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UM Banking Symposium Educates Leaders on Topics Impacting the Industry

By Jacquelyn Delavaldene and Claire Sahs

School of Business

Ken Cyree, dean of the UM School of Business Administration, with Mitch Waycaster (right) CEO and President, Renasant Corporation and Renasant Bank, the 2022 recipient of the Distinguished Finance Executive Award with Charles White (left) the 2019 recipient. Photo Credit: Stella Connell

Students, alumni, finance professionals and business leaders all gathered to learn more about current topics that impact the banking and finance industry at the 21st Annual Banking and Finance Symposium.

The annual conference, held Oct. 14 at the Oxford Conference Center, was hosted by Ken Cyree, dean of the UM School of Business Administration, and emceed by Stan Viner, chair of the Banking and Finance Advisory Board, and featured numerous keynote speakers throughout the day.

“The 21st annual Banking and Finance Symposium was an outstanding program with over 200 attendees,” Cyree said. “The Speakers were insightful and offered informative analysis of the environment and future for bankers and the industry.”  

The event kicked off with Michelle King, president and CEO of Bank Director, leading the Women in Finance breakfast, where she discussed the importance of leading for tomorrow. She pointed out the vast amount of opportunity there is in the banking industry and how to overcome obstacles.

“Talent and culture are a challenge for banks and most industries,” King said. “But when you are having that interview with the individual who is looking to be a part of your team, look at their skills, where they came from, and ask them questions about themselves to find out if they would be a good fit for your team.”

Brad Bolton, chairman of ICBA, later joined King in discussing the importance of creating and promoting an environment for community banks to flourish. To implement the company’s mission statement, Bolton says to do it through advocacy, education, and innovation.

Speaker Marty Mosby, director of Bank Equity and Strategy at Stifel, and Caitlin Long, CEO and founder of Custodia Bank, wrapped up the morning discussion. 

Mosby discussed his strategic analysis approach that will help U.S. community banks by going through graphics of advanced profitability, balance sheet positioning, and risk management techniques. Long then presented the future of “money over the internet” protocol using an effective comparison to “voice over the internet” phone technology.

The first panel, hosted by Viner and moderated by Scott Mills, president of William Mills Agency, focused on trends in Fintech and Payments. Panelists included Zack Bishop, EVP of Tech, Operations, and Security at Synovus Bank; Wade Peery, Chief Innovation Officer of FirstBank Nashville, and Charles Potts, EVP and Chief Innovation Officer of ICBA. 

“We wholeheartedly believe we have to lean into technology to be relevant, or we won’t be” said Bishop when asked what is important to him as an EVP when creating a community-style banking experience.

The second panel, moderated by Paul Davis, director of Market Intelligence at SRM, discussed general M&A trends. 

The panel kicked off with Davis discussing the growth of this symposium. “It has been amazing to see the growth this program has had over the past few years.”

The panel consisted of Lance Hall, president and CEO of Origin Bank, Jude Melville, president and CEO of Business First Bank and Christopher Olsen, managing partner at Olsen Palmer.

When asked about his bird’s eye view of where we are in M&A right now, Olsen answered, “overall M&A remains intact, but as mentioned by Davis, activity is down quite a bit and we continue to see less transactions year after year.”

The title sponsor of this year’s event was Stifel/KBW, and the executive sponsor was Cadence Bank. Chairman sponsors included mTrade, Renasant Bank, Regions Bank, Chartwell Partners Executive Search, Sawyers and Jacobs, Strategic Resource Management, Community Bank, Olsen Palmer and Active Digital.

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