JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge
January 26 – 28, 2025
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Saturday | January 25

5:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Celebrating Women in Leadership Reception
Sponsored by: Abrigo, Inc.
With so many top executives and board members traveling to this conference on Saturday, this reception allows female executives 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 with 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: COCC
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 26

 

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
Registration & Breakfast

8:00 AM – 8:05 AM
Day One Opening Remarks: Exploring Your Growth Options
Michelle King, President, Bank Director
Laura Schield, Chief Operating Officer, Bank Director
AOBA remains the meeting ground for the banking industry’s key leaders to engage with each other and learn how to grow and compete in today’s market. To open this year’s event, we highlight how and why the conference agenda explores financial growth opportunities and strategic planning ideas… BEYOND M&A.

8:05 AM – 8:55 AM
The 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 and what that means for you and your bank.

8:55 AM – 9:35 AM
What to Expect From Washington
Mark Kanaly, Partner, Alston & Bird LLP
Mandi Simpson, Partner, Crowe LLP
Speaker to be Announced, Piper Sandler & Co.
Changes are on the horizon. What does that mean for your bank and its future? Hear from a panel of experts what to expect from Washington in 2025.

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9:00 AM – 9:35 AM
FinXTech Session: Transforming Your Bank for the Future
Robert Keil, Chief Fintech Officer, FinWise Bank
Tommy Nicholas, CEO, Alloy
Speaker to be Announced, Jack Henry
During this session, we explore how to get greater depth of wallet; how to expand your total “addressable” market; and how to develop new ways to go to market.  This session provides a perspective on how different financial institutions have placed their bets on new lines of business.

9:35 AM – 10:10 AM
Growth From Your Balance Sheet
Speakers to be Announced
Moderated by: Speaker to be Announced, Performance Trust Capital Partners, LLC
A panel of bank CEOs share how they have used their balance sheet to inspire and find growth.

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9:45 AM – 10:20 AM
FinXTech Session: Meeting Your Small Business Clients Where They Are

Speaker To Be Announced, Abrigo, Inc.
Additional Speakers to be Announced

Moderated by: Nathan Baumiester, CEO & Co-founder, ZSuite Technologies, Inc.
The small business market continues to be a huge opportunity for banks.  What can your bank do to take advantage of this space, and help clients expand their relationship with your institution?

 

10:10 AM – 10:30 AM
Refreshment Break

 

FinXTech_Dark.png10:30 AM – 11:10 AM
FinXTech Session: Are You in the Payments Game?
Speaker to be Announced, Strategic Resource Management, Inc.
Jill Flaherty, First Vice President, Business Development, COCC
Additional Speaker to be Announced
Technology continues to transform the industry, and the payments landscape is no exception. Whether it is the increased demand for contactless and embedded options or a diminishing reliance on analog processes, payments are changing. This session covers the information you need to know to stay up-to-date and competitive amidst the changing payments landscape.

 

10:30 AM – 11:10 AM 

Breakout Sessions (select one)

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:  Ownership Options and Tax Matters for the Closely Held Bank 

Speaker to be Announced, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Closely held banks experience challenges with raising capital, shareholder liquidity and board and ownership succession.  These challenges are compounded by volatile tax laws, including the potential sunset of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017.  This presentation discusses alternative strategies for such banks to maximize shareholder value, definitively decide S versus C as well as to create paths for ownership continuity.

 

Breakout 2:  What the Board Needs to Know in 2025

Speaker to be Announced, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company 

Robert Fleetwood, Partner & Co-Chair of Financial Institutions Group, Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP
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 2025 and beyond.

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11:20 AM – 12:00 PM
FinXTech Session:  Cybersecurity & Fraud Prevention
Speaker to be Announced, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Ninety percent of bank leaders would be open to using artificial intelligence technologies for fraud prevention and alerts, and 81% would use AI for cyberattack prevention and detection, according to BankDirector’s 2024 Risk Survey. During this session we dive into what bank’s can do today to guard against a cyber or fraud intrusion.

11:25 AM – 12:05 PM
Creating a Strategic Plan Focused on Growth
Speaker to be Announced, Cornerstone Advisors
Matt Veneri, Head of Investment Banking and Managing Director, Financial Institutions Group, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC
Speaker To Be Announced, nCino
What has worked in the past may not support one’s future plans. New competitors are continually changing the business of financial services. Since bank executives and board members need to prioritize the issues and initiatives that will make a difference to their banks, this session lays out the new strategic imperatives for CEOs and boards to consider.

12:05 PM – 1:15 PM
Networking Lunch & Guest Lunch

12:20 PM – 1:00 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.

1:15 PM – 1:55 PM
Creating Your Highest Value
Curtis Carpenter, Senior Managing Director, Hovde Group, LLC
How can you create the highest value for your bank – and its shareholders?  During this session, we look at how current market conditions, recent transaction trends and future pricing expectations might impact the value of your bank.

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1:15 PM – 1:55 PM
FinXTech Session: Embracing AI
Speaker to be Announced, nCino
Additional Speakers to be Announced
Artificial intelligence in the financial world is not new, but it is changing. With its ability to expedite operational tasks, assist in client credit decisions and improve the efficiency of financial crimes monitoring, AI may be a viable investment for your financial institution. This session explores the many options for embracing this technology.

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2:05 PM – 2:45 PM
FinXTech Session:The New Frontier of Data Sourcing & Integration
Banks have a wealth of client data, but how is it best utilized to not only help the bank expand its existing relationships but also provide a better customer experience?  During this discussion, we dive into the opportunities to best integrate your bank’s data in your digital strategy.

2:10 PM – 2:50 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.

2:50 PM – 3:10 PM
Refreshment Break

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3:00 PM – 3:50 PM
FinXTech Session: FinXTech Connect Tech Talks
FinXTech Connect Tech Talk sessions showcase five technology companies financial institutions should be aware of as they consider new strategies.  Each presentation focuses on an FI they work with – sharing the problem, the benefit and the steps they took to solve it.  The foundation of these talks is how the technology company provided a return on investment for the bank and/or credit union.

3:10 PM – 3:50 PM
Breakout Sessions
Conversations continue with a second round of afternoon breakout sessions — participants select one of seven concurrent opportunities. Sessions to be announced.

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4:00 PM – 4:40 PM
FinXTech Session:  Ask Me Anything — Technology Panel
A panel of industry experts take questions from the audience for an interactive discussion of today’s most pressing topics in bank technology space.

4:05 PM – 4:45 PM
Banking Is Risky Business
Speaker to be Announced, CSI
Craig Sanders, Partner, Moss Adams LLP
Additional Speaker to be Announced
Banking is a risk-mitigation business. Learn about the new risks facing banks and their boards today and how financial institutions can best manage them.

4:45 PM – 6:30 PM
Networking Peer & Guest Reception

Day Two | Monday | January 27

 

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
Breakfast

8:00 AM – 8:10 AM
Day Two Opening Remarks: New Horizons
Michelle King, President, Bank Director
Laura Schield, Chief Operating Officer, Bank Director
As leadership teams consider entrepreneurial opportunities to grow deposits, relationships and reputations, we shine a light on five high-performing businesses operating outside of the financial sector. Some have jumped on retail trends; others focus on consumer spending habits.  The common thread is that all have grown their business in ways that should inspire participants at this year’s AOBA to assess how they are positioned to grow, compete and enhance their institution’s franchise value.

8:10 AM – 8:50 AM
The Best of RankingBanking
George Gleason
, Chairman & CEO, Bank OZK
Kent Steinwert, Chairman, President & CEO, Farmers & Merchants Bank of Central California
Additional Speaker to be Announced
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
Results From Bank Director’s 2024 Technology Survey
Speaker to be Announced, Jack Henry
Emily McCormick
, Vice President of Editorial & Research, Bank Director
Hear the findings from Bank Director’s latest Technology Survey – and what they mean to you and your bank.

9:10 AM – 9:30 AM
Cloud, AI and Banking: Unleashing Opportunities to Drive Growth
Speaker to be Announced, Microsoft
Hear from a technology leader on how banks are embracing AI and cloud technologies to create innovative solutions, modernize and enhance customer experiences, make better decisions and drive growth.

9:30 AM – 10:10 AM
Lessons From the Latest Acquisitions
Speaker to be Announced, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company
Hear what worked and what didn’t from experts featured in this panel session.

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9:40 AM – 10:15 AM
FinXTech Session: Growing Deposits for Long-Term Sustainability
Speaker to be Announced, R&T Deposit Solutions
Speaker to be Announced, Raisin
Speaker to be Announced
, ZSuite Technologies, Inc.
According to BankDirector’s 2024 Risk Survey, released March 25, 2024, more than half (59%) of respondents say they have experienced some deposit loss, with minimal to moderate effects on the bank’s funding base, as a result of rising interest rates.  Another 9% have experienced significant impacts on their funding base. During this discussion we explore best practices for growing and maintaining deposits for the long-term.

 

10:10 AM – 10:30 AM
Refreshment Break
Sponsored by:  Adrenaline


10:15 AM – 12:00 PM

M&A Simulation
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 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.

 

FinXTech_Dark.png10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
FinXTech Session:  FinXTech Connect Tech Talks
FinXTech Connect Tech Talk sessions showcase five technology companies financial institutions should be aware of as they consider new strategies.  Each presentation focuses on an FI they work with – sharing the problem, the benefit and the steps they took to solve it.  The foundation of these talks is how the technology company provided a return on investment for the bank and/or credit union.

 

10:30 AM – 11:10 AM 

Breakout Sessions (select one)
Participants have the opportunity to select one of seven breakout sessions to attend.   Based on feedback from past attendees, there will be designated session(s) for banks under $1Bn in assets and for those above $1Bn in assets. Additional sessions to be announced.

Breakout 1: Building an All-Weather Balance Sheet With Derivatives
Ben Lewis
, Managing Director and Global Head of Sales, Chatham Financial
History has shown how unpredictable interest rates are. Building an all-weather balance sheet that can withstand the changing tides of rates is essential for success. But market dynamics complicate it: borrowers and depositors require products that don’t always fit your goals. In this session, you learn how to position your balance sheet to weather rate changes while meeting customer requirements.

11:25 AM – 12:05 PM
Breakout Sessions (select one)
Conversations continue with a second round of morning breakout sessions — participants select one of seven concurrent opportunities to engage with industry leaders.  Based on feedback from past attendees, there will be designated session(s) for banks under $1Bn in assets and for those above $1Bn in assets. Sessions to be announced.

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11:30 AM – 12:05 PM
FinXTech Session:  FinXTech Session: The Regulatory Side of Partnerships / Managing Vendor Risk

12:05 PM – 1:05 PM
Networking Lunch

12:05 PM – 1:05 PM
Women in Leadership Luncheon
Sponsored by:  Microsoft
Expanding on the Women in Leadership Reception held on Saturday, join your peers for a lively moderated discussion with Bank Director and three bank leaders as we discuss the challenges, opportunities and lessons learned in our industry.  Both men and women are invited to attend this luncheon.

1:05 PM – 1:10 PM
Strong Board. Strong Bank.
Jackie Wall, Vice President of Bank Services, Bank Director
Creating a strong board and strong bank is no easy task – and you can’t have one without the other. Bank Director’s Vice President of Bank Services shares key indicators and lessons learned from banks of all sizes, types and locations.

1:10 PM – 1:30 PM
Findings From Bank Director’s 2025 Bank M&A Survey
Patrick Vernon, Senior Manager, Advisory Services, Crowe LLP
Emily McCormick
, Vice President of Editorial & Research, Bank Director
What will 2025 hold for M&A activity? Bank leaders’ enthusiasm for M&A appears muted going into 2024, but an appetite for sticky, low-cost deposits could motivate some financial institutions to make a deal in the year ahead. Bank Director’s 2024 Bank M&A Survey, sponsored by Crowe LLP, finds that 35% of bank executives and directors believe they are likely to acquire another institution by the end of 2024, down from 39% in 2023 and 48% in 2022. Eighty-five percent point to an attractive deposit base as a top attribute of an acquisition target in today’s environment, compared with 58% who said as much a year ago. That was followed by a complementary culture (58%), efficiency gains (55%) and locations in growing markets (48%). 

1:30 PM – 2:10 PM
Keynote Presentation

2:25 PM – 3:05 PM
Breakout Sessions
Participants may select from one of six breakout sessions to attend.  Based on feedback from past attendees, there will be designated session(s) for banks under $1Bn in assets and for those above $1Bn in assets. Sessions to be announced.

FinXTech_Dark.png2:25 PM – 3:05 PM
FinXTech Session:  The New Frontier of Lending
The economic environment has radically shifted over the past two years, and with it a shift in increased credit and interest risk.  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.  During this panel hear how banks can strategize in a stressed environment and what role technology can play to create new opportunities and efficiencies.

3:05 PM – 3:25 PM
Refreshment Break
Sponsored by:  The KeyState Companies

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3:25 PM – 4:05 PM
FinXTech Session: Cannabis Banking
In the constantly changing economic landscape, financial institutions should continually look for new opportunities for growth and diversification. One area often overlooked is serving cannabis-related businesses. Institutions that enter this sector early have the advantage of reaching a large and rapidly growing customer base, which can help expand their market presence. During this session, hear the key factors banks should consider when running a successful program.

3:25 PM – 4:05 PM
Breakout Sessions
Participants may select from one of six breakout sessions to attend.  Based on feedback from past attendees, there will be designated session(s) for banks under $1Bn in assets and for those above $1Bn in assets. Sessions to be announced.

4:20 PM – 5:00 PM
Lessons Learned in Growing Shareholder Value
Kevin Schalk, Principal, Baker Tilly US, LLP
John Roddy, Head of Financial Services Investment Banking, Raymond James Financial, Inc.
Speaker to be Announced, Stephens Inc.
Hear a panel of bankers share their long-term growth strategies.  Find out how banks have made money over a long time horizon and how they created the best value for their banks – regardless of size.

5:00 PM – 5:40 PM
Point/Counterpoint Debate
Gary Bronstein
, Partner, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Speaker to be Announced, Commerce Street Capital, LLC
Speaker to be Announced, Olsen Palmer
Moderated by:  Michelle King, President, Bank Director
Back by popular demand, this session pits investment bankers and lawyers against each other to debate the most controversial issues in banking. You don’t want to miss this heated – and informative – session!

5:00 PM – 5:40 PM
Networking Peer & Guest Reception
Sponsored by: Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company

Day Three | Tuesday | January 28

 

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
Breakfast

8:00 AM – 8:10 AM
Day Three Opening Remarks: Taking New Chances
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
Preparing for the Next Credit Cycle
Mac Thompson, President & Founder, White Clay
Speaker to be Announced, Teslar Software
Additional Speaker to be Announced
Banks on guard for rising credit losses will need to know where to look for emerging weaknesses and have a playbook ready to respond.  How can banks leverage relationships and data to make smarter decisions?  What decisions should they make about reserves?  What are the trouble spots bank leaders should watch for?  And how should banks strengthen policies and practices to prepare for the worst?

8:40 AM – 9:10 AM
Recruiting & Retaining the Best Talent
Speaker To Be Announced
, Pearl Meyer
Finding talent continues to challenge all businesses – but especially financial institutions. During this session, we dive into best practices, new ideas and lessons learned for creating the best teams and hiring the best talent.

9:10 AM – 9:40 AM
What’s on the Horizon
While M&A is one method for growth, there are many other opportunities your bank could capitalize on to grow.  During this session, a panel of industry experts dives into strategies you should consider.

9:40 AM – 10:00 AM
Refreshment Break

10:00 AM – 10:40 AM
Breakout Sessions (select one)
Conversations conclude with a final round of breakout sessions — participants select one of six concurrent opportunities to learn.   Based on feedback from past attendees, there will be designated session(s) for banks under $1Bn in assets and for those above $1Bn in assets. Sessions to be announced.

10:55 AM – 11:25 AM
Advice for the Future:  Setting the Stage for 2025
Jonah Crane, Partner, Klaros Group
Andrew Olmem, Partner, Mayer Brown
Additional Speaker to be Announced
As we conclude the 31st annual AOBA Conference this is a must attend session as we hear from the leading voices in Washington. The panel shares lessons learned and their advice for moving forward based on the outcome of the 2024 election. Topics covered include, but are not limited to, the future of bank M&A, differences in Republican vs. Democrat leadership, global impact to U.S. banks and capital considerations.

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

1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Let’s Play Pickleball
Sponsored by:  Alloy
Enjoy the afternoon playing pickleball with attendees of the AOBA Conference.  This afternoon activity is available to registered attendees and is limited to 136 players.  Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.  Please note: additional registration is required and fees apply.  Be sure to reserve your spot today!

1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
L. William Seidman Annual Acquire or Be Acquired Golf Tournament
Sponsored by:  FHLBank Atlanta

Enjoy the afternoon playing golf with your peers during Bank Director’s annual L. William Seidman Golf Tournament.  The tournament is available to registered attendees of the conference and limited to 144 players.  Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.  Please note: additional registration is required and additional fees apply.  Be sure to reserve your spot today!

5:45 PM – 7:00 PM
Closing Peer & Guest Reception
Attendees and their guests join in the fun to see who are the winners of the L. William Seidman Golf Tournament and the Pickleball Tournament!
Sponsored by:  FHLBank Atlanta


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.