67 WALL STREET, New York - May 2, 2012 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published its U.S. Banking Report: An Investor's Guide offering a timely review of the sector to serious investors and industry executives. This special feature contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with public company CEOs, Equity Analysts and Money Managers. The full issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.
Topics covered: Money Center Bank Balance Sheets - Dodd-Frank Act, Volcker Rule and Durbin Amendment - Cost Reduction and Consolidation Activity - Macroeconomic Cyclical Recovery
Companies include: 1st United (FUBC); BBCN Bancorp (BBCN); Bar Harbor Bankshares (BHB); Central Pacific Financial (CPF); and many more.
In the following brief excerpt from the U.S. Banking Report: An Investor's Guide, expert analysts discuss the outlook for the sector and for investors.
Gary A. Kajtoch has served as Treasurer of Evans Bancorp, Inc., since April 2007 and has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the bank since February 2007. Before joining the company, he served as a Vice President in the finance division of M&T Bank. His responsibilities in his most recent positions at M&T included serving as Manager of management accounting from 2005 to 2007, Manager of the business valuation and NPV analysis group from 2004 to 2005 and as CFO of the commercial bank division from 2000 to 2004.
TWST: Would you begin with a brief historical sketch of the company and an idea of its operations at the present time?
Mr. Nasca: Evans Bank is a 92-year-old community financial services company founded in Angola, N.Y., in 1920. We currently have 13 branch offices for banking and 11 insurance offices. The company offers a diversified portfolio of products to our customers, including commercial banking, insurance and investments. We opened our second branch in 1968, and we've grown more substantially recently, opening six branches over the last nine years, primarily in the northern suburbs of Buffalo in western New York.
TWST: Last time we spoke in the spring of 2010, Evans had completed a transformation in brand and scope. Would you briefly summarize that and give us an update on how that's working out?
Mr. Nasca: We've been trying to expand our brand presence in the community. In 2010, we talked about how western New York is a very competitive marketplace. There are three top-25 banks in the area with First Niagara, M&T and KeyCorp. Additionally, there is an international bank with HSBC. All of those have major complexes or are headquartered here. We jokingly say we're the last community bank standing. As a result, we thought it was very important to get our brand and our name recognition out there - to make people more aware of us. We started to do that with the addition of our Elmwood office back in 2009, with a new logo, graphics, standards and colorations. Now, one of the things that played in our favor, and we wouldn't like to see it happen again, was the financial crisis in 2008. Customers got nervous and wanted to be able to talk to their banker. We have always provided personalized service with customized solutions, as opposed to some of these bigger organizations that we feel are a little more transaction orientated. We try to be a value-added provider, and as a result, we saw a fair amount of understanding of the model we were putting forward. I think the brand helped bring that home a little bit, but we also saw a lot of customers that decided they wanted a more personalized experience.
TWST: Would you describe the economic situation in the areas Evans serves and how that has impacted the company?
Mr. Nasca: We are based in western New York, Buffalo and its suburbs. Although we're Buffalo boosters, the area has been economically challenged for some time. It's an older, industrial community that has taken some hits to its industrial heritage, but it has begun to really reform itself in terms of a medical campus - the University of Buffalo as a research institution and a service industry hub, as well as a banking center. We have a lot of banking expertise here, and there are call centers, collection institutions and financial services companies. Over the last couple of years, the area has begun to remake itself in the mold of a service-industry center with a talented employee base. As we talked about a year and a half ago, the financial institutions here had to learn how to operate in a more meager economic environment, so they're battle tested. We've been surviving in a tough economic environment for a long time. Many people in Florida or Atlanta or Arizona or wherever are having their first experience with the economic malaise that has happened, and the impact is far greater there than it has been here. Buffalo has been pretty slow and steady. While it has been a little slow on the upside, we also didn't have as big a downside as other areas of the country.
TWST: We also talked about the impressive cumulative growth rates Evans had posted for asset base, loan growth and revenue. Has that continued? What do the numbers look like over the past year and a half, and has the company been able to continue these streaks?
Mr. Nasca: Yes. Over the last five years, the organization has had top-line growth of about 60%. We've had significant market share gains. We've grown in terms of deposit market share from about 1.1% in 2008 to about 2.1% in 2011, and that's in a total deposit market just shy of $30 billion. So we have had excellent success in continuing to grow the franchise. Given that we're in a market of effectively no growth or negative growth, we're taking share by competitive standards. We're taking away from other banking organizations.
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- western New York