Three from our Paducah Bank team in Louisville have been successively named to Business First’s 20 People To Know in Banking for three consecutive years. Below are their interviews with the publication from the year they were selected and their views on the banking scene in Kentucky’s largest city. Get to know Diana Quesada (2018), Felisha Dowdy (2019), and Ro Byrd (2020)
(From Business First 2018 article)
Diana Quesada, vice president, commercial relationship manager – Louisville market, Paducah Bank
Years in current job: 1.5
Years in banking industry: 30+
Now that some banking regulations have been eased, what are some top legislative priorities? The Kentucky Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers Association, local representatives and other organizations champion legislative priorities for the industry. Regulatory relief is certainly welcomed. The closer alignment of assessing risk to the asset level of an institution is an effective change to addressing the most important consideration, which is evaluating systemic risk versus local market risks.
How is rapid M&A/industry consolidation impacting your business? Change and disruption always create opportunity within an industry. All indications are that M&A activity will continue to accelerate as institutions benefit from scale, enhanced delivery channels, technology and client accessibility. We believe that talent and commitment to the market will always be a driver of client preferences regardless of the industry changes that may take place.
Is Louisville’s economy impacted at all by the limited number of regional/large bank headquarters in the city? As I see it, technology, talent and capital are the factors that allow banks to compete and serve across a variety of defined client segments. In many ways, Louisville is much more of a community-bank market than many of the comparative larger cities. A sincere personal touch — complemented with technology and the ability to make quick decisions — is the featured client experience framework of Paducah Bank.
What’s the smartest way for banks to grow in the current economy? The best way for banks to grow is having the right team assembled and supported by a strong corporate mission. At Paducah Bank, we believe in relationships. Making sure that we thoroughly meet our client’s needs with appropriate solutions is our priority. Retaining, attracting and expanding relationships are the three foundational components to growth. Once the opportunity is provided, sincere, fast and exceptional service is critical.
How is automation and artificial intelligence impacting your business? We will continue to introduce technology based on the needs of our clients. New capabilities are emerging faster than at any time in history. AI will be the driver of transaction-assistance modes, such as voice and chat. It will play a key role in the processing of a variety of client requests. Integration ability, ease of use and security will influence not only client adoption rates, but also the level at which banks invest and prioritize in such technology. It is an exciting time to think of the possibilities.
Why did you choose a career in banking? I really look at banking as a form of community service. I believe a community prospers when a business prospers, which is why I’ve devoted much of my financial career to commercial banking. When I have the opportunity to help businesses grow, that’s an opportunity to see vital and innovative changes in our community as a whole. Banking is a dynamic industry. I continue to meet interesting people, learn about new industries and create lasting relationships. I’m fortunate to continue to enjoy it.
What’s been the best development in your sector of banking over the last year? Seeing both individual clients and companies benefit from technology changes are readily the most obvious developments. Ongoing industry regulations are encouraging bank innovation and opening doors for new tech services such as online lending. Banks are taking an in-depth look at their operations and processes through digitization and are leveraging data analytics and automation to streamline operations. Specific to Louisville, we are investing in the market with talent and support to make doing business with Paducah Bank not only an option, but over time, the preferred option. Technology and customizable solutions are continuously in development with the industry and at Paducah Bank.
What’s your overall impression of the local economy? And what’s on the horizon for the economy in 2019? I’m encouraged that our local economy is growing and our downtown is flourishing. As an example, we’re looking forward to the reopening of the convention center which will have a significant positive impact on Louisville. We also have several development projects on tap including the new Louisville City FC stadium which will create new business and jobs. Banking will play a vital role in the assistance of all these emerging projects. We also have great economic partners, such a GLI, that continue to attract new companies and support job creation and retention in our market.
What would you change about the way financial institutions operate in the United States? This may be an unusual answer but I believe clients will be the driver of change within our industry as we look ahead. Our client base is much more connected and experiential than ever before. Financial institutions will need the capability to rapidly adopt some of the emerging technology that today is classified as being disruptive. If our clients demand ease of use for payments, connectivity via social networks or transformational interactive experiences, the industry will need to find a way to respond.
What is your biggest concern about the industry? The concerns for our industry are not unique to banking. Every company wishes to offer excellent service, rapid decision making and cutting edge technology all of which enhance the client experience —thereby creating loyalty and power of brand. A challenge we hear today from many sectors is related to the workforce of tomorrow. Competing for top specialty talent is critical to serving the expanded needs of our clients. Attracting and developing talent is a priority for Paducah Bank because we feel our clients deserve the very best advice, responsiveness and expertise within the industry.
(From Business First 2019 article)
Felisha Dowdy, vice president, senior community banking and treasury management relationship manager, Paducah Bank
Years in current job: 2 years
Years in the banking industry: 20+ years
How is rapid M&A/industry consolidation affecting your business? Change is a normal part of any industry and creates opportunity. This helps institutions benefit from scale, enhanced delivery channels, technology and client accessibility. We believe that talent and commitment to the market will always be a driver of client preferences regardless of industry changes.
What would you change about the way financial institutions operate in the United States? I believe clients will be the driver of change within our industry. Our client base is much more informed and aware than ever before. Financial institutions will need the capability to adopt emerging technology that today is often classified as disruptive. If our clients demand ease of use for payments, connectivity via social networks or transformational interactive experiences, the industry will need to find a way to respond.
How is automation and artificial intelligence impacting your business? Technology and capabilities are rapidly progressing in this industry. AI is used in payments processing as a delivery method from consumer to bank. It also assists in fraud prevention and detection. With the industry technology emerging today, we can build loyalty, cut costs, and enhance security for our clients.
What’s been the best development in your sector of banking over the last year? I think the evolving critical development in banking is technology. Helping our clients streamline their day-to-day financial operations is a reality with the advancements that have been made in technology. Making the investment in customizable technology is the best opportunity to assist our clients in the growth of their business.
What industry sectors are Louisville banks lending to most now? And why? The most visible segments are commercial real estate, multifamily housing and small business. The easiest and most accurate answer to “why” is because these sectors were in need of investment within our market. Residential housing is growing with mortgage rates still near historic lows. With a strong economy, low unemployment, favorable tax changes and technological advancements improving efficiency across all industries, businesses are expanding. Favorable financing terms afford companies the opportunity to open locations, purchase equipment, and invest in talent and technology to meet consumer demand. I believe both consumer and commercial space will remain active as we move ahead.
(From Business First 2020 article)
ROLANDAS BYRD, vice president, commercial relationship manager and community enrichment officer, Paducah Bank
Years In current Job: 11 months
Years in banking industry:13
What's the thing you're paying attention to most in the banking industry right now?
I am currently most concerned about how banks are navigating and responding to the pandemic in relation to their client base. Given that a majority of businesses have not been operational for months, we must do everything we can to ensure that our local companies survive. I am so proud that at Paducah Bank. we were able to provide assistance to nearly 500 small businesses with the federal PPP loans. These companies received more than $60 million In financial support.
How do you feel about the local economy right now?
Although the city has been shut down in recent months and we are now just starting to open back up, I am very optimistic about the state of our local economy. The Paycheck Protection Program and other government assistance programs have tremendously helped businesses weather the storm through this crisis, but the swiftness of economic recovery will depend on how safe consumers feel to integrate back into society. As the city opens back up and consumer base gains confidence, we will gradually see the economy improve and eventually stabilize.
What advice do you have for businesses that are seeking loans?
Be prepared and get organized for the loan process. Before visiting a bank to discuss a business loan, make sure you know the reason for the loan. the amount and if you have ability to repay. Lenders will review a loan applicant's personal finances and business profit. So, check your credit report and organize your business financial records. Additionally, what banks look for in a candidate goes much further than numbers. For instance banks look at the years of experience and the amount of knowledge you have in your industry.
What types of businesses do bankers currently see as safe bets for lending?
I do not believe there is a specific type of business or industry that is a safe bet for lending. There are industries we see as less risky. but all loans carry some level of risk. When we are reviewing a loan request, we keep in mind the 5Cs: Character Capacity, Capital Collateral and Conditions. Inevitably this is how we gauge a borrower's credit worthiness and decide to approve the loan request.