By Nicholas D. Moore, Senior Consultant, Crowe LLP
The Crowe Annual Financial Institutions Compensation and Benefits Survey collects benchmarking information on salary, benefits, and human resource practices across the nation. Crowe’s survey is sponsored by Tennessee Bankers Association to provide the survey to its members and produce a Tennessee state report for the third year. In 2018, there were 63 Tennessee banks that participated in the survey providing valuable data used by banks across the state to make better informed decisions based on the current market.
This year’s National Survey results indicate a continued trend of increasing salaries for back office talent. As the need to attract talent in the face of increasing turnover remains a top concern for banks, the chief human resources officer saw a significant median salary increase in 2018. Other back office positions such as commercial loan processor, loan operations processor, and data entry/item processing clerk also received higher-than-average salary increases. This could be another reflection of the tight labor market. With banks facing increased competition for lower level talent from other industries, there is growing consideration of increased pay levels. While most branch positions saw an increase in salaries, the top retail banking officer had lower salaries in 2018 when compared to pay in the 2017 survey. With banks continuing to rethink their approach to their branch networks, the top retail position may be perceived as less valuable. On the other hand, the chief information officer position saw an above-average increase in 2018. As banks consider their digital banking strategy, IT is taking an important role in helping banks evolve in the coming years. As a result, banks are likely to continue to emphasize IT related positions.
In the Tennessee market, there are some distinct shifts in salary for several different functions. This may outline a shift in operations or focus moving forward but will be important to monitor. Positions like top administration officer, accountant, retail banking officer, commercial loan manager, and operations manager all saw large percentage increases over the 2016 to 2018 period. While other areas such as commercial credit department manager and loan workout manager saw larger than expected decreases over the three-year period. A couple of other areas of interest are the increases for card and IT-related positions and may be an indication of expectations for those departments' value for banks in the coming years. Another area of interest for Tennessee is the increased demand for project managers and training. As banks look to tackle more complex problems and implement more software and systems, it becomes critical to have experienced project managers and trainers to ensure successful projects.
While there were certainly differences between the national and Tennessee market, the overall trends remain aligned. Both markets are showing an increased need for strong information technology and human resources leadership in order to position the banks for future success. The national and Tennessee economies continue to be strong through 2018 and create upward pay pressure in many of the job positions. Any growth or shift in bank priorities are likely to be reflected in salary changes and will be important to watch as many banks become more invested in online and digital capabilities.
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