Banker Outreach Forums - August 28 and September 20, 2013

August 28, 2013 – Tampa, FL
September 20, 2013 – Birmingham, AL

Banker Outreach Forums Encourage Candid Conversations

The Atlanta Fed hosted two events in August and September aimed at engaging senior bankers in a candid conversation about the evolving business of banking.

The events, in Tampa and Birmingham, drew more than 100 bankers. Facilitated discussions and real-time polls captured attendees' insights on a number of topics that highlight the current state of banking in the Southeast.

Based on the combined poll results, nearly 90 percent of attendees described banking conditions in their states as "fair" or "good." Despite improving conditions, the industry still faces a number of challenges. Chief among them are regulatory compliance costs and margin pressures. As Atlanta Fed staffers Sarah Arteaga and Teri Gafford wrote in a recent SouthPoint blog post, "Higher regulatory burdens are affecting costs and are influential in driving consolidation; there is little confidence among most bankers that there will be any substantial legislative relief from regulation."

Also in their conversations, bankers pointed to growth in consumer lending—especially auto loans. Another area that has seen stronger activity is credit card loans. Meanwhile, participants described the competitive environment as "intense," echoing similar feedback gathered by the Fed's quarterly Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey. Respondents in the third-quarter survey reported increased competition for commercial and industrial loans.

For more insights from the events, visit the Atlanta Fed's SouthPoint blog.