Whitepaper

The middle-market sector is one of the US economy’s major growth drivers, with its critical contributions such as large and sustainable revenue and job creation to the national and state economies. The performance of and outlook for the sector are credible and leading indicators of the health of the entire US economy.

This white paper studies recent and ongoing transformation in the US commercial banking landscape, especially in the middle-market sector. It evaluates current challenges in the sector and reviews some of the top strategic focus areas of banks in this sector. It also discusses possible measures to overcome these challenges and key factors that the banks should strategically focus on.

Key Takeaways

We summarise below three key focus areas around which middle-market commercial banks are currently re-inventing their operations, innovating their products and service channels, and re-shaping their strategies:

• Platform: As the speed, ease, and mode of banking continue to shift towards mobile and digital media, adoption of a fully integrated, multi-channel, core banking/lending platform has become not a choice but a necessity for middle-market commercial banks
• People: A bank’s system/operational transformation journey cannot be successful without a cohesive and re-imagined people strategy. Upskilling on newer systems and technologies, dynamic workforce planning, and creating a millennial-friendly work culture are a few of the ways in which banks are positioning themselves to survive and thrive in the ongoing battle for banking talent
• Pricing: To offset the rising pricing pressure and deal with intense competition, many middle-market commercial banks are upgrading their prospecting and core lending functions to unified, automated, and cloud-based digital platforms, while others are choosing to partner with fintech firms for improved quote response times and greater cost efficiencies


Authors

Narayan Somani

Associate Director, Commercial Lending

Narayan has over 12 years of experience in credit analysis covering multiple asset classes, including loans (bilateral and syndicated), fixed income securities and project finance for a diverse clientele comprising corporate and investment banks, commercial banks, asset managers, and hedge funds. At Acuity Knowledge Partners, he leads several delivery teams supporting banks in credit analysis of syndicated and middle-market exposures. Narayan has expertise in loan process consulting and support, end-to-end loan underwriting and credit monitoring, including process transformation. He is well-versed in regulatory requirements in the US and Europe with respect to loan portfolio monitoring. Narayan holds an MBA with specialisation in Finance from ICFAI Business School and B.Com (Hons.) in Accountancy.

Vivek Krishna

Assistant Director, Commercial Lending

Vivek has over 13 years of experience in commercial credit underwriting, credit portfolio monitoring and corporate and investment banking. At Acuity Knowledge Partners, he leads a service delivery team managing end-to-end credit portfolio monitoring of C&I and specialised lending portfolio of a large banking client, with earlier stints as Credit Manager (wholesale originations) and Senior Equipment Finance Underwriter. He is experienced in conducting in-depth credit reviews, stressed assets quality reviews and event/regulatory impact analysis. Vivek also holds strong domain knowledge in global healthcare and oil and gas industries. Prior to Acuity, he has worked in financial/credit research roles with firms including Citibank, Guggenheim Partners and ICICI Bank. Vivek is a Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers (CAIIB). He also holds an MBA with specialisation in Corporate Finance and Investment Banking from ITM Business School.

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