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7th Annual Community Bankers Conference

Foundations for the Future: Lending Strategies for Success

Produced by the Knowledge Center, an executive conference from S&P Global Market Intelligence

The surprising results of the U.S. presidential elections spread optimism across the banking industry as many market watchers eyed the prospect of reduced regulation for community banks and sweeping tax reform. One year later, that optimism has turned to uncertainty, as substantial changes have yet to materialize.

Some policies and appointments of the Trump administration are beginning to take shape, and the market should have greater clarity into the potential passage of any legislation next year. Greater certainty, whether or not changes come to pass, should bring more borrowers to the lending table and help foster origination activity.

At this year's 7th Annual Community Bankers Conference, we will discuss how bank executives can manage their businesses from the inside out, responding to external developments when appropriate, but ultimately defining successful strategies regardless of the economic or political environment.

One area of opportunity for community banks rests in their commercial loan portfolio. The mission to maximize profitability for a community bank arguably begins and ends with optimizing pricing and growth, while minimizing risk, in its commercial portfolio.

In panels, networking events and one-on-one conversations, we will discuss what it takes to lead a high-performing community bank of the future, with a focus on maximizing performance across your CRE and C&I portfolios. We will focus on solutions, strategies and opportunities that will help you thrive in today’s market.

Our conference takes place at the Four Seasons in Orlando, steps away from Walt Disney World. Make it a trip the whole family can enjoy! Take this opportunity to get away from your day-to-day responsibilities and think strategically about your bank, while also enjoying fun networking events with your peers.

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers unparalleled content from the industry’s leading experts, including executives of high-performing banks, so don’t miss this opportunity to get the insights you need to maximize the performance of your bank.

Advisory committee:

Thank you to our Advisory Committee for their input on the agenda and speakers to help make this a relevant event for community bank executives.

Raymond-Altmix-headshot              Curtis-Griffith-headshot

Ray Altmix, CEO, First Southern Bank                                     Curtis Griffith, Chairman, City Bank
($676 million, IL)                                                                                                     ($2.5 billion, TX)

Chris-Nichols-headshot      Fawn-Sachleben-headshot

Chris Nichols, Chief Strategy Officer                                 Fawn Sachleben, Chief Lending Officer,
CenterState Bank Corporation, ($6.8 billion, FL)       Citizens Bank of Edmond ($267 million, OK)

David Lucido

David Lucido, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer                                  
Cortland Bank ($632M, OH


Kay Anderson
Live Oak Bank
Director – Emerging Markets
James Beckwith
Five Star Bank
President and CEO
Lori Bettinger
Michael Blanchard
Blanchard Consulting Group
Chief Executive Officer
Matt Brei
Blanchard Consulting Group
Scott Brennan
Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta
Director of Sales
Rick L. Childs, CFA, CPA,
Crowe Horwath LLP
Tony Crescenzi
Executive Vice President, Market Strategist and Portfolio Manager
John Drew
OnPoint Risk Advisors
Dan Goldfarb
AlphaOne Capital Partners
Senior Portfolio Manager
Andy Heusel
Senior Vice President, Community/Regional Client Success
Scott Hildenbrand
Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P.
Principal, Chief Balance Sheet Strategist
Vince Hockett
S&P Global Market Intelligence
Senior Director, Software Solutions
Chris Huffman
First Financial Bancorp
Credit Syndications Director
Beth Johnson
Principal, Information Technology Consulting
Carl A. Kessler III
First Federal Lakewood
SVP, Chief Information Officer
Michael Lewis
First Internet Bank
Senior Vice President, Commercial Real Estate Banking
Trey Maust
Lewis & Clark Bank
Executive Chairman
Nick Miller
Clarity Advantage
Founder and President
Michael Nassy
EVP and Chief Credit Officer
Bill Nayda, PhD
Second Pillar Consulting
Principal, Second Pillar Consulting
Bob Newman
Chatham Financial
Managing Director
Chris Nichols
CenterState Bank Corporation
Chief Strategy Officer
Bill Phelan
President and Co-Founder
Jimmy Pittenger
S&P Global Market Intelligence
Senior Account Manager
George Shilowitz
Stonecastle Partners
Partner, Board Member & Co-CEO
Nathan Stovall
S&P Global Market Intelligence
Senior Research Analyst
Gita Thollesson
S&P Global Market Intelligence
Dallas Wells
EVP Client Development

7th Annual Community Bankers Conference Agenda

WEDNESDAY, April 11th
1:00 pm
Networking Golf Tournament

As a prelude to the program, attendees are invited to arrive early to participate in the preconference golf tournament. A separate fee of $205/person, payable at the time of registration, covers your cart and green fees. Clubs are available for rental at the resort. Box lunches will be provided, and groupings and tee times will be communicated closer to the event.

5:00 pm
Welcome Reception: Cold Beers, Hot Topics

All conference registrants are invited to attend.
Spouses are welcome to attend the Welcome Reception for a fee of $100.

Sponsored by:

7:00 pm
Top 100 Bank Dinner (by invitation only)

Executives from top-ranked banks in the S&P Global Market Intelligence 2017 Bank Rankings will be invited to enjoy fantastic cuisine while engaging in intimate discussions with other top-performing banks. Attendees will be encouraged to share strategies that have helped them achieve top performance, giving you valuable insights from your peers.

THURSDAY, April 12th
7:30 am
Registration and Continental Breakfast

Sponsored by:

Crowe Horwath
8:30 am
Welcome Remarks

Shawn Ryan, Senior Director, Strategic Events, S&P Global Market Intelligence

JP O’Sullivan, Senior Director, Global Financial Institutions and Real Estate, S&P Global Market Intelligence

8:45 am
Catalysts for Community Banking

Nathan Stovall, Senior Research Analyst, S&P Global Market Intelligence

In this session, Nathan Stovall, Senior Research Analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, will lead us through proprietary projections for community bank performance. He will describe what opportunities exist for the future, with a particular focus on strengths and weaknesses across different loan categories and different regions. He will also discuss how changes in policy and interest rates could impact community bank performance and what risks lie ahead.

9:15 am
Prospecting and Pricing: Strategies for Growth and Profitability in Your Commercial Portfolio [Panel discussion]

Moderator: Jimmy Pittinger, Senior Relationship Manager, S&P Global Market Intelligence

James Beckwith, President & CEO, Five Star Bank

Lori Bettinger, President, BancAlliance

Chris Huffman, Syndications Credit Director, First Financial Bank

Dallas Wells, EVP Client Development, PrecisionLender

A wide range of loan sizes will be covered including small business loans, as well as the $10 million credits

  • • Crafting an informed lending strategy across your CRE and C&I portfolios to achieve growth and profitability, despite tepid demand and fierce competition.
  • • Commercial prospecting best practices: How to assess and identify new markets and high quality credits.
  • • State of loan pricing — where we are today with respect to loan spreads and fees and the outlook for 2018.
  • • Pricing credits correctly in the context of market realities, both for renewals and new originations.
  • • Best practices in diversifying across geography, loan type, asset class and industry to accomplish the highest risk-adjusted return.
  • • In what verticals do opportunities exist? Lending beyond real estate to include the energy, healthcare and nonprofit sectors and what you need to be successful in these areas.

10:30 am
Networking Break

Sponsored by:

Securities Transfer Corporation
11:00 am
Economic Environment Update

Tony Crescenzi, Executive Vice President, Market Strategist and Portfolio Manager, PIMCO

A look at key economic indicators and what this means for the future operating environment for community banks.

12:00 pm
Top 100 Community Bank Awards

Each year, S&P Global Market Intelligence ranks the top 100 community banks in two categories, banks $1B - $10B in assets and banks less than $1B in assets. At the Conference, we recognize and celebrate those banks that made the prestigious annual ranking in 2017.

12:15 pm

Sponsored by:

Chatham Financial
1:15 pm
Funding in Focus: Developing a Smart Deposit Strategy [Panel discussion]

Moderator: Nathan Stovall, Senior Research Analyst, S&P Global Market Intelligence

Scott Brennan, Director of Sales, Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta

Scott Hildenbrand, Principal, Balance Sheet Analysis and Strategy, Sandler O’Neill + Partners

George Shilowitz, Partner, Board Member & Co-Chief Executive Officer, Stonecastle Partners

  • • Best practices for funding your loan growth in the current environment.
  • • Factors driving change in banks deposit bases in a rising rate environment: Which franchises are best suited for change and what deposits will prove the stickiest.
  • • Tactics banks are using to build their deposit bases; what is the cheapest/best/easiest way to increase core deposits?
  • • Wholesale funding alternatives to evaluate.
  • • New products and why this time deposits will react differently.

2:15 pm
Refreshment Break
2:30 pm
Going for Growth: Lending Niches to Consider [Panel discussion]

Moderator: Chris Nichols, Chief Strategy Officer, CenterState Bank Corporation

Kay Anderson, Director – Emerging Markets, Live Oak Bank

Michael Lewis, Senior Vice President, Commercial Real Estate Banking, First Internet Bank

Bill Phelan, President and Co-Founder, PayNet

  • • Defining your niche and identifying market needs and opportunities.
  • • Identify what infrastructure, technology and talent you need to serve a niche market; determine whether you already have it or if you’ll need to acquire it.
  • • Specific niches to consider: leasing, private offices, fund managers, insurance companies, franchise lending, legal settlement financing, self-storage, wine and craft brewing, factoring, asset-backed lending, and renewable energy.
  • • What tools and resources exist to evaluate different lines of business.

3:30 pm
Refreshment break

Sponsored by:

3:45 pm
Deals and Dollars: Using M&A to Optimize Your Deposit and Loan Mix [Panel discussion]

Moderator: Kevin Dobbs, Senior Reporter, S&P Global Market Intelligence

Rick Childs, Partner, Crowe Horwath

Dan Goldfarb, Senior Portfolio Manager, AlphaOne Capital Partners

  • • How the current deposit and commercial lending environment is impacting community banks — implications for investor interest and M&A motivations, pricing and activity.
  • • Where buying is better than building: How M&A can provide opportunities to optimize your commercial portfolio in the absence of organic growth.
  • • Using M&A as a way to acquire low cost deposits and improve your asset-liability mix.
  • • How to take into account the synergies of credit diversification in a transaction.

4:45 pm
Cocktail Reception

Spouses are welcome to attend the Cocktail Reception for a fee of $100.

Sponsored by:

FRIDAY, April 13th
7:30 am
Continental Breakfast

Sponsored by:

8:00 am
S&P Global Market Intelligence Product Demo

Join us as we discuss about some of the problems faced by community banks related to commercial lending and how you can use Market Intelligence tools to help.

8:30 am
Where the Rubber Hits the Road: Minimizing Risk in Your Commercial Portfolio [Panel discussion]

Moderator: Bill Nayda, Principal, Second Pillar Consulting

John Drew, President, OnPoint Risk Advisors

Michael Nassy, EVP and Chief Credit Officer, FVCbank

Bob Newman, Managing Director, Chatham Financial

  • • Where are we in the credit cycle?
  • • How CROs are assessing risk in different segments, in the context of an enterprise risk management framework.
  • • Tools available for portfolio hedging.
  • • Creating risk management incentives with your front-line relationship managers.
  • • How to align pricing, ALLL and CECL for efficiency and consistency.
  • • How CECL may affect lending downstream and how you prepare.
  • • Regulatory hot buttons – complying with fair lending standards, CRE concentration guidance, revision of the HVCRE rules and the new CFPB.

9:45 am
Networking Break

Sponsored by:

Blanchard Consulting Group
10:15 am
Leveraging Technology: Expanding Existing Business Relationships and Building New Ones [Panel discussion]

Moderator: Vince Hockett, Director, Software Solutions, S&P Global Market Intelligence

Beth Johnson, Principal, Information Technology Consulting, RSM McGladrey

Carl A. Kessler III, SVP, Chief Information Officer, First Federal Lakewood

Trey Maust, Executive Chairman, Lewis & Clark Bank

  • • How to prioritize technology investments; what is going to have the most impact for community banks.
  • • How digitizing and automating the credit process can help you compete for small business customers.
  • • Banks’ digital interfaces with business customers and how those should be different than consumer interfaces.
  • • What technology can help you serve your existing business customers.
  • • Recognizing when your core provider can or can't provide the technology you need.

11:15 am
Compensating and Cultivating Commercial Lenders [Panel discussion]

Moderator: Gita Thollesson, Director, S&P Global Market Intelligence

Michael Blanchard, CEO, Blanchard Consulting Group

Nick Miller, Founder and President, Clarity Advantage

  • • Aligning relationship managers’ compensation plans to the overall goals of the bank without creating unintended consequences.
  • • Designing incentive programs that are meaningful and effective, but not overly complex.
  • • How best to recruit, train and retain commercial lenders.
  • • How changing demographics of the labor pool affects talent management.
  • • Evaluating lender performance, cultivating a culture to help your lenders make smarter and more profitable pricing decisions.

12:00 pm
Closing Remarks and Buffet Lunch

Nathan Stovall, Senior Research Analyst, S&P Global Market Intelligence

Nathan Stovall, Senior Research Analyst, will review the key themes and outtakes from the Conference

All Others: $1,595

Community Bankers: $595

Event location

Four Seasons Resort
10100 Dream Tree Blvd
Orlando, FL, US
+1 (407) 313-7777

Registration Fees

The Community Banker Rate applies to bank employees or directors of an FDIC-insured community financial institution.Correspondent and wholesale bankers, even if part of an FDIC-insured financial institution should register at the Non-Banker Rate.

The Non-banker Rate applies to attendees who are not bank employees or directors of an FDIC-insured financial institution, such as investment bankers, attorneys, accounting firms, other vendors and service providers. Correspondent and wholesale bankers, even if part of an FDIC-insured financial institution, as well as regulators, FHLBs and GSEs should also register at the Non-Banker Rate.

Your registration includes all conference materials, continental breakfast and lunch both days, and an evening cocktail reception at the end of Day One.


We have negotiated a rate at the Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World of $359 per night, excluding taxes and fees. Please contact our support team at 888-991-7786 or email them at if you're interested in booking a room.

Looking to book before or after the conference? Please call the hotel at 1-407-313-7777 for rates. The group block rate can be applied to these nights, based on availability at the hotel.


We have secured special pricing for Disney tickets that are available to our conference attendees and their guests. This pricing is good for the duration of the conference, as well as 7 days pre and 7 days post conference. To purchase these tickets, please visit our microsite. You will receive the link to the microsite upon registration.

Spouse Registration

Spouses are welcome to attend the Welcome Reception and Cocktail Reception for a fee of $100.00. Please contact our support team at or call us at 434-951-7786 if you wish to add this to your registration.

Golf Registration

As a prelude to the program, attendees are invited to arrive early to participate in the preconference golf tournament. Registration to play golf is free for community bankers. Clubs are available for rental at the resort. Box lunches will be provided, and groupings and tee times will be communicated closer to the event.


Download 7th Annual Community Bankers Conference Brochure

Download our Sponsorship Guide

For information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Brian Hodges at or 434-951-7628.

Platinum Sponsors

PIMCO    Chatham Financial

Gold Sponsors

ALM-Logo   Crowe Horwath   Crowe Horwath

Silver Sponsors

Securities Transfer Corporation   BancAlliance   

Blanchard Consulting Group   FHLBank Atlanta Arthur J Gallagher

Downloads & FAQs

Who attends?

  • CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CCOs, CROs, CLOs and other executives at community banks
  • Board chairpersons and directors
  • Investment banking, legal, strategy, finance, lending and IT advisors to community banks
  • Community bank investors
  • Banking regulators

What is the dress code?

Casual business attire is recommended.

What meals are included?

Your registration fee includes continental breakfasts, lunches and all refreshment breaks. Dinner is also included for Day One of the Conference, as well as cocktail receptions.

Are accommodations included?

We have negotiated an excellent rate at the Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. The accommodations are not included as part of your registration. To reserve your room at the discounted rate, please call the resort directly and mention the Community Bankers Conference. Additional information about accommodations can be found under the "Event Locations" tab.

Does this program have a 'Satisfaction Guarantee'?

Yes, it's straight and simple. We firmly believe in the content value of this program, and we will refund your registration fee in full if, 1) you rate this program a 1 or 2 (on a five point scale) on the evaluation form distributed at the conclusion of the program, 2) you provide specifics on the evaluation form as to the cause of your dissatisfaction, and 3) you agree to talk with us if we call to discuss how we can improve the program going forward.

What are the terms of registration?

Cancellations for this program are eligible for a full refund, less a $150.00 administrative fee, if received at least 15 business days prior to the start of the program. Cancellations received after that date but at least 5 business days prior to the start of the program receive a credit in the amount of the registration fee, less a $150.00 administrative fee, to attend another Knowledge Center program within 13 months. Cancellations received fewer than 5 business days prior to the start of the program are not eligible for a refund or credit.

Attendee substitutions from the same company may be made at any time. In the event of a cancellation from a group discount, refunds or credits are issued beginning with the most heavily discounted price, minus a $150.00 administration fee. "No shows" - or those who cancel within 15 days of the program - and have registered under the Invoice option, remain liable for the full program fee.

The Knowledge Center reserves the right to cancel/change programs, content, speakers or venue at any time. The Knowledge Center reserves the right to make portions of the program registration information available to program sponsors. The Knowledge Center will not be held liable for any costs incurred by registrant due to individual registration cancellation. In the event that a seminar is cancelled due to inclement weather, faculty cancellation or force majeure, the Knowledge Center will refund the registrant's tuition in full, however the Knowledge Center will not be liable for incidental or consequential out of pocket expenses incurred by the registrant. If you have questions regarding the Knowledge Center's refund, complaint or program cancellation policy, please call us at (434) 951-7786.

Registrant, as an individual person attending a Knowledge Center conference, seminar, or other program, hereby grants permission to the Knowledge Center to use and publish his or her image, likeness, or testimonials collected in connection with the program for advertising and trade purposes in connection with the Knowledge Center’s conferences, instructional, and/or marketing activities.

Continuing Education Credits

Up to 11 Hours of CPE Credit
Participants who complete this program qualify for up to 11 hours of CPE credit (Specialized Knowledge and Applications). Program Level: Intermediate. Delivery Method: Group-Live. The Knowledge Center, S&P Global Market Intelligence is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: