Industry Remains Strong Heading Into 2023

By Colin Barrett, President/CEO, Tennessee Bankers Association

At the end of September, the TBA hosted an NFIB/Visa small business roundtable featuring leading industry economists. During one of the presentations, a Visa economist discussed the prospects of an impending recession. His conclusion—based on a softening supply chain, strong employment and the Federal Reserve’s actions—was that while a recession is likely, it will be a V-shape in the second or third quarter of 2023 and be over quickly.

Although I put as much stock in economic forecasts as I do weather forecasts, I am hopeful that he might be on to something. At this point, few people question that a recession is in our immediate future, but there is little consensus on what it will look like. The Federal Reserve’s actions are beginning to have an impact on inflation. Trade is picking up as well. And the results of the mid-term elections mean we will have split-control of Congress, which historically has provided a boost to the economy.

There is also optimism specific to Tennessee banking and our state’s economy. While we are not immune to the global economy and have our challenges, like deposits recently, banks in Tennessee continue to outperform those in many neighboring states. A quick glance at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s website lists the numerous businesses that are relocating to and growing throughout the state as Tennessee continues to lead the way in economic development. Tennessee bankers are rightfully optimistic about the opportunities this will bring.

In recent conversations with bankers, I’ve enjoyed discussing the importance of building a strong team so banks can seize this momentum the state is seeing. This commitment to employee development has led to an energy and engagement around TBA programming that we haven’t seen since before the pandemic. No better example can be found than the strong numbers at The Southeastern Schools of Banking and the Young Bankers Division. And the recent Women in Banking Conference doubled last year’s record attendance. There is also a renewed focus on executive level training, with more bankers participating in CEO Forums, Bank Directors Retreat, TBA Convention and the Community Banking Conference. This investment in training will ensure banks are well positioned to navigate any challenges a recession may bring and to take advantage of Tennessee’s economic growth.

As you prepare for 2023, I hope you will take a few minutes to review the 2023 TBA Professional Development Directory and make plans for your bank’s continuing education needs. I encourage you to plan for include Credit Conference in Nashville (February 16-17), Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Fla., (June 18-20), and the Executive Management Conference in Banff, Canada (October 1-3). As you plan your team’s educational training, please call on Sheena Frech or Monique White at the TBA to discuss developing a training plan for your bank.

Unlike Visa’s economist, I’m not making bold predictions on the future. After all, recent years have taught us that new, unexpected challenges can arise in a moment. But I believe that the best is still ahead. And I look forward to being with you on that journey.

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