Weekly Update: Good Morning! Volatility is the word of the week. The S&P 500 Index started last week at 2,769.58 and hit a low of 2,634.81.  This was a 5.11% decline in just a few days. The index ended at 2,658.39, which is a 4.18% decline for the week. Volatility appears to be back, and there are a few significant influxes bothering the market.  We see the problems as: Anxiety

The Impact of a Flatter Yield Curve on Liquidity and Spread By: Jim Craven Loan growth is improving. Deposit costs are higher. Liquidity is tight. These are common phrases we hear daily. Large and small financial institutions across the country are simultaneously dealing with all three. This is a recent phenomenon, which has accelerated over the past several quarters. It all started slowly as the Federal Reserve began raising short-term interest

Weekly Update: Good Morning! Today is a good day.  The Detroit Lions won another game, and are over .500 after six games. Another reason that today is a good day is the average FICO score in the United States of America reached 704.  There are now a record high number of Americans with a FICO score (58.2%). Let’s look at delinquency, another view of the financial health of consumers.  The

Weekly Update: Good Morning! The ground continues to rise. US Treasury yields propelled upwards last week, and the stock market’s response was to stumble a bit.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost over 1,300 points in two days.  This appeared to be the pullback that many people have been predicting. On Thursday, we received the economic data that showed a cooling in inflation in the form of a lower than

Weekly Update: Good Morning! Chicken Little is famous from her quote “The sky is falling.” Today, I would like to start a famous quote “The ground is rising.” The US Treasury yields propelled upwards last week as the economy continues to be very strong. The US Jobless rate declined to a 48-year low. The unemployment rate is at 3.70%. Wow, low. The 10-year US Treasury increased to 3.23%, and the

Weekly Update: Good Morning! The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised the Federal Funds rate 0.25% to 2.25%. The FOMC telegraphed that they are looking at one more rate increase this year and potentially up to three more in 2019. This will result in a 3.00% to 3.25% Fed Funds rate by the end of 2019. The FOMC believes that the economy is doing well. When I watch televised news,

Weekly Update: Good Morning! As I ponder the industry and the forces in our incredible world of banking, I notice a few topics worth pointing out. One – The stock market is roaring. The Dow is now over 26,700. The S&P is over 2,900, and the NAS is nearly 7,000. Wow, the markets look good. 401(k) looks good. The financial world is happy. The result of this is that people

Weekly Update: Good Morning! The stock market is continuing its incredible performance. The economy is looking good. Business news on CNBC is positive. Unemployment is low, and consumer confidence is high. When I turn on Fox News or MSNBC, I feel there is a parallel universe. It is easy to get sucked into this world of negativity. I do, however, expect your institutions to continue to face the following: •

Weekly Update: Good Morning! Over the last month, the goal of my daily message is to highlight profitability. I have touched on: • Deposits – Lack of growth in the industry and the increasing cost of funds. • Loans – The irrational fear of raising loan rates. • Investment duration and yield – Having the proper duration for your institution. • Loan to Deposit ratio – Higher is not always

Weekly Update: Good Morning! It is with great excitement and apprehension that I report I cut the cable cord. Yes, with a 4-year-old who loves to watch Princess Knight (children’s TV show) I cut the lifeblood of my daughter’s entertainment (at least I thought). I did, however, maintain internet service. An important point, as we still have access to the world. Change is hard at first, at least for me.