By Greg Paeth
A strong economy equals a strong demand for banking and financial services. Greater Louisville is chock full of expertise to meet the needs of its ever-growing business scene and to advise an evolving client base that is wondering how to manage its assets an unprecedented 10 years into an economic expansion.
“The biggest growth has been in financial planning. A lot of people are retiring and they will say, ‘I have $1 million and I want it to last for 20 years’,” said Dan Cupkovic, director of investments for ARGI Financial Services, which is headquartered in Louisville and has four other offices in the state and one each in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.
That kind of a directive from a client allows Cupkovic to develop a strategy that enables that retiree to live off that million dollars without losing sleep.
He said he’s also seen an uptick in business borrowing because of concerns about whether interest rates might rise later this year in the event that the Federal Reserve nudges up the federal funds rate.
“I think there are some companies that want to get as much cheap debt (with lower rates) as they can,” said Cupkovic, who has worked in financial services for 14 years, including the last 12 with ARGI.
Although there’s nothing chiseled in stone at this point, the Federal Reserve said in mid-March that it’s unlikely that it will raise the fed funds rate anytime this year.
It’s also clear that economic news won’t be positive forever, Cupkovic said
“We are in the longest bull market since the Civil War,” he said, “so we know that it’s going to end. It’s just a matter of when.”
But an expected downturn in the markets somewhere down the road hasn’t stopped ARGI from broadening its footprint in the state. The company opened an office in Paducah last year and acquired another firm in Elizabethtown, some 45 miles south of Louisville, in January.
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Banks staying aggressive
The FDIC reported 40 banking institutions in the Louisville market with $27.6 billion in deposits as of its June 2018 data. German American Bank seems equally convinced that there’s plenty of room for growth in Kentucky.
In addition to recently acquired branches in the Louisville metropolitan area, German American has offices in Lexington, Bowling Green, Franklin and Owensboro. The bank also announced in February that it had reached an agreement to acquire Citizens First Bank of Bowling Green. If regulators approve that transaction, German American will add eight branches in and near Bowling Green. A third office in Owensboro opened in early June and another branch is under construction in Henderson.
German American, headquartered in Jasper, Ind., entered the Louisville market in 2016, when it acquired River Valley Financial Bank in Madison, Ind., and RVFB’s five branches just north of the Ohio River across from Louisville in Southern Indiana.
At the time of the acquisition, German American made it clear that the purchase was strategic.
“River Valley has a strong presence with five banking offices in the vibrant and rapidly growing market area of the Indiana side of … Louisville … a market that German American has recently entered,” German American said.
“Four of the five (branches) show increases in transaction counts and from new customers at a time when more and more people bank online with their phone or their tablet,” said Adrian Brown, market president for the counties where the branches are located.
At this point, Brown said, German American has no immediate plans to expand in the Louisville market on the Kentucky side of the river.
But that shouldn’t be interpreted as a “no growth” strategy.
German American likes to expand in counties that have growing populations where there’s low unemployment, stability and “engaged economic development organizations,” said Mike Beckwith, Kentucky division president.
Nearly $1 billion in new projects last year
At PNC Bank, Chuck Denny, regional president for Greater Louisville, was predictably enthusiastic about the local market, where new projects valued at $972 million were announced last year.
Louisville’s emergence as one of the country’s major players in logistics received plenty of attention from Denny.
“The logistical strategic advantages provided by the UPS Worldport is an enormous driver of our success and future growth. Only a handful of cities in the world possess this game-changing competitive air freight transportation advantage. We are one of the world’s few,” he said.
UPS is the biggest employer in Jefferson County, where it has more than 21,000 employees, according to Greater Louisville Inc.
Optimism in the tech space
Denny also expressed optimism about the growth of technology firms in the region and metropolitan Louisville’s status as one of the country’s “Rise of the Rest Cities” as defined by billionaire AOL co-founder Steve Case, who toured the metro with a busload of investors in 2018.
Case’s visit “underscored the great progress we have made and the enormous opportunities that are ahead,” Denny said.
Big players – new and old
Although it’s far too early to determine if it will have measurable impact on financial services in Louisville, the early April ownership change for Hilliard Lyons is on the radar for people who know how money moves in and around Louisville.
Hilliard Lyons’ Louisville roots can be traced back to 1854.
Ownership of the firm has changed twice in the past 20 years. But when the ink dried on the agreement, Hilliard Lyons became identified as “A Baird Company,” a reference to the Milwaukee-based investment firm that now is its parent.
The Hilliard Lyons-Baird combination offers services that include international wealth management, trust and estate planning, investment banking, municipal finance and asset management.
Hilliard Lyons had revenues of about $280 million last year, while Baird, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, had revenues of nearly $1.8 billion.
Hilliard Lyons’ top leadership – chairman & CEO Jim Allen, president Tom Kessinger III, and Alan Newman, executive vice president and director, private wealth – will continue in their roles to ensure a smooth transition for the firm and its clients.
The Underwriters Group
1700 Eastpoint Pkwy.
Louisville, KY 40223
The Underwriters Group is a privately owned, and truly independent, risk management firm helping businesses protect their people, assets and their futures.
Founded in 1941, The Underwriters Group is built on a solid foundation of individualized customer service and commercial insurance expertise. For three generations, the private, family-owned business has championed its clients’ missions, protecting their interests and making sure they are poised to succeed.
The Underwriters Group has become a leader in commercial insurance products and an innovative service provider by putting its customers first. Whether it’s designing and implementing risk management solutions or servicing existing policies, this approach leads to the development of unique client relationships, providing more clarity in understanding our customers’ business needs.
MCM CPAs & Advisors
2600 Meidinger Tower
462 S. Fourth St.
Louisville, KY 40202
As the largest CPA firm in Kentucky, MCM CPAs & Advisors provides highly specialized tax, audit and advisory services to a broad range of clients and industries. Privately and publicly held businesses, not-for-profits, small businesses and individuals across the region and throughout the country receive personalized attention and local access from national-level talent.
MCM combines the technical and industry expertise of larger firms without sacrificing the attention and personal service of a local firm. MCM has offices in Louisville and Lexington in Kentucky, as well as in Jeffersonville and Indianapolis, Ind., and Cincinnati.
German American Bank
8005 Highway 311
Sellersburg, IN 47172
German American Bank is dedicated to helping individuals, families and businesses achieve greater prosperity and quality of life. The financial team builds lasting client relationships based on integrity, responsive service, innovation, and shared values. German American supports the communities it serves and believes when a community thrives, its people prosper.
From banking technology that is continually enhanced to stay abreast of the latest advancements, to local, responsive decision making by a talented team of local professionals, German American Bank maintains a strong business banking focus and is the ideal choice for a broad range of financial needs.
American Founders Bank
The Bank – Oldham County
Louisville – bbt.com
Bedford, Ky. – bedfordbank.com
Louisville – centralbank.com
Louisville – chase.com
Citizens Deposit Bank
Eminence, Ky. – cdbt.com
Citizens Union Bank of Shelbyville
Shelbyville, Ky. – cubbank.com
Commonwealth Bank & Trust Co.
Louisville – cbandt.com
Louisville – eclipsebank.com
Fifth Third Bank
Louisville – 53.com
First Capital Bank of Kentucky
Louisville – fcbok.com
First Financial Bank
First Harrison Bank
Corydon, Ind. – firstharrison.com
First Savings Bank, F.S.B.
Clarksville, Ind. – fsbbank.net
Louisville – forchtbank.com
German American Bank
Jasper, Ind. – germanamerican.com
Lincoln National Bank
Bardstown, Ky. – mylnb.com
Louisville – metrobankky.com
Mid-Southern Savings Bank
Salem, Ind. – mid-southern.com
The New Washington State Bank
New Washington, Ind. – newwashbank.com
Old National Bank
Louisville – pnc.com
Southern Indiana – regions.com
Louisville – republicbank.com
River City Bank
Louisville – rivercitybankky.com
Springfield State Bank
Springfield, Ky. – springfieldstate.com
Stock Yards Bank & Trust
Louisville – syb.com
Town & Country Bank and Trust Co.
Bardstown, Ky. – mytcbt.com
United Citizens Bank & Trust Company
Campbellsburg, Ky. – unitedcitizensbank.com
Louisville – usbank.com
Wilson & Muir Bank & Trust Co.
Bardstown, Ky. – wilsonmuirbank.com
Louisville – baldwincpas.com
Louisville – bkd.com
Blue & Co. LLC
Louisville – blueandco.com
Louisville – crowe.com
Dean Dorton Allen Ford PLLC
Louisville – deandorton.com
Louisville – deloitte.com
Deming Malone Livesay & Ostroff PSC
Louisville – dmlo.com
Ernst & Young LLP
Louisville – ey.com
Harding Shymanski & Co. PSC
Louisville – hsccpa.com
Henderman, Jessee & Co. PLLC
Louisville – hjcocpas.com
Jones Nale & Mattingly PLC
Louisville – jnmcpa.com
Louisville – kpmg.com
Louis T. Roth & Co. PLLC
Louisville – ltroth.com
Mather & Co. CPAs LLC
Louisville – matherandcompany.com
Monroe Shine CPAs
New Albany, Ind. – monroeshine.com
Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP
Louisville – mcmcpa.com
Louisville – pwc.com
Rodefer Moss & Co. PLLC
New Albany, Ind. – rodefermoss.com
Strothman & Co. PSC
Louisville – strothman.com
Louisville – welenken.com