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Together Again
Well, today is our 21st CEO Brainstorming Conference and we again have a superb group of participants, of both bankers and industry experts from states throughout the West. As I reflect back, these conferences are among the biggest highlights of my career. The opportunity to engage, interact, and share ideas and knowledge with such a diverse group of peers is very satisfying. I hope that all of you who have participated over the years share that same perspective.

Looking Back to Look Ahead
It is kind of amazing and a bit scary to reflect on the massive consolidation in our industry and many changes over the past twenty years. As we approach 6,000 banks, and likely 5,000 by the end of the decade, I think about all of the banks we have formed and the many we have sold. But mostly, it is the people I remember and miss the most. Losing long-term clients with close relationships is one of the hardest parts of the job. On the technology side, the changes in the delivery of financial services and products is astonishing. Don’t we all have an icon on our phone for our bank(s) that allows us to instantly check our balances and transfer funds? Such a reality was unthinkable not that long ago.

What Will the Future Bring?
My guess is we will continue to see more consolidation, fewer brick and mortar branches, and a new wave of technology. In addition to consolidation, the banking landscape and key middle market players will continue to evolve and change. With cybersecurity now the number one risk in banking, I suspect chip implants, retinal scans, and the like, will become a necessity to fight cybercrime.

Tie-in with Today’s Agenda
Consistent with the issues identified above, today’s conference will effectively include four panels: (i) the Regulators Speak; (ii) Cyber Security and Cyber Insurance; (iii) Mergers & Acquisitions; and (iv) Risk Management. Hopefully these topics will stimulate healthy discussions in these relevant subjects.

Appreciating the Moment
When we gather today, I hope everyone embraces this opportunity to share ideas and test concepts. We all get so caught up in our own day-to-day lives and routine that we rarely stop to reflect, think outside the box, and enjoy the moment. I appreciate you all, because it really is the people that make all the difference. Enjoy!