Barret School of Banking

Mortgage bonds keep gaining fans: Community banks add weighting to loan surrogates

If your community bank’s bond portfolio looks like the rest of the industry’s, you own more mortgage-backed securities (MBS) than ever. There are a bunch of reasons for this, most of which you’re aware of, but some you may not be. The MBS that community banks tend to own are a small piece of the …

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Rock (and roll) into a new decade: A look into a previous era can help today’s portfolio managers

It was 20 years ago today More precisely, it was 20 years ago this year that community banks, and their investment portfolios in particular, were enduring a period of extremes. Many of the readers of this column were in charge of their bond portfolios then, and were, proverbially, “Riders on the Storm”, which involved:  …

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3Q 2019 Update on different industries you may be banking…

As you may/may not know, we offer quarterly online Roundtables covering topics in Digital Marketing, Compliance, and Senior Lending.  This week, we had our Senior Lender Roundtable facilitated by Richard Hamm and he had some great information on the industries that many community banks serve.  I thought it would make a good free webinar for …

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Why Bonds Are Riddles, enigmas and other investment mysteries

A best-selling book from the 1990s, “Why Things Are,” took a humorous look at curiosities originating from everyday existence, with the modest goal of answering “every essential question in life.” This column has a more ambitious purpose: to clarify a few of the phenomena surrounding your investment in bonds. So, put on your seat belts …

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Seller’s Market? A guide to finding liquidity among your holdings

Quick: What’re the most saleable assets on your community bank’s balance sheet? If you get this wrong, you need to be running a “not-for-profit depository financial institution.” Bonds, of course. Most people I talk to consider the liquidity feature a close second (to safety) in importance when contemplating a purchase. That feature has come into …

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Can’t keep a good bank down: Last decade has seen struggles, successes for the industry

September 7, 2008 is the mortgage finance industry’s date of infamy. It’s now been a full decade since the secondary market siblings, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have been in legal custody of the Federal Government. For many community banks, that date was the tipping point of a tortuous era of poor loan demand, sketchy …

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“Peeking Under the Hood:” Loan Products and Underwriting. Part 4 of 4

Today, we are wrapping up our series analyzing the FDIC’s Small Business Lending Survey from the community bank perspective. I must say that I have enjoyed this but it has taken me (and hopefully you as well) into directions that were not planned. I can’t say that I walked into this analysis with any expectations, …

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