20 People to Know in Banking: Mike Searcy


Mike Searcy, senior vice president, chief credit officer, Paducah Bank

Years in current job: 1

Years in banking: 27

How has the Covid-19 pandemic changed the banking industry?

Our execution of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans had a significant impact on loan volume, as a vast majority of those loans will be forgiven and will roll off the books. In turn, proceeds from the PPP loans have provided a boost of liquidity as well. The pandemic also encouraged customers to do online banking, which we hope to see continue into the future. We love seeing our customers in person, but we know how efficient online banking can be for busy people.

How will the new presidential administration affect banking regulations and oversight?

There will certainly be a push to further strengthen regulatory oversight initiated by the Obama Administration following the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. That regulation, of course, included the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and placed stricter rules on bank governance. Unfortunately, strengthening regulatory oversight, while prudent, will result in increasing compliance costs for banks in an effort to meet more restrictive standards and execute regulatory reporting.

What can traditional banks learn from the fintech industry?

Despite the inherent risk associated with fintechs, given limited regulation and vulnerability to cyber attacks, they do have many features that traditional banks have already begun to adopt and implement such as online banking, mobile payments, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, user-friendly apps, etc. The fintech industry has done very well at providing fast and simple solutions that are easily accessible and convenient for customers all the while building trust and gaining loyalty.

One of my most gratifying moments was serving on a team that succeeded in maintaining superior asset quality in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009. Despite having a significant concentration in commercial real estate loans that represented nearly 500% of the bank’s capital, the bank maintained strong credit quality and successfully defended loan loss reserves significantly below peer levels.

Tell us about an interaction with a client that has stuck with you.

In my positions in banking, I have had very little direct contact with clients. However, I did have the privilege of personally closing over 100 U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for small businesses during the pandemic, many of which did not know whether they would survive or not. Calling those businesses to let them know that they had been approved and would be funded within 24 hours was so very satisfying. Many had been anxiously waiting and were so grateful for the stimulus.

What technology has proved transformative for the banking industry and why?

Mobile banking has given customers the ability to check account balances, view transaction history, make transfers, and pay bills without having to call the bank or make a trip to their local branch. Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments now give customers the ability to instantaneously transfer money directly from one bank account to another. That has had a tremendous impact on efficient delivery of products and services.

We have many PPP customers that were incredibly grateful for our ability to get them approved and funded in such a timely manner and with excellent customer service from a community bank. Here in the Louisville market, a vast majority of our bank’s PPP funding was to non-customers. Many of those interactions have resulted in the establishment of new relationships for us at Paducah Bank. We’re so happy to have made these new friends!

Will we ever see a cashless society? Why or why not?

While we seem to use our debit and credit cards, smart phones, mobile wallets, etc. for almost everything now, I do think there will always be a need for cash. I suppose it is entirely possible for some societies to eventually become cashless as consumer behavior trends evolve. But I believe there will always be a segment of the population that requires the use of cash.

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