Time to Look Ahead
Insights - December 2023

Internal Links Bruce Whitehurst

Tough times never last, but tough people do.
– Robert H. Schuller

It’s been a year, hasn’t it? This has been a frequent topic of conversation I have found myself in while reflecting on this past year of knowns and unknowns.

We knew in January that the current economic and interest rate environment would be challenging. We did not know that by March we would see two of the largest bank failures in American history take place, and in rapid and shocking fashion; it wasn’t on anyone’s bingo card for 2023, as I heard several people say.

While the disruptive events of this spring certainly added to the uncertainty as to how the rest of the year would unfold, we can now look back and appreciate the reality that those two bank failures, and one that followed, were indeed isolated events and not another financial crisis like the one we experienced in 2008. Dialogue continues in banking, with bank regulators and with policymakers, about what we can learn from these disruptive events and how we can be better prepared going forward.

Economists and investment professionals offer differing views on how our economy will fare in 2024 – soft landing versus recession, for example – yet there seems to be more consensus around inflation continuing to head in the right direction, which could mean we are at or near the end of increasing rates. These things are among our unknowns for 2024 and only time will tell.

Topping our list of knowns is this: we will continue to work together to effect positive change that benefits banks’ customers and the communities they serve. We will remain in active dialogue with our state and federal legislators and regulators as we advocate for a banking environment that allows banks to keep investing in community and economic development.

As Andy Warhol said, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” Here’s to a great 2024 and let’s keep pressing for positive change.