donaldson
, Principal, Technology & Management Consulting, RSM US LLP
Brandon Koeser
, Senior Manager, Assurance Services, RSM US LLP
Richard Levin
, Chair – Fintech & Regulation Practice, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Craig Nazzaro, Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Brad Rustin, Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Join this workshop to engage in hands-on activities that inform how you can leverage financial technology to enhance customer experience. As regulatory scrutiny increases on fintech partnerships involving lending, Banking as a Service (BaaS), and payment relationships, it also increases with regards to BSA/AML, KYC, regulatory compliance and privacy issues. Attendees of this session learn the best ways for banks to develop and execute a fintech partnership strategy that complies with regulatory expectations while enhancing customer experience. Presenters offer insights about how partnerships are effectively created, best practices for banks’ developing strategies and in the process of on-boarding partnerships and how to scale controls.


The first part of this program features a joint presentation by speakers from Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP and RSM US LLP, who provide an overview and update on the current fintech regulatory environment. The second part features small group discussions focused on where you and your institution are in the process, including: overall regulatory concerns, how to embark on building fintech partnerships, and how to get unstuck when you have regulatory or other operational challenges. These discussions take a deeper dive into the fintech partner process for banks, focusing on regulatory and technology related considerations, whether you are just drafting a strategy, executing a strategy or actively managing multiple partner relationships.


When registering for this workshop, please select one of two options that best describes where your bank is in terms of a fintech strategy: (1) Developing a fintech strategy or (2) Executing a fintech strategy and/or actively managing multiple fintech partner relationships. You will be broken up into groups for the second part of the workshop based on how you answer this question.


This workshop is exclusive to 45 bank attendees only, allows for one banker per institution, no capital markets titles (this session is NOT for investment bankers of any kind) and runs concurrently with the below breakout sessions.

2:25 PM – 3:05 PM
Breakout Sessions
Participants may select from one of six breakout sessions to attend. Sessions to be announced.

Breakout 1:  Future-Proofing Your Bank Through Innovative Compensation Strategies
Flynt Gallagher, President, Newcleus Compensation Advisors
The past three years have seen an upheaval in the ability to attract, retain and motivate talent in an extremely tight labor market. Now, the pendulum may be swinging back…or not. Is this struggle for talent the new normal? If so, why? And what strategies and forms of compensation have your peers and even other markets have adopted to grab the best talent…and keep them? In this session examine recent trends and uncover what you can do right now to make sure you have the right people in the right place at the right time.

Breakout 2: Specialty Finance – A Mature Industry with Attractive Opportunities for Banks
Gary McNorrill, Head of M&A, Brean Capital, LLC
Osnat Naporano, Head of Syndicate, Brean Capital, LLC
The commercial specialty finance industry has grown into a ~$300 billion segment of the financial services space by providing funding to small and medium sized businesses. This session provides an update on the sector and explores opportunities SpecFin companies can provide banks to expand their borrower universe, obtain attractive yields and diversify their revenue streams.

Breakout 3:  The Research Analyst’s Perspective on Technology in Banking
David Feaster, Director, Equity Capital Markets, Raymond James Financial, Inc.
This session includes a discussion of technology in banking and how management teams are utilizing technology to both drive growth and improve processes and efficiency. It also covers recent innovations, regulatory issues, investor sentiment, the credit outlook and how technology can impact both profitability and valuation.

Breakout 4: Evolving Risk Management by Pairing Process with Technology
Mike Horrocks, Vice President of Product Management, Baker Hill Solutions, LLC.
Kelli Morell, Retail Lending Portfolio Manager, Pinnacle Financial Partners
Denise Thompson, SVP Director Small Business Credit & Operations, Berkshire Bank
Protecting the interests of stakeholders through sound risk management policies and processes is critical for the health of your institution and the success of your customers. In this session discover how to modify risk in a business environment that no one could have predicted by pairing technology with process.

Breakout 5: One Year Later: The Bond Market’s View of Community Banks
Van Hesser, Senior Managing Director, Chief Strategist, KBRA
So much can change in a year. KBRA research has helped open the investment-grade debt markets to community bank issuance. Given the shocking bank failures last year, this session examines the issuing landscape and how credit markets view community banks.

Breakout 6: Building Strong Foundations: Enhancing Commercial Relationships in Today’s Market
Debbie Smart, Senior Product Marketer, Commercial Solutions, Q2
Gita Thollesson, Manager, Strategic Advisory Services, Q2
Katherine Weislogel, EVP, Head of Treasury & Payment Solutions, Synovus Bank
As banks and credit unions continue to adjust to the new normal of today’s interest rate environment, they must modify strategies and business practices for continued growth and profitability. A focus on building strong, robust and lucrative commercial relationships is at the heart of those strategies for many financial institutions, and cross-selling is more important than ever. What are the must-have offerings and capabilities that make commercial clients willing to go deeper with your FI?

3:05 PM – 3:25 PM
Refreshment Break

3:25 PM – 4:05 PM
Breakout Sessions
Conversations continue with a second round of afternoon breakout sessions — participants select one of six concurrent opportunities to learn. Sessions to be announced.

Breakout 1:  Driving Deposit Growth Through Treasury Management Services
Lauren Bray, Deposit Product Specialist and Counsel, TruStage Compliance Solutions
Amy Ferguson, Sales Support Manager, TruStage Compliance Solutions
Erin Simpson, EVP, Chief Operations Officer, Encore Bank
If you’re not exploring targeted treasury management support for your commercial customers, you could be leaving money on the table. This session discusses the factors to consider when optimizing your treasury management services and how investing in those services can help to draw and retain customers, increase your efficiency, build long-lasting relationships and, of course, grow your deposit base.

Breakout 2:  Managing Your Balance Sheet Through a Not-Your-Average Recession
Frank Farone, Managing Director, Darling Consulting Group
Joe Kennerson
, Managing Director, Darling Consulting Group
Matt Pieniazek, President & CEO, Darling Consulting Group
Amid the fastest Fed tightening cycle in modern banking history, a steeply inverted curve, and margins being squeezed, the asset-liability committee’s (ALCO) creating a strategic perspective at ALCO has never been more critical. This session focuses on strategies to navigate this period of uncertainty and will focus on lending, investments, deposits, wholesale and hedging initiatives to help shape a strategic ALCO meeting.

Breakout 3: Three Strategies to Accelerate Deposit Growth
Mark Leher, Director, Product Management, Alkami Technology, Inc.
In a shifting banking landscape, transitioning from lending to deposits is challenged by neobanks’ tech-edge. This session delves into trust-building, digital onboarding optimization and data-driven growth strategies. Engage in discussions about solidifying banking relationships, fostering business partnerships and strategies to thrive in today’s competitive environment.

Breakout 4:  Navigating the Future:  Bank Strategic Planning Amidst Evolving Challenges
and Shifting Regulatory Focus
Erica Crain, Managing Principal of Value and Risk Services, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP
Susan Sabo, Managing Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP
2023 came with heightened attention on liquidity as well as increased focus on digital strategies and commercial real estate concentrations. Thi session discusses some of the recent industry and regulatory themes and how they should be incorporated into a solid strategic plan for your bank.

Breakout 5: Playing the Long Game: Veteran Bankers’ Winning Strategies
Frank Sorrentino, 
Chair of the Board & CEO, ConnectOne Bank
Eric Sprink
, CEO, Coastal Community Bank
Moderated by: Nathan Baumeister, CEO & Co-founder, ZSuite Technologies, Inc.
Over the last 20 years, the industry has been rocked by the 2008-2009 financial crisis, Covid-19 and this year’s dramatic swings. In this engaging discussion, industry veterans reflect on the lessons they’ve learned from the past and the unexpected advantages they’ve uncovered through adversity. Discover how these lessons are being applied in today’s dynamic financial landscape, equipping you with valuable insights to enhance your own financial strategies. This thought-provoking session promises to provide a deeper understanding of resilience and adaptability in the world of finance.

Breakout 6:  Embedded Payments – The Cost of the Neglected Opportunity
Shawn Main, EVP, Chief Business Architect, Vantage Bank
Booshan Rengachari
, Founder & CEO, Finzly
Why are banks prioritizing external ecosystems as much as their internal products?  The focus of value creation is transitioning towards business ecosystems constructed on platforms.  Many banks are adapting to support the platform economy by enabling embedded payments, nurturing verticals and orchestrating financial services.  Discover how banks are becoming hidden innovators in embedded payments through APIs for the platform economy.

4:20 PM – 5:00 PM
Risks to Consider
Luigi De Ghenghi, Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Gabe Nachand, Partner, Moss Adams LLP
Tommy Nicholas, CEO, Alloy
Moderated by: Naomi Snyder, Editor-in-Chief, Bank Director
This session discusses the notable and newer risks that all banks need to be aware of.

5:00 PM – 5:45 PM
Strong Teams Build Strong Banks
Lisa Grennon
, Managing Director, Global Corporate and Investment Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Clayton Legear, President & CEO, Merchants & Marine Bancorp
Darrin Williams
, CEO, Southern Bancorp, Inc.
Moderated by: Jenn Docherty, Co-founder, CEO & Founding Director, Bank on Women, Inc. and Mika Moser, CEO, At C Level, LLC
This panel session, comprising bankers and industry experts, discusses how it is focused on building the best team to allow for future growth. What attributes are needed, and how does this type of talent align with your bank’s overall strategy? Come hear what the panelists have done to not only build their team to meet today’s goals, but also what they are doing to build their team for long-term, future growth.

5:45 PM – 6:45 PM
Networking Peer & Guest Reception
Sponsored by: Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company

Day Three | Tuesday January 30


7:00 AM – 8:00 AM

8:00 AM – 8:10 AM
Day Three Welcome
Michelle King, President, Bank Director
Laura Schield, Chief Operating Officer, Bank Director
Today, we focus on perspectives that have not already been shared on the first two days of the conference – and look into forces outside of our industry that may have deep implications.

8:10 AM – 8:40 AM
Moment of Opportunity: Driving Your Business Forward
Kevin Hart, CEO & Founder, Green Check Verified
Jeffery Kendall
, CEO & Chair of the Board, Nymbus
Pierre Naudé
, CEO & Chair of the Board, nCino
Moderated by: Michelle King, President, Bank Director
This session focuses on opportunities based on the current operating environment. Hear from industry leaders as they discuss and debate the power of data to drive your business forward. Participants learn about the latest trends and strategies in data analysis and how to incorporate this into their long-term growth plan.

8:40 AM – 9:10 AM
Navigating Uncertainty: Enhancing Shareholder Value Through Strategic Dealmaking
Michael Oliveri, Partner, PwC
Nisha Sheth, Partner, PwC
In this session, we explore proven strategies for navigating the complexities of uncertain times and demonstrate how organizations can drive shareholder value through strategic deal making.

9:10 AM – 9:40 AM
Enhancing Financial Partnerships: Exploring Collaboration Between Banks, Lenders & Healthcare Professionals
Bryan Bean, EVP, Corporate Banking, Pinnacle Financial Partners
Albert Crawford, Chair of the Board, CEO & Co-Founder, BHG Financial
Moderated by: Jack Milligan, Editor-at-Large, Bank Director
This panel discussion sheds light on the valuable role banks and lenders play in supporting healthcare professionals and the broader health industry. Every community has abundant opportunities for financial institutions to collaborate and assist healthcare clients in achieving their goals. This panel delves into how banks and lenders can effectively work with healthcare professionals, fostering mutually beneficial partnerships.

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 1: The Due Diligence You’re NOT Doing: The Role of Branding in Ensuring M&A Success
Bethany Lewis, Senior Director, Sales Strategy & Operations, Adrenaline
In M&A, branding can be a liability or an asset in aligning legacy banks and positioning the new organization for growth. This breakout delivers the due diligence necessary to avoid reputational, legal, or operational risk with real stories of banks that leveraged branding early in the M&A process. Ensure your M&A strategy is in the best position to succeed.

Breakout 2:  Think Like an Investment Manager Instead of a Lender:  Optimizing Your Loan Portfolio for Long-term Performance
Mark Fischer
, SVP, PNC Bank
Edward Francis, Chair of the Board & CEO, InBank
Alex O’Brien, President & CEO, BOC Bank
Moderated by: Garrett Smith, CEO & Founder, Community Capital Technology Inc.
Constructing a loan portfolio that performs through business cycles requires that lenders think and act more like investment managers. All lenders are at risk of strategic missteps which are often driven by over-expansion (in at least one of three key areas: geography, industry, and/or product,) and can be magnified by a misperception of overall risk vs. return. By maintaining a clear view on industry trends and risk-adjusted yield, in conjunction with the discipline to act quickly and decisively to sell out of non-strategic loan positions, lenders can be better positioned to re-cycle capital in support of growth strategies and create more consistently positive long-term economic benefit. Join this panel of bank leaders as they discuss their institution’s current perspectives and strategies for positioning and optimizing their loan portfolios heading into 2024 and beyond.

Breakout 3: Tightening Bank Regulation – The Pendulum Swings: What it Means for Bank Creditworthiness
Christopher Wolfe, Managing Director, North American Banks, Fitch Ratings, Inc.
Fitch Ratings provides its views on looming tightening of bank regulation as the regulatory pendulum swings back. How do likely higher capital requirements and inclusion of more banks into long-term debt requirements affect bank creditworthiness? The session also provides a backdrop on Fitch’s sector outlook for U.S. banks.

Breakout 4: So, You Want to Sell – How to Increase Your Value as a Target
Sarah Billington, Associate, Howard & Howard
Dennis Merkley, Member, Howard & Howard
Buyers and sellers need to know what deserves a premium price. This session discusses compliance issues, regulatory issues, cleaning up corporate records and cleaning up loan portfolios to increase value and justify a premium price, or not.

Breakout 5: The KBW Research Perspective: What We Expect to Drive Bank Stocks Through 2025
Bose George, Managing Director, Residential Mortgage Finance, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company
Christopher McGratty, Managing Director, Head of U.S. Bank Research, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company
Jade Rahmani, Managing Director, Commercial Real Estate Finance, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company
Bank stocks lagged the broader market significantly in 2023 and valuation levels remain cheap relative to historical averages, but can they work with declining revenue expectations and ahead of a potential credit cycle? To answer this question – including the key factors that will drive bank stock performance through 2025 – we’re joined by three senior analysts from KBW’s Research Department – who collectively have 45 years of experience covering banks and real estate/mortgage at KBW.

Breakout 6: Outlook for U.S. Banks As Higher Rates Test the Mettle of CRE
Nathan Stovall, Director of FIG Research, S&P Global Market Intelligence
Higher interest rates have created liquidity pressures, but the effect on credit quality has yet to be seen. Even as banks build reserves, investors are worried that losses, particularly on commercial real estate (CRE) loans, could exceed banks’ expectations. Hear banks’ response to ongoing liquidity pressures and what pricing in the public markets suggests about different categories in the CRE market.

10:55 AM – 11:25 AM
Tying It All Together
Troy Bradley, Chief Technology Officer, CSI
Daragh Morrissey, Director Artificial Intelligence, Financial Services, Microsoft
Moderated by: Kiah Haslett, Banking & Fintech Editor, Bank Director
During this final session of the 30th annual AOBA Conference, hear from two industry leaders as they discuss and debate next steps financial institutions should take to create the best opportunities for growth through technology. What impact do they foresee from regulators, the future of AI in banking and areas leaders should continue to focus on as we head into 2024.

11:25 AM – 11:30 AM
Parting Thoughts
Michelle King, President, Bank Director
Laura Schield, Chief Operating Officer, Bank Director

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Relax and unwind with this hour-long yoga session at the tranquil Revive Spa grounds. This expert-led program is FREE to registered conference attendees and their guests. Reserve your spot today!

1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
L. William Seidman Annual Acquire or Be Acquired Golf Tournament
Sponsored by:  Dickinson Wright PLLC and FHLBank Atlanta
Enjoy the afternoon playing golf with your peers. While the tournament is FREE to registered conference attendees, we can accept a max of 144 players on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserve your spot today!

5:45 PM – 7:00 PM
Closing Peer & Guest Reception
Sponsored by:  Dickinson Wright PLLC 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!

The opinions expressed at the conference are those of the individual speakers only and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Bank Director, the other speakers or the entities with which the speakers are associated.