April 6, 2023

The Banking Industry: Changes, Challenges and Opportunities

The Banking Industry: Changes, Challenges and Opportunities
April 6, 2023

The Banking Industry: Changes, Challenges and Opportunities

Ignacio Gassó
Co-founder & Chief Operation Officer
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The banking industry has undergone significant changes in recent years, and it continues to evolve. In this interview, Heather, a co-director of sponsor finance search fund lending at Live Oak Bank, discusses her 34-year journey in the banking industry, the impact of social media, the trends in banking for SMEs, and her insights on the current economic situation.

Heather started her career in a small bank and quickly moved into managing SBA lending departments for small and large banks. She eventually ended up at CitiBank, managing SBA before joining Live Oak Bank where she is co-director of sponsor finance search fund lending. Live Oak Bank is a smaller bank but one that is very focused on small business lending, particularly using the SBA program.

Heather notes that the banking industry has changed significantly in recent years, particularly in the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank failure. This failure changed things and opened the depositor's eyes to the risk of maintaining deposits above the FDIC limits. She believes that the public at large is now keenly aware of the risk, which may negatively impact the stability of financial markets.

Heather believes that social media has also played a significant role in changing the industry. She believes that social media amplifies memetic theory and that human beings follow each other, which can negatively impact the stability of financial markets. She believes that financial institutions and the industry at large need to get better at their messaging and use social media to get the right messages out.

Heather's work focuses on the acquisition of small businesses, and she believes that the SBA program is functioning very well. It is allowing for liquidity for those exits to actually occur, and they've even come out with some new rules that will make it even easier to structure certain types of transactions. She believes that the good news is that it remains a fairly liquid market for these small business exits and for new entrepreneurs to become entrepreneurs through acquisition rather than through startup.

Heather acknowledges that the current economic situation is challenging. Credit tends to tighten up during difficult economic times, so she thinks it will be a little bit more difficult for people to structure deals that are approvable by banks. However, she believes that social media actually helps people learn very quickly what works and what doesn't, which allows the market to remain fairly liquid and somewhat efficient.

Heather also provides her insights on the current economic situation, noting that the inflation rates have dropped below five percent, which is the slowest it's been since 2021. She believes that the Fed is almost done raising interest rates, and we may get one more before it levels off and starts to come down depending on how the economy responds. She believes that inflation is here to stay at higher levels than we have been used to, which will be a function of several factors.

In conclusion, the banking industry continues to evolve, and banks must adapt to the changing landscape to stay competitive. Social media has had a significant impact on the industry, and financial institutions must get better at their messaging to get the right messages out. Despite the challenging economic situation, Heather believes that there are still opportunities in the banking industry, particularly in the acquisition of small businesses using the SBA program. Banks must remain vigilant and adapt to the changing market conditions to continue to succeed in the industry.

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