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QuickHit: How healthy are banks in this COVID-19 era?

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This week’s QuickHit episode, Tony Nash talked with Dave Mayo, CEO and Founder of FedFis, and an expert on banking, finance, and Fintech. This episode looks at US financial institutions like banks and how they are faring during the Coronavirus pandemic. Will new financial technologies help streamline the process of providing services like loans to medium and small businesses?

 

Watch the previous QuickHit episode on the Status of Global Supply Chain in Time of Coronavirus with the president of Secure Global Logistics, George Booth.

Show Notes

 

TN: Hi, everybody. This is Tony Nash. I’m the founder and CEO of Complete Intelligence. This is our Quick Hit where we talk to industry experts about issues in markets and in industries.

 

Today we’re with Dave Mayo. Dave is the founder and CEO of FedFis based in Texas. Dave, thanks for joining us, I really appreciate it.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about FedFis? And then I’d really love to jump into how you’re helping out the financial services sector.

 

DM: Sure. We’re a unique company. We sit as a layer above banking, we call FI fintech, and then fintech. From the banking side obviously, we are a data company and provider and intelligence. From the FI fintech side, those would be the vendors to the institutions like their core mobile offering. And then FinTech, that’s the new stuff, right? That’s the sexy stuff, like the Chime and the SoFis and those types of companies that used to be alt banking and now they’re joined back to banking again. So we help all of those different layers in one way or another through a data set that we have and intelligence.

 

TN: With everything going on in the wake of Coronavirus, there’s been a lot of talk about fiscal stimulus coming out of D.C. and stimulus through the Fed and other things. What is the health of the banking sector from your perspective? Because back in 2008 the banking sector was the worry, right? Is that the worry now? Is that something we should be worried about?

 

DM: I think our banking industry is based on a level of faith. It always has been, right? Now that said, this is a completely different situation. Banks are very well-capitalized. Banks are not the cause of the problem. We don’t have a systemic banking problem or issue. We’re very, very healthy right now. When you talk about a stimulus being put into the economy, the more money flows in and out, the more people spend and buy and purchase, the better things are. That’s just the way the banking industry is built.

 

TN: How do you see banking and FinTech really helping? Obviously we know how they help big companies with big placements and debt and these sorts of things. But how do you see them helping small and mid-sized companies with this economic gulf that we have right now, where the economy’s effectively been turned off for a period of time, which is a bit weird? How do you see, what you’re doing, and banks generally, really helping out there on the smaller and midsize level?

 

DM: I think there’s a big gap in education in our country when it comes to banking. People are like, “I don’t like banks” or “I like banks.” When there are the big banks, the big four: the B of A, Wells Fargo, Chase, Citi. And then we have community banks.

 

Community bankers all across the country, they’re the life of our banking system. They’re the heartbeat. It’s actually a lower touch point for consumers and FinTech with the dramatic decline in a number of community institutions that has really opened up this opportunity for a FinTech. And the reason being is it’s a direct touch point.

 

So if you were to say “I want to use my mobile device” or “I want to use my online to do banking without having to actually drive to an institution and deal with all their policies and all of the things that go with it,” it’s a faster connection point. And I think we’re probably going to see a lot of that in these business loans the PPP loans through the stimulus plan.

 

TN: How do we actually execute that from the Treasury to the small business owner or to the individual that needs help? So, do you think that some of these FinTechs are kind of non-banks? I mean, would you consider them kind of non-banks within this system? Do you think they’ll be able to do this stuff faster? And I don’t mean this as a negative to banks. Banks are highly regulated. Do you think some of these FinTechs will be able to do some of this stuff faster?

 

DM: It depends on which way you look at it. Because here’s the deal: so when we talk about banking and then we talked about FI FinTech and then FinTech. So a bank is a chartered institution and FI FinTech is a technology arm of that like online banking, mobile banking. A FinTech is something that looks like a bank, talks like a bank, but it doesn’t have a charter. It’s not really a bank. So they have to partner with an existing bank to charter. So there’s a bank behind every FinTech company. So when you think of Chime and companies like that, there’s an actual bank behind that company that’s doing the regulatory side of this to protect consumers.

 

TN: You guys track a lot of data around banking and real estate and consumer stuff and industry stuff. Are you seeing any data that’s really talking about or raising your worries about the velocity of money about how quickly people are spending? Are you seeing that data? If it’s worrying you, when does that worry end for you? Do you see us going back in to say a quasi-normal situation within the next two months or something?

 

DM: Predicting the future I’ve never really been a big proponent of. That’s your business. But for us, what we look at are key components.

 

One way to measure things right now is to look at a mortgage note on a 15 or a 30. What is the spread between, what we would call in the old days, prime and what is the asking rate on that loan So you’re generally looking at above 3 percent. And as long as you’re looking at that, that’s a strong indication that there’s a lot of refis going on right now. And so the spread is there. That’s an adequate spread for banks to make money. There’s a huge volume of it going on. And as long as we see that volume and people continue to go to the bank, cash their checks, direct deposit always helps.

 

When we use our debit cards, when we go out and do the things that we do. Changing our mechanism of spending money whether it’s through Amazon as opposed to going through the mall doesn’t change the fact that you’re still spending money. Those are all positive things.

 

But I think the one thing we want to keep an eye on is the volume of lending. Everyone in a situation like this is going to have a tendency to kind of climb up a little bit. And, as long as that continues to flow, and one of the primary things that I’d be looking at is refis and other lending types of loan, etc.

 

TN: Are there any specific indicators you’re looking at on the commercial side to see if people are climbing up?

 

DM: I don’t really see anything from that perspective. I don’t think people are running out there right now at a time like this. It’s fairly obvious. You wouldn’t want to run out and start a new construction project or something like that. Those are gonna have an impact. There’s no way around it, but there again that’s what stimulus is there to offset.

 

Right now, I would say we’ve got a very healthy banking system. We’re coming out of a very healthy economy and so what’s our time frame of a bounce-back is it going to be a v-bottom or is it going to be spread out? I think it’ll be a little more spread out than a V-bottom and I think they’ll probably be multiple cycles of this that go on to some degree.

 

But starting from a really healthy position in our banking system and in our economy, this will pass. And when it does, here’s the thing I think is so interesting, unprecedented levels of stimulus and, the old saying you don’t fight the Fed, right? So does the market go up and we have a stimulated economy? Of course it does. And with this level of pent-up demand and stimulus, will there be a bounce back? Yeah, there’ll be a bounce back. The question is how huge will it be and how fast?

 

TN: That’s great Dave. It’s a huge source of optimism. Thank you so much for that and I really appreciate that you’ve taken the time to join us today. So really appreciate your time and and thanks very much for, for all that you’ve shared with us today. I really appreciate it.

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