More than an annual report—and a look at what’s ahead
CEO Mariner Kemper shares thoughts from the 2013 Annual Report and some of the challenges facing UMB in 2014.
UMB is not your typical financial organization. We are unique. With our business model, we’re more than just a bank—we’re a financial services company that owns a good-sized regional bank, an institutional asset management company, a fund services business, and a payments solutions business. That diversification, with nearly 60 percent of revenue coming from non-bank services, is key to UMB’s success. This did not come about by accident—it’s a core strategy backed by years of investment and organic growth.
There are a lot of organizations that would love to be where we are. Many banks in our size category are trying to figure out how we’ve done it—they would like to emulate it. What they will figure out is that you can’t create this overnight. Replicating UMB’s business model is not easy. It took this company 100 years to be excellent at it.
Quality has always been our focus. To find out more about our focus on quality, take a look at our 2013 Annual Report.
Challenges for 2014
1) Economic cycles – As much as we all desire calm waters, the norm has always been to experience economic cycles. When will the economy take a turn again? No one knows, but history teaches us that these factors do move up and down—so we can be confident that change is in our collective future.
When the economy was at the top, people were saying “It’s different this time.” When things were getting overheated, you’d constantly hear “But, it’s different this time.” It’s never different.
- The good news: UMB has proven over the last century that we can thrive in all economic conditions. We have a solid balance sheet and take pride in our extraordinary credit quality and are well positioned to benefit when interest rates begin to move up.
2) Bank regulation – The philosophy of expanding regulatory intervention is affecting all areas of our economy—primarily financial services. In the last four years, we have increased our own audit and compliance departments by 62 percent (and rising). Instead of helping, we believe that piling on more regulation passes on the higher costs of doing business to the consumer. To see the failure, you do not have to look further than Washington’s posturing about “too big to fail” banks. Far from solving that big-bank problem, since 2008, we have seen less than a dozen of the largest banks grow to control fully two-thirds of total U.S. banking assets.
- The good news: Regardless of government regulations, we remind our people to stay prudent and trust the practices we have had in place for more than 100 years. We’re not followers.
The Next 100
Last year, we looked back on the 100-year history of UMB. We’ve found that although many things have changed, our founding principals have remained the same. This has allowed us to weather the storms and provide solid long-term returns to our investors. The below statistics clearly show how UMB compares to the industry.
As we head into our next 100 years, our foundation remains the same as we strive to do what’s right, not what’s popular at the moment.
We hope you’ll join us on this journey of continuing our quality story.
Mr. Kemper is the chairman and chief executive officer of UMB Financial Corporation and UMB Bank, n.a. He joined UMB in 1997. Mr. Kemper is active in both civic and philanthropic endeavors. One of the causes he is most passionate about is the arts. He currently serves as a trustee and executive committee member for the Denver Art Museum and is a past board member for The Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City.