MBA in Finance from University of St. Thomas; Graduate Degree in Banking, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Expert in banking and savings, bankruptcy, business financing, debt and economic review
Brad Stevens graduated with a BA in economics and finance from St. Cloud State University, and went on to earn an MBA in finance from the University of St. Thomas. To augment his banking career, he completed a year-long course at the Commercial Banking School at the University of Oklahoma. And to achieve a senior management position in banking, he completed the three-year program at the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
After beginning his commercial banking career in Minneapolis with Norwest Bank, Brad Stevens moved on to work with struggling banks. Assigned a troubled branch for a small community bank, he made it profitable within 18 months — allowing the bank to sell that branch at a profit.
Thereafter, he took on the senior credit officer position at two struggling community banks that had assumed an inordinate amount of risk. While there, he reassessed the credit culture, developed a new credit policy that included fresh front-end guidance and worked with financially deficit clients to restructure their debt or develop an exit strategy.
He spent the last 11 years working as a commercial relationship manager at a regional bank that branched out into a new metropolitan market. During his tenure, he built a commercial portfolio of $42 million — in which there was never a 30-day late payment or loss within the clients that he managed.
Publications and accomplishments
Stevens has written articles for several industry publications and often lends his financial skills throughout the community.
Northwestern Financial Review
The Network News of the Tri-State Manufacturers’ Association
Current board member of the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge
Former board member and treasurer of River of Life Church and Fremont Community Health Clinic
Former board member for several local business and manufacturing nonprofits
Industry insights from Brad Stevens
We asked Stevens to flex his expertise in the banking, insurance and small business industries by answering a few questions on trends he predicts for the near future.
What trends in the insurance industry do you predict will be huge in 2021 and beyond?
“There will be a rewrite of many commercial policies to indemnify the insurers from pandemic claims. Insurance companies are exempting policy coverage on lawsuits that are accusing companies of exposing either clients or employees to COVID-19. This will remove the deep pockets that the plaintiffs are seeking to recover damages. How commercial entities will address this issue beyond having waivers signed by everyone going forward is unknown.”
What common mistakes do small business owners make when looking for financing?
“They overestimate their future earnings and underestimate how much the debt will actually cost them. They really need to develop a relationship with trusted advisers like a good banker, lawyer and accountant — people who will look out for them.
Business owners need to understand what is causing their cash shortfall that requires the debt they are looking for. They then need to assess the self liquidating asset that will repay the debt. Does the asset provide enough cash? Does the return on investment make sense? What is the best financing structure — a line of credit or a term loan?”
What industries do you see on the rise — and on the decline — due to the coronavirus pandemic?
“Manufacturing, fabrication and distribution are all positively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. These industries are capable of improving efficiencies that are attacked by social distancing by investing in new equipment. More and more manufacturing is being on-shored from overseas, which is producing a strong growth potential.
Certain service companies will do well also. People services, such as accounting firms and legal firms, are finding ways to assist their clients remotely without issue. They are easily able to work remotely and probably should have been for years, without hurting efficiency.
Retail, hospitality and services that require face-to-face interaction, and commercial real estate are being crushed due to the pandemic. Any industry related to travel will not come back for years.
The business model for restaurants no longer works in the COVID-19 world. Most were able to be profitable at 75% capacity, but not at 50% or lower. Outside eating in most areas is not feasible in colder climates. This is the same with many face-to-face services such as salons and gyms. The capacity restriction kills them.
Lastly commercial real estate is already collapsing. This includes any property that is not owner-occupied, be it commercial or residential. The lack of rental income due to vacant property or the lack of collection of rent due to eviction moratoriums push the owners into a cash crunch that’s already creating a rise in loan delinquencies. This will cause a massive deflation in the value of commercial real estate in 2021.”
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