In 1991 when I helped start Bank Director, the experts predicted technology and regulation would winnow the number of banks down to 2,000 over the next twenty years. The thought was that technology would ultimately make it impossible for the smaller banks to compete without economies of scale to justify the expense of implementing new technology.
The experts who predict our futures are often wrong. The new technologies turned out to be an asset to all banks and in fact, leveled the playing field for the institutions that could adapt technology solutions to their unique customer needs. In addition, they forgot that smart bankers go out and start new banks when theirs are bought, and that customers tend to support the financial institutions within their communities.
This fall, our parent company, Board Member Inc. sold our sister publication Corporate Board Member magazine to the New York Stock Exchange. However, Bank Director wasn’t sold because our owner saw a great future for the brand given our unique position in the marketplace and the many opportunities we foresee as the banking business rebuilds itself once again.
Twenty years later I am more excited than ever to be part of a growing enterprise that supports the bankers who lead every kind of institution from the largest international banks to the main street community banks. I fear to predict anything that might happen to the banking industry in the next twenty years, but in the next few I think we can speculate that:
- approximately 200-300 more banks will fail;
- many more will merge as the cost of compliance rises;
- and international banks may give our largest institutions new competition.
No one knows for sure about the future, but I can say with certainty that Bank Director will be there in the middle of it all.