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L E A D I N G

A D V O C A T E

F O R

T H E

B A N K I N G

I N D U S T R Y

I N

K A N S A S

10

T

HE 2015 BANK LEADERS OF KANSAS

(BLOK) class met in Kansas City for their second

session in late March. An Urban Banker Panel

was the first order of business with discussion

that explored all facets of the complicated urban

market and the challenging aspects of remaining competitive

in the Kansas City region. Panelists included Kurt Knutson,

President and Founder of Freedom Bank in Overland Park;

Travis Hicks, CEO of TriCentury Bank in De Soto; and John

Price, Executive Vice President at Valley View State Bank

in Overland Park. The class was in for a great evening when

Dr. Bruce Morgan followed the bank panel discussion with a

presentation titled, “What’s the Future for Community Banks?”

Covering statistical trends and real world experience, Dr.

Morgan shared insight on the best performing banks and his

vision on the future of the industry.

Session two incorporates a visit to the Kansas City Federal

Reserve Bank. The highlight of this segment is a personal

welcome and economic update from Esther George, President

and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of

Kansas City. She started with good news that the U.S. economy

is the bright spot in the world due to the engagement of the

U.S. consumer, who is spending more discretionary money and

seems to have lost its appetite for debt. Inflation is very low,

however, George doesn’t feel that it is harmful at this point.

She continued that while a 2% inflation rate is the goal set

by the Fed, oil prices have a downward push that prevents it

from happening. There is concern that interest rates could be

held down past June if headline inflation drops to zero. This

creates an uneasiness for her because history has shown that

when the Federal Reserve waits too long to make adjustments

then the interest rates jump drastically, in reaction to economic

indicators, rather than moving up gradually. George did make

the comment that she didn’t know what the next crisis might

be; stating that the distorted price signals in the market today,

due to long term zero interest rates, make it hard to read. She

closed by conveying that the U.S. economy has shifted from

manufacturing to servicing because jobs go unfilled in skilled

labor. The emphasis on obtaining college degrees that don’t

include skills for specific jobs has become unbalanced. The

U.S. needs to think about how we train people and where to

invest for education. The visit to the Federal Reserve Bank

also included presentations on the history of the central bank

and a look at current banking conditions in Kansas.

The class attended the 2015 Tri-State Leadership and HR

Conference as the second half of the session.

BLOK SESSION 2

Urban Banker Panel - Kurt Knutson (President of

Freedom Bank, Overland Park), Travis Hicks (CEO

of TriCentury Bank, DeSoto), John Price (EVP,

Valley View State Bank, Overland Park)

Dr. Bruce Morgan (Professional Bank

Consultants, LLC)

President of the Federal Reserve Bank of

Kansas City Esther George welcomes the

2015 BLOK class.

Mikel Hadachek (Astra Bank, Belleville), Shan Hanes (First National Bank of

Elkhart, Elkhart), Brad Zimmerman (Bucklin National Bank branch GNB, Bucklin),

Matt Hoefer (The First State Bank & Trust Co. of Larned, Overland Park), Brice

Malloy (Legacy Bank, Wichita), Barbara Christ (Arvest Bank, Overland Park), Elsa

Havel (Grant County Bank, Ulysses), Melissa Jackson, Assistant Vice President,

Public Information Officer (Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City)

Scott Soderstrom (INTRUST Bank, NA,

Wichita), Sam Pepper, Jr. (Equity Bank,

Wichita), Trent Grissom (CalTech, Olathe),

Tami Molloy (Verus Bank, Derby)