Outlook 2022: what awaits us for the year ahead
The rulers of the eastern West Bank
Some Eastern West Bank executives anticipate industry trends, learnings and personal goals for 2022.
The past two years have been a particularly turbulent time for global industries, economies and populations. But with the start of a new year comes the twin benefits of hindsight and anticipation. Here, seven of our leaders and team leaders from the Eastern West Bank share their thoughts and insights on the trends they foresee in their industries, what they’ve learned since the pandemic began, and what they hope 2022 will bring.
Michael Burr – Senior Managing Director and Head of Texas, Commercial Lending
My macro thoughts for 2022 surround inflation and the inevitable rate hikes. While I am confident in our team’s ability to analyze and assess everyone’s risks, the psychological impact and potential hesitation in capital allocation decisions is an area worth watching.
In a bizarre twist, the pandemic has given the consumer and many businesses an opportunity to address balance sheet issues (through debt reduction) and conserve significant cash. I believe these factors will help offset inflation/rate increases and potentially create more opportunities for EWB and our Central Region teams as this financial flexibility and pursuit of growth initiatives are strategically utilized.
Maytal Shainberg – Senior Vice President and Director, New Media Group
Connected TV has had a huge year in 2021, and we expect that trend to continue, especially when it comes to mergers and acquisitions and IPOs, especially as one in three Americans n has more traditional pay TV.
Last year was a strong year for my team, representing over $600 million for our clients, and we look forward to being a market leader in 2022. The new media market has been very hot . Now is the time to raise capital. and go into debt at the same time. Additionally, as more and more consumers turn to online banking, I am excited to work with different teams within East West Bank to find us partners and accelerate our growth in this evolving segment. .
On a personal note, I welcomed another child in 2021, so I can’t wait to see Ava grow up with her sister Grace and brother Zay this year!
Reza Sabahi – Senior Managing Director of Specialty Lending
Enterprise Software Adoption
The world of technology is constantly changing. This year, we expect more businesses, large and small, to embrace enterprise software. We also expect to see expanded use cases for this B2B (business-to-business) software and for these B2B software companies to migrate to a subscription-based revenue model.
The past year has been an exciting year for my team: we provided funding to the world’s largest EdTech company in units shipped, one of the world’s largest enterprise data analytics companies, and we are currently working with one of the largest fintech companies in Latin America that is growing in the United States and Canada.
For 2022, I hope my team enjoys the fruits of their hard work, as we continue to collaborate, act quickly, and find creative solutions to our customers’ needs. And on a personal note, I’m looking to spend more time with my beautiful wife and daughter!
Andrew Stein – Senior Managing Director and Head of Commercial Banking and Specialty Finance, Eastern Region
Despite the continued overhead of COVID-19 on the economy, consistent with the past two years, we continue to see very strong growth opportunities in the commercial and industrial (C&I) space and in specialist verticals such as structured finance , health care and projects. finance. There are always good opportunities for us to get involved, and the pipeline will be very strong this year.
Our structured finance business remains our growth engine, with continued solid growth opportunities. This year, we will be adding MRB to the financing funds of structured finance companies that provide debt financing to MRB companies. Health care is our newest business on the East Coast, and we are focused on very strong growth this year. For project financing, we plan to move away from gas-fired fossil fuel projects and more towards new renewable energy technologies such as anaerobic digestion, pulp projects and battery storage.
I also look forward to traveling again this year and attending conferences, seeing clients in person, and going out to dinner with clients to celebrate closing deals. The job market has been very volatile, but fortunately we are in very interesting companies that attract very talented people. It will be nice to have less remote work and see our colleagues in the office more consistently.
Michael Hayashida – Senior Managing Director and Head of Foreign Exchange Risk Management
Cross-border payments and digital banking
The last couple of years have been volatile for FX, and I expect some of that to continue into 2022. Rising global interest rates, especially in the US, which is expected to now end in April and have up to four rate hikes before the end of 2022 to stem inflationary pressures. This could trigger a flight to traditional safe havens if uncertainty and risk aversion persist in global financial markets (i.e. pandemic and other geopolitical risks). Alternatively, as global economies move in a more positive direction, increased risk appetite could lead to increased foreign investment, but also the need for more currency risk management solutions.
The Global FX team has been blessed with a record year of business growth and revenue in 2021. This year, the team will be very focused on supporting the Bank’s digital initiatives. I’ve always said, you almost can’t say “Cross Border–Bridge Banking” without using “FX” in the same sentence – the two go together. Specifically, my team aims to provide cross-border payments support to facilitate the widespread adoption of East West Bank’s Velo app, as well as the continued growth of the Bank’s digital banking footprint. We are especially excited to launch a highly anticipated product that will allow our customers to further streamline their international payments and currency risk management by leveraging a robust online e-commerce platform.
While I can’t wait for Covid to be in the rear view mirror, the past two years have taught us a few things, like the need to be flexible and adaptable, and the need for improved technology to stay competitive. I hope to look back on the past two years as a catalyst to propel the world into a new era of innovation, collaboration and interdependence.
Robert Lo – Executive Vice President and Head of Commercial Real Estate Banking
Low-income and affordable housing
The past two years have not been easy in the commercial real estate market. Hotels have been particularly hard hit and many restaurants, retailers and businesses have been unable to open as trade has all but ceased. Office buildings have still not recovered as many companies continue to work remotely, especially with omicron continuing to postpone return to office dates. However, many of our customers have been able to survive with the help of our Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and some, such as those in the residential and multi-family markets, have even thrived.
One area that East West Bank has strategically targeted for growth in 2021 and 2022 is our Low Income Housing and Affordable Housing Tax Credit through our off-balance sheet credit enhancement product, led by Deborah Beveridge. In late 2021, we hired John Chan, who has decades of experience in this field, to lead this initiative so we can help facilitate the distribution of federal and state funds to end homelessness. We also recently established a 360 degree relationship with San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity, where we hope to help facilitate the creation of more affordable housing in our community.
Looking back on the last 2 years, I am forever grateful to have the opportunity to be part of the East West Bank team, where we have distributed $2.7 billion in PPP funds to over 12,000 business owners .
Renee Chang – Senior Vice President, Personal and Commercial Banking
Mobile banking and employee engagement
For 2022, one of my main priorities is to engage even more with my employees and develop talent. It’s been a really tough two years for everyone, and I want to make sure my team knows they’re being recognized for all their hard work. Recognition and acknowledgment go a long way, and as leadership, it’s the least we can do to show our support for our frontline associates.
We are also continuing our efforts to help our customers go digital. There were many challenges initially, but now they are slowly opening up and seeing the value in the convenience of mobile and online banking. Now, with almost every transaction, we say, have you tried our app? Hey, you can make that international transfer on our mobile app!
Although we have a digital focus, my goal is to get back to basics and get some of that face-to-face customer interaction once omicron shuts down. One of East West Bank’s key differentiators is our ability to build relationships. In-person meetings are key to building relationships, which lead to meaningful local referrals.
On a personal note, I’m in detox/healthy mode. I drink more water and get up at 6 a.m. to jog. That never happens, it’s freezing cold! It’s about getting fit, getting healthy for me, and now I feel like I have an abundance of energy compared to last year!
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