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When he’s not in the classroom, meeting with students, conducting research, or giving talks to banking or business groups, Ed Seifried, professor of economics and business, frequently serves as an adviser and consultant to the financial services sector. Often his role is facilitator for management and board strategic planning sessions with community banks.

“The area where I am most active,” Siefried notes, “is with institutions with an asset size between $500 million and $2 billion. This is a large market niche despite the wave of consolidation during the last 25 years.”

Siefried explains that institutions of this size face intense competition from the largest commercial banks and other financial institutions, such as credit unions. Because most small bank directorships are not full-time positions, most directors hold full-time positions outside the bank. Unfortunately, this means that strategic planning sessions are held on weekends, but then most retreats are held at upscale resorts.

The professor also serves as an outside chief economist for BNK Advisory Group, a community bank advising and brokerage firm based in the Lehigh Valley. He says that he very much enjoys his work with BNK, which has about 250 community bank clients, mostly in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. BNK specializes in security trading for its clients, with an emphasis on bank-qualified tax-exempt municipal bonds.

Siefried provides “economic commentary and advice regarding monetary trends and interest rate movements.” He also tracks macroeconomic conditions that might adversely affect the loan portfolios of BNK’s clients. Siefried draws two connections between his role as teacher and consultant. First, he daily sees the connection between what he teaches in class and its practical application. Second, as the department’s director of internships, he has been able to secure a number of interesting internships for students with BNK.

Siefried’s summers are devoted to training commercial bankers as a faculty member at several banking schools, including the American Banker Association’s Stonier Graduate School of Banking. Stonier holds sessions for 10 days every June at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Siefried particularly enjoys teaching applied economics to commercial bankers. It is a special treat, he notes, when a Lafayette alumnus shows up in one of his summer classes.

Categorized in: Academic News