Contrary to the consolidated landscape for large banks, more than 5,000 community banks still operate across the country. However, that number is now shrinking as mid-sized banks also pursue mergers and acquisitions. And similar to customer competition, commercial banks and regional banks are also competing for historically scarce financial talent.
“The skill sets that large and mid-sized banks are looking for tend to be similar, larger banks may just require a higher volume of employees,” notes David Hassey, Aerotek strategic account executive, who specializes in financial services recruitment.
Among the most in-demand skill sets, Hassey says, are administrative assistants, data entry techs, loan processors and marketing specialists. However, he notes, for regional banks the highest growth is in call center representatives, especially those handling inbound calls. “Unlike large banks, which were industry leaders in launching mobile apps, regional banks are relatively new to the platform and ramping up,” he says.
As the banking industry becomes more digital, additional customer service positions will be needed to smooth the transition, especially for long-time consumers who are accustomed to relying on bank branch tellers, ATMS and paper statements.
M&A activity spurs staff changes
According to ibanknet, there were 260 banking mergers or acquisitions between April 2017 and March 2018. Such heavy activity can spark changes in hiring levels when positions are created or eliminated.
An out-of-state bank that acquires a local bank, for instance, may consolidate certain responsibilities to the corporate headquarters and lay off workers who perform duplicate positions. At the same time, they may need surge hiring for other positions or to adequately staff new priorities. If that is the case, they should consider partnering with a trusted staffing partner that specializes in hiring a high volume of new employees in a short period of time.
While the most visible employees of banks large and small might be at the branch level, the reality is that 95 percent of the staffing occurs at the corporate or regional headquarters, Hassey notes.
Growth in GRC
Ten years past the Recession, federal regulators are increasingly turning their attention to mid-sized banks. “I believe we’re on the front end of a hiring boom in governance, risk and compliance [GRC] among regional banks,” notes Hassey. Companies are increasingly aware of the potential pitfalls and are putting measures into place to avoid them.
Chris Danler, Aerotek regional vice president, explains that more companies are seeing a business case for compliance. “They can pay $20 million on the front end or over $1 billion on the back end.” Beyond simple math and the legal ramifications, clients are seeing the investment as a positive customer experience and protection to company reputation and profits.
This trend has a substantial impact on staffing and hiring requirements, as banks seek expertise in managing the impact of regulatory policy.
Mid-sized banks may not have a very well developed tech team already in place, Hassey adds, so they’re likely to add more IT and other positions to guard against fraud violations.
Competing for talent against larger banks
There are factors that can influence whether top talent will choose a mid-sized bank over a large bank:
A large bank may offer a better-known, resume-boosting brand and higher pay. However, mid-sized banks often offer more direct access to leadership as well as more opportunities to take on increased responsibilities and stand out from the crowd.
“When a job candidate has multiple offers,” says Hassey, “these are the kind of factors that help determine which company will provide the better fit.”
If you’d like to learn more about trends in regional banking, contact Aerotek now.