A very strong economy is providing a tailwind for bank fundamentals, and we are increasingly encouraged. While the vigorousness of the economic recovery is likely to vary across the country, the common theme is that we see some form of economic improvement in virtually all markets, which should benefit banks via stronger loan demand, limited credit costs, and a pick-up in most fee businesses.
We’ve seen a robust pace of M&A, but most of these conversations were continuations of those initiated pre-pandemic. In the second half of 2021, we expect discussions initiated during and post-pandemic to result in a wave of M&A announcements, which should continue for the foreseeable future. We’re also likely to see an intensifying focus on the convergence of traditional banking and fintech as the pandemic quickened the pace of change that was already occurring. This change is likely to be permanent, rewarding those that have anticipated these developments. We expect this focus on the “future of banking” to intensify as we move through the year, with the winners increasingly more evident as time goes on.
The “war for talent” has exploded as the candidate market is intensely active, in some ways more so than we’ve seen in over 20 years of recruiting. Banks have utilized their adoption of remote workforces to widen their talent pools, in turn luring new, critical skill sets. Hiring has been heavy in technology, digital, innovation and operational management roles. On the flip side, candidates are desiring employers who have adapted with tech trends and have concrete plans to keep their institutions relevant in the coming years.
Succession planning is also in full swing as banks have expedited the execution of existing plans, accelerated by aging executives who are ready to step away. Those institutions that did not have viable succession strategies have been re-outfitting their senior talent suite with an eye toward sustainability. Emerging leadership candidates have been seizing this opportunity to make a significant leap in their careers.
For a list of our active engagements, please click here.