Survey: Community bank CEOs focus on loan growth

A new survey of more than 100 senior executives at community and regional banks and credit unions found that a majority list loan growth as their top strategic priority. At the same time, many CEOs say they struggle to find and retain talent.

Fintech company Jack Henry Interviewed CEOs of Financial Institutions with assets ranging from $500 million to over $10 billion. The company found that 67% of respondents listed loan growth as their top strategic priority. This was followed by an increase in operational efficiency to 44% and the addition of digital products/features to 39%. When asked their top three concerns, 60% of respondents cited talent acquisition and retention, followed by net interest margin compression at 49% and fraud and security at 41%.

Fintechs and big tech companies were the top competitive threats reported, each cited by 24% of respondents. The vast majority of respondents (85%) said they plan to pursue a niche market to accelerate growth, differentiate themselves in a crowded financial services market and support local communities. More than three in four CEOs said their institutions plan to increase technology spending over the next two years, with digital banking, automation, and fraud and security technology being the top investment priorities.

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