1st Q 2021 Market Recap

There is a collective sigh of relief from many around the country that we survived the first three months of a new administration, and all that comes along while beating down a Pandemic that will continue to be front page news for many more months to come.

The first three months of the New Year did not disappoint with the demand for talent rising, and some continued uncertainty in our political and economic situations. Despite the ongoing concerns, the economy in some industries is keeping hope alive.

The projects we mentioned in our first January post continued with incredible demand in every area of Retail, Mortgage, and Operations. Toward the end of the 1st Q, we experienced a sharp increase in new C-level positions in Credit Administration, Compliance, Accounting, Special Assets, and IT. The demand for talent is expected to outpace candidate supply for the balance of the next two quarters easily taking us into the fall.

In Q1 there were over 25 M&A deals with a median target of just under $200 million, and tangible BV of 131%. We expect the loosening of foreclosure and eviction moratoriums to further fuel M&A deals and a marked increase in classified assets. Conventional wisdom dictates this could create some available talent; however, we are not living in conventional times. The top talent understands their value and will not wait around for a retention bonus if their path is uncertain or there is poor communication, which is often the case.

In February, we shared our White Paper on how to create an employee retention program. In that piece, we talked at length about the opportunity presented by the closure of retail offices. Be sure to check that out if you did not see it. We had the pleasure of speaking virtually at a number of bank association events. We made several key hires in Commercial Lending coming into the New Year. This is a trend we expect to continue with more focus on credit trained lenders with a book of business. As this continues, we expect to see a resurgence in the use of non-compete or non-solicit agreements. We closed the quarter with three new senior level Commercial Lending leadership, and Credit Admin roles.

We are entering the 2nd Q of our new Topics Schedule to keep you better informed as a candidate and hiring manager. As a reminder, each month we share new or revised content tailored to a hiring manager and candidate perspective. In Q1, we shared new content to our website, our LinkedIn company page, as well as our individual pages on the following topics:

• Diversity and Inclusion
• Tips to write a Merger Resistant Succession Plan and how to be named a Successor
• Post COVID Career Management Tips
• How to Leverage Psychometric Testing
• Converting your Lending Talent to Special Assets
• Retention Strategies

In addition to recruiting for our clients, we made a couple key hires to help expand and grow our footprint in the Midwest, Southeast, and the addition of a new practice. We welcomed Damian Doolittle to our team as Sales Development Rep, and James Rafferty as Executive Search Consultant. Damian will help us expand our marketing and recruiting activities in new markets. Jim is going to lead our expansion efforts in the Southeast and launch a new Fintech practice early in Q2.

With COVID cases declining and vaccine distribution increasing, we expect to get back to seeing everyone face to face at an association near you soon. We are planning to attend and sponsor several in person events this summer. If there is content you would like us to address, or have feedback on any of the topics, please contact us.

Good luck in Q2!