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              Emshoff                                       Hove                                        Baier

Workforce, Cannabis Among Top Issues in Banking Industry

By Scott Stewart

The Daily Record

The Nebraska Bankers Association elected its 2019-20 officers last Thursday at its annual conference in La Vista.

The Daily Record caught up with the association’s leadership last week to discuss current trends in the banking industry.

Alan Emshoff, president and CEO of Generations Bank in Exeter, is the chairman of the Nebraska Bankers Association. He said workforce issues are front and center in the banking industry, as they are in other fields that require talented employees.

“We, obviously, just like everybody else, need additional talent in our banks,” Emshoff said. 

Farmers are having a hard time with flooding, trade disputes, a strong dollar and an oversupply of commodity crops. He said banks can be an adviser, and he said land values have remained stable, which helps farm communities.

“Nobody knows how long it is going to last,” Emshoff said. “For the most part, our producers are hanging in there, but it hasn’t been easy.”

Chris Hove, president and CEO of Nebraska Bank of Commerce in Lincoln, is the new chairman-elect of the Nebraska Bankers Association. He said that the industry needs to educate millennials about how to use credit and other financial products correctly.

“It’s a trend that we’re seeing is people aren’t saving money, which results in them not having as much to buy a house and to build wealth,” Hove said.

Hove said many young people are fearful of taking on debt, but he said that borrowing has its place – so long as borrowers don’t live beyond their means.

“Debt can be a good thing if it’s used the right way,” Hove said. “It’s certainly something that will help you build wealth and get to your dreams.”

Richard Baier, president and CEO of the Nebraska Bankers Association, said federal regulation of cannabis banking might be changing in those states where it’s allowed under state law. He said Nebraska banks do business on the front range of Colorado, so it’s an issue that remains murky but could have more certainty about what’s legal going forward.

“At this point, our banking industry has avoided banking marijuana-related businesses,” Baier said. “Obviously, this is a big-picture issue that we need to be discussing across the country and getting our arms around it.”

Baier said the continued expansion of the credit union industry remains a focus of the Nebraska Banking Association, which he said has opposed territory expansion for some credit unions.

“You have a different regulatory environment. You have a different taxing environment,” Baier said. “For our friends who are dealing with flood recovery in Nebraska, think about the fact right now that your local banks are supporting efforts through their taxes to help with recovery efforts. Your friends in the credit union industry are not.”

Find more information on the Nebraska Bankers Association on its website, nebankers.org.


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