December 31, 2022 / VOLUME NO. 242

What Is Normal Anyway? 

I had such high hopes at the start of 2022. 

After a year of on-again, off-again lockdowns and spikes in the local Covid-19 levels, I was eager to get back into a normal gym and running routine. Then I stepped off the curb during a morning run, tripped and rolled onto the outer edge of my right foot. I began 2022 with a freshly cracked metatarsal, and while I should have recalibrated what “normal” would look like for the near term, instead I became deeply frustrated at my sudden inability to get back on track.

But that begs a pretty important question: What is normal anyway? 

Covid upended the way we live, work and bank. While many employers spent the past year trying to stuff the metaphorical toothpaste back into the tube and coax workers back to the office, others lured talent who might otherwise be out of their market. 

Think back to pre-pandemic times – was a decade of near-zero interest rates normal? What about the meteoric rise in home values across much of the U.S.? 

What 2023 holds is likely anyone’s guess. A recent poll by The Wall Street Journal found pervasive pessimism about the economy going into 2023, particularly among younger participants. Two-thirds of bankers and directors who took part in Bank Director’s 2023 Bank M&A Survey say they believe the U.S. is already in a recession.  

The investment bank Raymond James & Associates predicted a volatile year ahead for bank stocks, marked by slower loan growth and rising credit costs and reserve levels. And economists with the American Bankers Association anticipate that credit quality and availability will worsen in 2023.

If I learned anything in the past year or so, it was to set a reasonable bar for what constitutes a good year – if I break no new bones in 2023, I will consider it a good year. If the industry avoids credit losses like those of the 2007-2008 recession and the double-digit unemployment rates of early Covid, then maybe 2023 can be a decent year for banking, too.

• Laura Alix, director of research for Bank Director

Top 10 Articles of 2022 From Bank Director’s Editorial Team

These staff-written articles on had more readership than any other.

Among the top 10 articles this year were Emily McCormick’s No. 2 piece “What the Heck Is Web3?” as well as the results of Bank Director’s 2022 Technology Survey and Kiah Lau Haslett’s “What to Consider as Regulators Scrutinize Bank-Fintech Partnerships.”

• Naomi Snyder, editor-in-chief of Bank Director

The Intersection of Paying and Playing in Online Video Gaming

This is a clear opportunity for banks to take advantage of growing card usage and enhance consumer engagement in online video gaming.

Turning Income Tax Payable Into Earnings

The New Markets Tax Credit can help banks convert their tax liability into earnings, while potentially providing Community Reinvestment Act benefits, deposits and loans.

How Banks Can Leverage Continuous Auditing, Continuous Monitoring

Continuous auditing and continuous monitoring are proactive review approaches that help institutions identify potential control breakdowns.

New Law Ends Pre-Dispute NDAs for Workplace Sexual Harassment, Assault Disputes

What bank boards need to know about recent legislation that ends the use of pre-dispute NDAs with regard to allegations of workplace sexual harassment and assault disputes.

Evaluating Digital Banking In 2023

To drive greater revenue via digital channels, bankers could invest in data and platforms that will provide flexibility in the future.