I am always interested in learning what bankers and those that serve them are interested in reading. And since I have been writing industry articles and insights since 2010, clicks to my blog are a good indicator. Over the past two years I have been re-posting articles written here on LinkedIn. Usually a number of days after writing it. Prior to that I would put one or two paragraphs of the article on LinkedIn, followed by a link to Jeff4Banks.com. The new way lowers traffic to this site. But the number of clicks is directionally correct on what most interests readers.
The below top three are not necessarily from this year. In fact, the most read of 2023 was from 2013, ten years prior. Go figure?
Here were the top three most read articles of 2023:
Loan Pricing: Must It Be So Complicated
Publish date: September 6, 2013
Amazing that a 10-year old post rose to the top of the list. It is difficult for me to understand what resurrects an old article. Perhaps a web browser search. Perhaps a banker forwarded it around to their colleagues. Or perhaps there were a lot of bankers trying to improve loan pricing at their institution.
No matter the how, I'm pleased with the interest in simplifying loan pricing to account for the market, risk, and profitability of the individual loan. The next evolution of creating a culture of loan pricing discipline is to measure lender profitability by adding the spread of all the loans and deposits in their book, and assessing the cost per account times number of accounts. Then hold the head of commercial lending accountable for the continuous profit improvement of commercial lending products and the commercial lending line of business. That would be bottom-up accountability, which would inevitably lead to a more profitable financial institution.
One can dream.
Bankers: Please End This Practice. Or It Will End You.
Publish date: May 21, 2023
Prior to the Fed's quantitative tightening began in the first quarter of 2022 I was warning bankers that "a business model based on the sleepiness of your depositors is unsustainable." Before you accuse me of being Captain Obvious, know that I said this in 2018 during the prior Fed tightening cycle and before the pandemic. I felt so strongly about it that there is a chapter in my book about it, which I wrote in 2021. Again, prior to the 2022 Fed tightening.
Does it make me happy that so many bankers read this article? Yes. Will it make me happier if bankers act on the recommendations or formulate their own funding strategies? Yes times two.
Predicting the Next Banking Crisis Is a Fool's Game. Not Learning From the Last One: Equally Foolish
Publish date: June 2, 2023
This was an interesting top read as it was the speech I delivered to the general session of the New Jersey Bankers' Association annual convention at The Breakers in West Palm Beach, Florida. I might have looked stunned in the klieglights while delivering it but truth be told I saw my hotel room bill before delivering it.
In my remarks I summarized lessons learned from each crisis since the S&L crisis of the late 1980's. And how each crisis was different than the last. There were themes worth noting, however. Credit risk, interest rate risk, and concentration risk have been part of every crisis. As an example, take the tech meltdown of 2001. This was a virtual non-event for the vast majority of banks because they had very low exposure to the tech sector. They were not concentrated in it. Fast forward to Silicon Valley Bank's exposure to startups funded by VC or P/E firms. That concentration cost them the bank.
There you have it. First a mea culpa: last year I only wrote 20 articles, far fewer than "content managers" tell me I need to keep the interest of readers. I write and research these articles myself (mostly). And they are time consuming, and I found myself with less time last year. I will try to do better for readers.
Thank you so much for reading my content. I welcome your questions, challenges, and even kudos. I love the kudos but I have thick enough skin to know my readers' challenges are to sharpen my opinions and help to move our industry forward.