Insights & News

What's new at Artisan Advisors and in the world around us.  

Managing Your Core Vendor is Key to a Successful Relationship

With increasing frequency, we are encountering banks that, for a variety of reasons, no longer have a productive relationship with a technology vendor, primarily their core vendor. As this relationship falters, many bank leaders consider converting to a new vendor, which is neither easy nor inexpensive. But remaining in a dysfunctional relationship is very disruptive and can prevent a bank from achieving its goals, which is significantly more costly.  The importance of a productive bank-vendor relationship has never been greater. Read more.

Artisan Unfiltered Podcast: Making Sense of CECL

The latest episode of our Artisan Unfiltered podcast series, “Making Sense of CECL,” is now available for download. It focuses on the important and timely topic Current Expected Credit Losses, or CECL. A credit loss accounting standard that was issued by Financial Accounting Standard Board in 2016 that replaced the Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses accounting standard, CECL has been a long time coming and it’s finally here. What does it mean for you?  We put together a great panel of experts to help you make sense of CECL. Listen Now.

The Artisan Advisor: Q3 2023

This helpful resource is your guide to economic and real estate outlooks for the upcoming quarter. Read Now.

Artisan Advisors Adds Core Financial Technology Consulting to its Service Portfolio

With the addition of industry veterans Stephen Heckard and Matt Bergman, Artisan Advisors is adding a new practice to its portfolio: Core Financial Technology Consulting. Strategic Consulting, Risk Management and Organization & Talent Assessment round out Artisan’s portfolio, providing banks, credit unions and non-bank financial institutions with a robust slate of critical support services. Artisan can also assist in building Fintech partnerships.

Core Financial Technology Consulting will focus on generating more favorable contract outcomes for Artisan clients, from the development and implementation of a customized and highly competitive core vendor assessment process. Artisan can now provide core vendor evaluation, managed contract renewal and in-house transition to outsourced processing assessment, among other services, in accordance with client needs. Read more.

Artisan Unfiltered Podcast: Core Financial Technology 101

The newest episode of Artisan Unfiltered has dropped! “Core Financial Technology 101” features an interview with Stephen Heckard and Matt Bergman – the two newest additions to the Artisan team – who are leading Artisan’s newest service offering. Steve and Matt are deeply knowledgeable technology solution professionals with decades of experience in selling and evaluating core processing service programs for banks, credit unions and non-bank financial institutions. Moderated by Artisan’s co-founders, Jim Adkins and Jeff Voss, the podcast explores the state of the core vendor industry and how it’s impacting financial institutions’ readiness for the challenges of an increasingly complex technology-driven future. Listen Now.

Artisan Unfiltered #9: Making your Marketing Work Harder with Data-driven Insights

We invited Michael Fisher, president and CEO of Allant Group, a data-driven journey orchestration solution provider, to sit down with Cynthia Rohde, our Managing Director of Strategic Marketing, to discuss a hot topic: how data is the way forward  for banks to ensure customers are engaged in ways they expect with audience-specific marketing. Banks, credit unions and non-bank financial institutions are facing a more diverse and demanding customer base than ever before. These two experts share their opinions and insights on how to market to your customers more effectively and achieve better, more measurable results, using the power of data analytics. Listen Now.

The Artisan Advisor: Q2 2023

This helpful resource is your guide to economic and real estate outlooks for the upcoming quarter. Read Now.

A Smoother Path to Better Banking Regulation

Currently, there are a few proposed banking regulation “fixes” being bandied about in Washington as a result of the SVB and Signature failures. As often happens with legislators, the temptation to do something without sufficient analysis of the problem is often too great to resist. Legislators would be well advised to take a measured approach as they consider what changes to make, if any, to banking legislation and regulatory oversight, especially when considering the very important issue of deposit insurance limits. Read More.

Artisan Unfiltered #8: Banking News and the Future of Regulation - Featuring IBA CEO Randy Hultgren

“Better legislation, not more legislation.” Just one of the points Artisan Advisors’ Jim Adkins and Dave Larson raised when they sat down with IBA President and former US Congressman Randy Hultgren, to discuss the recent bank seizures, the repercussions for the banking industry and where we go from here. Listen Now.

Artisan in the News - Recent Articles Featuring our Community Banking Experts

Our team of experts is widely respected in the community banking industry nationwide. Read these recent articles featuring their candid thoughts and extensive knowledge of recent banking topics. Read More.

The Artisan Advisor: Q1 2023

This helpful resource is your guide to economic and real estate outlooks for the upcoming quarter. Read Now.

A Look into the SVB and Signature Bank Collapses from the Artisan Advisors Team

Like you, the team at Artisan Advisors is processing how a $200 billion bank with a $16 billion market cap on Wednesday can fail on Friday. SVB was followed by an unprecedented Sunday seizure of Signature Bank. Even more amazing, the FDIC closed both without buyers and billions of uninsured deposits at risk. Read More

The Artisan Advisor: Q4 2022

This helpful resource is your guide to economic and real estate outlooks for the upcoming quarter. Read Now.

Artisan Unfiltered #7: Interest Rates and the Economy – What’s in Store for 2023 

Words of wisdom from special guest Ed Krei of First Bankers’ Banc Securities - noted banking and investment expert and educator - and Artisan Advisors’ Jim Adkins, Jeff Voss and Dave Larson in our latest edition of Artisan Unfiltered. Listen now to hear their unique and insightful POVs on the Fed’s latest interest rate increase and what it means for banks going into the New Year. Listen Now.

A New Digital Divide?

Do you recall the phrase Digital Divide? It refers to the ease of access to the Internet between different socioeconomic groups that could result in a disadvantage for future opportunities. I’m sensing a similar divergence today in banking between organizations who believe they can sit on the sidelines and watch the action and those who are actively addressing their strategic options with their own response to digital transformation. This market shows little to no mercy to banks slow to embrace the change. Read More

Gone in 8 Seconds: A Cautionary Tale of Marketing to Gen Z

EIGHT SECONDS. That may be the most important number that you take away from this story.  You have 8 seconds to grab Gen Z’s attention.  Just let that sink in a little.  Makes you long for the whopping 12 seconds we had with the Millennials, doesn’t it? Read More.

Building a Solid Construction Loan

Finally, the construction loan you’ve been working on for the past month — meeting with the client, gathering all the information and documents, understanding all the details, getting it blessed by your senior lender to proceed and finally underwritten — was approved.

You’re done, right?  No, not really, and you know that. Read More.

Panning for Remote Gold: Cultivating Business Leaders in a Remote Working Environment

The last 20 months have been challenging to say the least. Covid-19 has dramatically changed how we all live together and interact with each other, both socially and in the way we make our livings. Prior to the pandemic, remote working was more of a trend than the dominant form of working life it has become. Now, after all Covid-19 has put us through, working remotely is indeed the way a vast and growing number of people earn their paychecks and put food on their tables. Read More.

Community Banks – Relevant Today, Relevant Tomorrow

At a strategic retreat of family owned and closely held banks, I was privileged to connect with community institution leaders from the Upper Midwest. As we went around the room, each introduced themselves and shared a little background about their bank and what made them unique. There was an overriding theme that resonated with each individual story: a close relationship with their communities and a deep desire to serve them. Read More

What’s Lurking in your Loan Portfolio?

“Unexpected and unpleasant surprises may be lurking behind what could be interpreted as an initial rebound after such an unprecedented year.” In a recent opinion piece, this was the solemn conclusion my colleague Jeff Voss reached when he offered his evaluation of the state of community banking, once the COVID-driven government intervention completely recedes. Read More

Big Challenges Around the Bank Board Table

Artisan's Jeffrey Voss and Kathleen Marinangel recently participated in a recent webinar entitled: "Big Challenges around the Bank Board Table". If you missed it, be sure to check out the replay for an engaging and insightful conversation about the challenges community bank boards are facing today - and in the future. View the replay.

For Community Banks, the Worst May Not Be Over

There’s a lot of talk lately about getting back to normal. People are getting vaccinated. Mask restrictions are easing. Towns and cities across America are opening up again. Businesses are beginning to call people back into the office and many industries are seeing signs of real recovery. Read More.

Jim Adkins Participates in Waller Law Podcast

In this episode, we discuss the current state of affairs for banks considering the effects of the pandemic and the fast-approaching presidential election. We focus on a few key areas. First, what is happening in the economy and how that is impacting banks. Second, how banks can embark upon the strategic planning process amid all these challenges and third implementing that plan. Listen to the podcast.

Is Your Bank Ready for 2021?

History tends to repeat itself.  The Great Recession resulted in many bank failures, some recaps, and other industry consolidation.  There is no time like the present to access the strength and challenges your bank faces and develop plans to manage through 2020 into 2021. Read More.


(Spoiler alert: It Will Require you to Evaluate the Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Your Bank)

Did you know that, in June 2020, the federal financial institution regulatory agencies, in conjunction with the state bank and credit union regulators, jointly issued examiner guidance to outline the supervisory principles for assessing the safety and soundness of institutions given the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic? Read More.


It definitely could be, but let’s start with some not so ancient history.

Back in late 2008-09, the Great Recession was beginning to cause serious headaches for many banks, even the strongest ones. Earlier that year I had committed to move forward with the business plan to start a new community bank, thanks to the support of a large health insurance company supplying the initial capital.  In retrospect, I doubt we could have raised individual investor capital in a market back then without them.  Read More.


Work out is coming back. Despite a cash infusion from the federal government designed to keep small businesses afloat, many will struggle to survive this ruthless pandemic economy. More loans will become more troubled and focus will shift from normal operations to work out. It’s inevitable.

To be most effective, work out requires a trench mentality. It’s a tough fight, but everyone involved needs to work together, to come out of it as whole as possible. I’ve spent 13 years in the work out trenches and learned a few things along the way. As we enter the work out phase of this crisis, keep these tips in mind. Read More.


By this time, you have already activated your financial institution’s Pandemic and Business Continuity plans. Your regulators are contacting you for updates. You are addressing customer service and staff needs. You are also working with your vendors to determine how COVID-19 will impact the critical services they provide. It’s a strong start – but what’s next?

Everyone is working at top speed to answer that question and all the others that emerge in this rapidly changing crisis. Read More.

Hecht and Mercer Added to Artisan Roster
Artisan Advisors is pleased to announce that we have added two exceptional banking specialists to our roster: John Hecht and Ron Mercer.

John and Ron each bring decades of experience and a wealth of knowledge to Artisan. John’s C-suite track record for delivering results in both banking and corporate environments is undeniable and positions him well to provide insightful counsel to our clients on a broad range of issues. Ron’s entrepreneurial spirit and unparalleled reputation as an appraisal and workout expert combine to make him an invaluable asset on any client team. You can read more about them and their extensive experience below.  Read More.

Risky Business

I am not sure how long this pandemic will last. It will pass, but when? A stimulus package is on the way - a package designed not just to provide immediate relief, but to move the economy back to pre-virus vitality. This, of course, will require the United States to turn on the economic switch, to open the markets up, and get people back to work. Again, the question is when? Read More.

The Leap from Theory to Practice - Putting Your Business Continuity and Crisis Plans to Work

The COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve hour by hour throughout the world. The timeline for flattening the curve remains unclear. In response, federal and state governments around the country have become more aggressive in their actions to stem the spread of the virus. Clearly, we as a country are learning how to deal with a pandemic crisis on the fly. Read More.

Optimism – and a Solid Business Continuity Plan – are your Best Friends Right Now

Bankers’ attitudes about the Coronavirus pandemic mostly mirror that of the larger population. There are a number of bankers who think Coronavirus will be a short-term negative blip in what will continue to be strong operating performance over the next several years, while other bankers think this pandemic will make the financial crisis of 2008-2010 look like a walk in the park. Read More.

The Artisan Advisor

This Quarterly Real Estate Report is your guide to economic and real estate outlooks for the upcoming quarter. 

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