State Bankers Say Trump Effect Is Positive

Some Mississippi bankers are confident the Trump administration will have a much-needed impact on public banks. A few have already witnessed a rise in stocks since election day.

“The effect (of the new presidential administration) has been extremely positive,” said Hoppy Cole, president and CEO of The First, a national banking association. “We are a publicly-traded company, and our stock along with most publicly traded bank stocks has increased in value since the election. We believe some of this increase in value is due to the new administration’s pro-business outlook and that banks in general are a significant economic driver that help foster growth.”

On Nov. 8, its stock was $21.85 per share and, steadily increased to $27.70 during Easter week.

But investors’ faith in the Trump administration is not the only reason.

“There is great hope and enthusiasm amongst the financial services industry that the current administration and Congress will address the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act in the near future and offer some regulatory relief, especially for community and regional banks,” said John Oxford, director of corporate communication for Renasant Bank.

“A specific relief item which we believe needs to be addressed is raising the $10 billion in asset size threshold for certain regulations and requirements – which include interchange fee rules, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau oversight and enhanced stress testing – to $50 billion in asset size.”

Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, banks crossing the $10 billion mark are no longer considered community banks, thus leading to increased federal surveillance. This regulation is considered as burdensome for these public bank leaders in Mississippi.

Cole adds: “The president has pledged to help reduce the regulatory burden, particularly for smaller community banks, which has been a significant headwind to growth and profitability in our industry over the last 8 years. Specifically the president has instructed the regulatory agencies to review and recommend specific regulations to change or eliminate which reduce compliance costs, improve efficiency. And to take a risk-adjusted approach to the regulatory process. Financial institutions with complex business models should get a greater degree of scrutiny and should be required to hold more capital than those that have a simple business model.”

Hancock Bank President and CEO John M. Hairston attributes his positive outlook on his bank to the current administration’s attitude toward economical growth and possible bipartisanship.

“The general theme we bankers hear from the new administration is a call for ideas which generate more American jobs, expand the economy and give families and businesses a chance to dream big after a decade of doldrums,” he said. “It’s refreshing to hear a tone of optimism and creativity after seven years of political stiff-arm. The open-mindedness isn’t only from the White House. Democrat senators now seem willing to listen if a change is good for America. Some won’t, stubbornly declaring the infallibility of Dodd-Frank. But, some will.”

“Our hope is that reasonable people will come together for the good of all citizens versus clinging to political ideology and one-upsmanship.”

As President Trump approaches 100 days in office, Cole stated: “I am not aware of any regulations that have been changed yet but we as an industry are hopeful that the president will follow through with his pledge to provide regulatory relief and it appears that the process has started.”