December 20, 2021- On today’s podcast we welcome special guest, Customers Bank CEO Sam Sidhu. Customers Bank is a full-service financial institution with nearly $20 billion in assets.

On the show, Sam discusses:

  • What he learned in investment banking and private equity that helped him as a bank CEO
  • How the company’s blockchain-based digital payment technology works
  • When Covid struck, how Customers Bank turned challenge into opportunity
  • Key performance indicators and financial metrics that bank investors should track
  • What sets Customers Bank apart as an investment opportunity
  • And more

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Welcome investors to The Absolute Return Podcast. Your source for stock market analysis, global macro musings and hedge fund investment strategies, your hosts, Julian Klymochko, and Michael Kesslering aim to bring you the knowledge and analysis you need to become a more intelligent and wealthier investor. This episode is brought to you by Accelerate Financial Technologies. Accelerate because performance matters. Find out more at

Julian Klymochko: Excited to have Sam from Customers Bank on the show today, I was going through your background, your career history Sam, and a finance veteran, starting at Goldman Sachs. You went into private equity at Providence Equity Partners, then Megalith Capital Management prior to joining Customers Bank. What I find interesting is you initially joined Customers Bank as a board member and transition to an equity or executive role later on. Can you walk us through your career and how you became ultimately CEO of Customers Bank?

Sam Sidhu: Sure, absolutely. Well, first and foremost, Julian and Mike, thanks so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here today. So, you walked through some of the major milestones you know, of my career. You know, having an undergraduate business background at Wharton, grew up in Pennsylvania, outside of the Philadelphia area in a banking family. So, you know, obviously grew up in and around banking, never thought that I would enter is the banking industry, definitely not in a management role. So, it’s quite an interesting full circle and completely, you know, not planned, but what I would say is, you know, I think I’ve always had the entrepreneurial bug in me. It started at a very young age with random side startups of online retailers and things like that at very young ages.

And when I say online retailer, not in today’s, you know, sense, we’re talking about a couple thousand dollars of aggregate revenue, but I was sort of playing around and starting small businesses. You know, even while I was growing up, but the way the Customers Bank story all came together is, you know, I joined the board about 10 years ago now. So about eight years prior to my making the decision to join the management team. And at the time I was running my Megalith Capital Management, which you mentioned as a real estate, private equity and development firm based in New York City. And you know, while at Megalith was raising funds and starting debt funds, and thinking about all these interesting ways to continue to grow the business at peak time, our company was 20 employees, right?

So that is large scale in New York real estate, private equity world. But at the same, I was running a FinTech SPAC called Megalith Financial Acquisition Corp. And through that process, the combination of the private equity and real estate development plus being on the board of Customers Bank for a long period of time and helping to start some of the technology initiatives that the banks management team was focused on. And then really spending time on the FinTech SPAC, meeting all these FinTech’s that were on the asset side, the liability side, and just generally on the efficiency and technology side around the charter. Really opened my eyes to, one singular fact, which I had not appreciated. The bank charters were all the power rested and the bank chargers where it was going to continue to rest. And the opportunity came up to join the management team. I joined as the chief operating officer in January of last year of 2020. And then took over as President & CEO in July of this year.

Julian Klymochko: Another thing that we notice is we obviously have many CEOs on the podcast, and many of them do come from an investment banking background, as you did. So, I was wondering, were there any major learnings from the investment banking and private equity industries that helps you in your role as a bank CEO?

Sam Sidhu: Sure. You know, I think that in investment banking, you know, I was in the analyst program at Goldman Sachs and at the end of the day, I call it bootcamp and many folks refer to it fondly as bootcamp. So, you’re in hyper client service mode, which I think is very important, right? Customers Bank is called Customers Bank. We put the customers first, right? So, listening to the customer, anticipating the customer’s need, but in a very manual Excel, PowerPoint based way, where you’re just trying to sort of deliver solutions and throwing spaghetti against a wall and really ineffective use of the junior folks’ time. But that results in a tremendous amount of learning and skills. So, I still lean on the early experiences that I had in just those two years of invest in banking. And it’s still because, you know, while it’s only two years, you arguably do four years or five years of repetitions.

Julian Klymochko: Right.

Sam Sidhu: And of what you would get in sort of normal course of business in a typical operating company. And that’s really difficult to beat because you get an exposure to broad swaps of while it might be industry focused, you get broad swaths of companies, big, large, emerging sectors, you know, other sub-verticals and in debt, equity. And I think it’s an experience that’s very hard to beat.

Julian Klymochko: No doubt because both Mike and myself came through the analyst programs as well. So, we know a lot about those Excel and PowerPoint All-nighters, so I feel you there. I was wondering getting into Customers Bank Business. Can you describe some of the major lines of business that you guys offer?

Sam Sidhu: Sure, absolutely. So, we are a community bank with a national reach. And what we’re essentially trying to do across the board is to use some of the business models that are out there in niche banks or banks that are excelling in various lending verticals or deposit generation verticals. We’re trying to sort of model a quote unquote bank of the future. And I don’t mean that necessarily solely in a technology perspective. What are the things that matter? you know, is it just scale? Is it focused on niche vertical? Is it credit risk management? Is interest rate risk management? Really sort of thinking very thoughtfully about how to design, you know, a bank from the ground up and that’s been in the Customers Bank DNA well before I joined, it’s essentially a startup bank in 2009 of what would have been a failing FDICS deal, where the management team kind of came in, recapitalized a 250 million bank called New Century Bank, eventually renamed it to Customers Bank, which is the bank that we have today and it’s grown, you know predominantly organically.

So, with that lens, we have community banking CNI that’s geographically focused, mostly on the Northeast, but also Chicago, DC, New England, Boston Providence, recently we’ve expanded in North Carolina, Florida, and Texas. And then we have commercial real estate, multifamily real estate, which the multifamily is again, focused in Northeast but we do have some national assets as well. And then we have our national businesses, so led by mortgage warehouse lending, so banking for mortgage companies. So, to give you perspective, these are warehouse lines to mortgage companies. We funded 2% of U.S. mortgages in 2020.

Julian Klymochko: Wow.

Sam Sidhu: So really a big player in the space through those lines. The average balance may only be 3 to 4 billion at a time, but when you think about that on the churn, that’s happening under those lines on an annual basis, it kind of helps put things in a perspective as to how integral, you know, we are or have been in the industry. Then we have other specialty lending verticals, like lender finance, or lending to mid-market credit funds who leveraged loans to private equity deals as an example. We have a fund finance business which is lending to capital calls and subscription lines. We have an SBA lending business which kind of falls under our community banking. And of course, we have cash management, treasury management and deposit products, you know, across the board to service our customers. So that’s the commercial side of the business. And then on the consumer side, you know, we have really the majority of our platform there, as opposed to going through the traditional mortgages and [Inaudible 00:08:02], et cetera, that we have. But, you know, across the board, we have 150,000 digital consumers that are predominantly personal loans, student loan refi, those types of specialty online, first digital first customers.

Julian Klymochko: Right.

Sam Sidhu: That bank with the bank. And we’re of trying to establish a similar platform for small business customers and small business lending. And the impetus for that is obviously everyone uses the buzzword, small businesses are underserved and reutilized, but it’s very difficult to develop profitable products and services for those businesses. But we did over 300,000 PPP loan. And we acquired at least a quarter million, I think, or so plus or minus unique customers through that process. And we’re offering them digital seven a, SBA, digital seven a product where we think we’re the only bank in the country who has a 30-day digital lonely underwriting process for an SBA loan, term loans, revolving line credits et cetera. So really like a digital branch digital first customer is a strategy that’s emerging within Customers Bank.

Julian Klymochko: I did notice that you guys seem to be extremely successful with respect to the PPP loan program. Can you get into the details on how COVID affect Customers Bank and how you capitalized on that?

Sam Sidhu: Sure, sure. So, you know, the arc of what happened in hindsight makes it seem like it’s all, you know, rosy and we built a lot of capital and acquired a lot of customers and made a lot of origination fee in the process, but when you sort of take a step back in the throws or the fog of COVID which really felt like war for the first couple of weeks, everyone kind of remembers it.

Julian Klymochko: Yeah.

Sam Sidhu: You know, we really focused on portfolio management of our existing customers, and we were really talking to every customer on a weekly basis. So, we just did a little bit of an all-hands-on deck. And we added credit management portfolio management tools. We actually started partnered with a group called OakNorth in the middle of COVID to be able to help us think about proactive credit monitoring as well, using third party data to focus on our portfolio so that we were eventually, once we took the manual process off that we were focusing on only of the customers or the verticals that were at higher risk, which was not high risk based upon what you thought in your head, it was a combination of what you thought in your head plus what the data was showing you which I think is a very unique perspective, you know, to have, especially of a bank of our size. Having said that, you know, we started a PVP process for our existing customers. We started what was a digital application tool for our customers. So, nothing more than just taking the PDF, populating it by typing in keystrokes, and then pre-populating the PDF and signing. There’s no rocket science to that. But when that came out in the middle of PPP, that’s all you could really do.

Julian Klymochko: Right.

Sam Sidhu: But we noticed we were getting smaller and smaller applicants. We were initially had a lot of lookalikes, like customers who, you know, look like our traditional customers that we were now had been chasing for years and suddenly were coming to us and, you know, moving over all their business, because one thing people don’t remember initially in PPP, which is why folks had a lot of success, converting customers is, there was a queue and you thought, if you didn’t get in queue, you were never going to get PPP funds.

Julian Klymochko: Yeah.

Sam Sidhu: Right, and that changed over time. And both programs last year, and this year, eventually there was more money than demand at some point in time. I mean, there was still demand in the last days, but it was smaller and smaller and smaller. So arguably the folks that needed it, you know, kind of got in line and were served. So, we were able to build a lot of goodwill first with the larger customers. But then importantly, we realized with these smaller customers, it made sense to start trying to find folks could help us package and process some of these applications. So, we set up a bunch of FinTech relationships with some folks that we already had relationships with. We connected with [Inaudible 00:11:52], they were sending us referrals, either a top of the funnel lead, or maybe somewhere in the middle that was more of a hot lead.

And when I say lead, it’s more about, did this person apply to 10 different people within complete information? Or is this package, you know, does it look like a full application that you can now process and go through loan sizing and KYC/KYB type process. And that’s sort of how we approached it. We democratized the entire process. You didn’t have to be a Customers Bank customer. In fact, I think 99% of funds we sent to other banks. So, we didn’t add the friction of trying to force these customers to open up accounts with us. And we really just had a mission driven approach to getting the money up.

Julian Klymochko: Right.

Sam Sidhu: And I think that’s really what helped fuel our success on the stats of the 300,000/325,000 loans. And the 10 billion dollars almost was really because we had that type of a mindset of just getting the money out to those who needed it the most.

Julian Klymochko: Right.

Sam Sidhu: What we did this year, which was also very different than we did last year is, we’d white labeled our PPP as a service type product for very large banks, for small banks, for, you know, credit unions for African American chamber of commerce, Hispanic chamber of commerce of, you know, we kind of really just went to minority groups, nonprofits across the board, gave them a portal that looked exactly like, you know, their origination in addition to our own similar channels did last year. And it really proved to be very successful. And we made a very big impact and, you know, and our bank was the first customer of this PPP as a service. So, this year, our current team stepped away from PPP, our relationship managers, et cetera, and our technology group led and our SBA group, there are the two groups that really led our PPP efforts.

Julian Klymochko: And technology seems to be a major theme at Customers Bank. One other recent innovation that I noticed that I want to dig into today is the Customers Bank instant token. And I was wondering, how does this new token that you guys are developing? How does it enable blockchain based digital payments?

Sam Sidhu: Sure. So let me first sort of give some perspective as to why we decided that this was an important strategic initiative for the company. So, when you think about legacy rails and we call legacy rails, ACH and fedwire, we call them legacy, but nothing really else that’s come out to sort of display them, right. It’s really there to process checks in a quicker way, it’s kind of the legacy of why the origins of why we have these rails. It could take several business days. It could take five or six calendar days if it’s straddled the weekend for your ACH or wire to go through. That doesn’t really make any sense just from very basic working capital efficiency. The fact that these are dumb transfers as well, where the receiving bank could bounce it back.

You don’t actually know if it goes through or processes, and there could be some data missing, and you have no data transfer that goes along with the payments. So, we have had a view that real time payments is going to become a ubiquitous, just like it has started to in the consumer space, just generally across the commercial space. And, you know, when you think about a commercial customer as a business owner or a consumer, it’s easy to understand why this makes sense, but when you think about a commercial customer as a large financial exchange, or you know, or high volume commercial landlord, and you think about API enablement, and you think about all of the efficiencies that can arise within an organization by having real time payments and settlement in an automated way, connected with your own internal platforms, it really becomes a no-brainer.

So, the question is, when not if that this is going to be become table stakes. And I think the answer to that is probably three to five years. But because I think folks understand that this is important now why blockchain, it doesn’t need to be done on the blockchain. But we have a view that again, this is going to become table stakes. There’s probably going to be a need while this is intra bank. So, both sides of the settlement and the transfer need to be customers, bank, customer, eventually that should not be the case. In fact, you’ll have a closed loop system that may not, you know, that will be leapfrogged by something that’s more interbank. So that was the thought process on the blockchain. And also, the other uses of the blockchain.

It allowed us to think about how to, how does the ERC-20 protocol work? and what are the different applications of smart contracts and capital markets transactions and loan participations, while it may not happen on our, you know, tasked, enabled you know, real time payments platform. You know, those are the different things that we want to start flexor muscles on. So, the way it actually works is that you open up a DDA account with Customers Bank, you transfer that money to an omnibus account. And for each dollar you transfer, you get a token. So, it’s a minting of a token. Once you have that token, it gets transferred and you transfer it to the next Customers Bank customer on the Ethereum blockchain, that now moves to that customer, that customer now has a token, and they have a dollar in the omnibus account that for their benefit, that they can now convert back to a DDA dollar as well. All of that can happen instantly. Obviously, it’s a multi-step process. So, if you’re using a mouse and user interface, it takes a couple of steps. If you’re using an automated, you know, API enablement, it can happen like this. So, I think that, sorry, I used the snap of my finger for Mike and Julian on the phone, but it can happen instantly. And there is innovation for instant transfer, but instant transfer and instant settlement does not really happen broadly in the banking world.

Julian Klymochko: Right. And so just to clarify and summarizes the Customers Bank instant token effectively enables much, much quicker transfers for your customers and is sort of meant as a replacement to the legacy ACH system.

Sam Sidhu: That’s right. That’s right. And what I would add is, is that, you know, we saw an immediate need in the digital asset space, because I think that’s one of the important aspects of the Customer Bank and token, you know, story for us, so we actually ended up raising a billion and a half dollars of non-interest-bearing deposits at the end of the third quarter. So that was about, you know, eight weeks ago in anticipation of the launch that happened last month. So, we had about 20 or so inaugural customers, you know, that were either onboard at the end of the quarter or onboarded since in the fourth quarter that have joined the platforms that are integrating via API that have started to fund their deposit accounts also operating accounts who are you know, keystone customers for us mostly led by the digital asset space.

But we also have customers in, you know, with supply chain integration, we have real estate customers. We have mortgage customers and broker dealer customers who are all in various stages of understanding the use case, the value proposition, and the case study for their type of business that our relationship managers and our business development team are really working hard on. And our thesis is, you provide payments for free, you get deposits for free more or less, right? I say that more broadly, but we are not charging for this service. And you allow some of your sales folks in a largely, let’s call this beta spade. The banking industry is a commoditized business where you have to differentiate on usually its service. So now it’s becoming technology and having extra products and services that the customer doesn’t anticipate they need, but once they use it, it transforms the way that they operate that day-day business, and you’re not charging for it that really builds long term sticky relationships. And it’s the type of PPP effect that we saw when you were transforming, you know, the way that someone applied for PPP loan was funded. Similarly, you know, we’re seeing, you know, transformational opportunities here on the real time payment side.

Michael Kesslering: And so really [Inaudible 00:19:50] that you’re just using it as customer acquisition to basically be able to cross sell different products to some new customers, as well as enhance relationships with your current customer base. When you look further into the future, do you see any other like as potential products that will be a lot more profitable relative to your current product base that you’ll be able to innovate into the future here?

Sam Sidhu: Sure. It’s a great question. So, we’re trying to develop the products and services on both the consumer side, as well as the small business side, where we’re creating a digital bundle for digital first customers. Whether that’s an SBA loan, a commercial line of credit or revolving line of credit on the consumer side, auto loans, you know, home mortgages in a truly digital fashion supported by an experiences banker on the backend. That’s the way that we’re thinking about those types of products. So, we’re accelerating that type of digital branch customer acquisition type model. Whereas traditional banks are more focused on creating an omnichannel experience for their existing customers. We truly want to create a customer acquisition machine for the smaller ticket, you know, customers using technology and the process and the learnings that we’ve created over the past couple years. Now on the more traditional commercial side we’re, you know, in advanced stages of thinking about other opportunities on the blockchain.

So, you know, to give you perspective, we sold a couple hundred million of loans in the past two or three quarters from a gain on sale perspective, some on the FBA side, some on the consumer side, and I think there’s going to be a tremendous opportunity and we have intermediaries and investment banks, and those types of folks that sometimes have to sit in the middle of these types of transactions and legal documentation, diligence, and NDAs. And that whole process can really be, forget about the cost that you can save, the time and the bandwidth that you can save by giving people access to a limited amount of information where you’re not transferring PII, personal information of customers and allowing them to either participate or to fully acquire those loans. Those are the types of innovations that we’re thinking about.

That could be very ubiquitous again in the future, and this is a long way out, but if you can be a leader, you can start creating some of those larger corporate type relationships at customers bank that we historically haven’t had as a smaller community bank, but we’ve grown a lot, you know, in the last two years, since I’ve joined, we’ve grown from 10 billion to 20 billion. We’re now a top hundred bank in the country. These are the types of things because we happen to have come off of a smaller base and more agile and branch light. And without technical debt. In fact, we have technical assets, you know, on our side that allows us be a little bit more agile today than we probably would be, have we been a much larger bank coming in.

Michael Kesslering: Something that you mentioned earlier with the instant token was that it was on the Ethereum blockchain that it’s NERC token when, when you were looking at different blockchains to support this token, what criteria were you looking at? Did you look at different blockchains, such as Solana or any of the other competing blockchains with Ethereum? What went into that decision?

Sam Sidhu: Sure. You know, we did. We looked at the competing blockchains, you know, going back to January of this year, believe it or not, there weren’t, that many options. That’s the layer and it’s, what’s built on top of it and who are the companies that we’re building on top of those various, you know, those various, you know, blockchain infrastructures. So, I think there’s been a lot more advancement, you know, since January when we launched, especially in terms of speed and gas charges. Now with building an intra bank, you know, ledger here. So, we aren’t subject to those types of variable costs and some of those speed limitations, but if we ever go interbank, we’ll have to be very cognizant of those types of things. The crypto industry, while the banking industry, while Customers Bank is evolving very fast, the crypto industry is evolving at the speed of light. And so, a lot is changing. So, we’ll continue to be monitoring, and we could work with multiple blockchains for various different products and services. So, we’re not just wedded only to Ethereum. That is what we were using for our real time payment solution today. But you know, the types of things that I’m talking from the capital markets, et cetera, that’s on a different blockchain that we’re sort of evaluating right now. And I think that eventually the key is, is that we view blockchain as an interesting way to launch future products and services and whatever blockchain we eventually use will need to sort of balance speed, reliability, and cost. And also, who are the entrepreneurs and the developers who are building on top of those blockchains.

Julian Klymochko: Yeah, the blockchain industry and cryptocurrencies are just moving as you indicated at the speed of light. So sometimes it’s difficult to stay up to date on all the myriad of various projects happening. So, it’s quite the site to see, but so much to learn. I was wondering from both an investor’s perspective and an executive perspective, what are some of the key operational and financial metrics that are important to you as CEO, where you’re looking to drive these metrics in operations, financial performance, but also important for investors that they like to see?

Sam Sidhu: Sure. So, I’ll first address sort of more the external facing investor metrics. Then I’ll talk a little bit about how, you know, I try to manage the business, you know, from a reporting perspective internally. From an external perspective, at the end of the day, you know, tangible book value creation in the banking industry is incredibly important, but it’s really a byproduct of earnings growth and earnings power and sound credit management, protecting that book. So what we did in PPP really helped accelerate, we will have probably doubled our book value over a two year period through our efforts in tremendous earnings growth, you know, plus, you know, plus the PPP revenue, which was you know, which is approaching, you know, about plus or minus 400 million of pretax revenue, you know, that we generated through that effort through a combination of origination fee, you know, plus interest income.

Now what’s interesting about customers bank from an investor perspective is we were undervalued going into the pandemic. Now, the reasons for undervaluation where we had stopped growth while we were divesting a FinTech, which we divested earlier this year in January, Bank Global Technologies, which is now publicly listed. And with no ownership by Customers Bank today as well as Capital. And we were operating at lower than peer capital levels, but we had lower than peer credit risk. And like, for example, our mortgage warehouse business, self-liquidating in every couple of weeks. So, you didn’t necessarily need to have as much capital allocated towards in a no credit risk type business, nothing really goes wrong within a couple of weeks of owning, you know, a mortgage. Nonetheless, you know, we listen to our investors, and we built the capital, and you know, and we divested bank mobile.

And I think that that has really resulted in tremendous stock run for Customers Bank where, you know, up 200% year to date, it’s actually 400% if you look at since Q3 of last year. So, over a year which is incredible, but we still have a little bit of a Delta to go. So, to answer your question, a couple of things that I focus on are also priced to earnings multiple from evaluation perspective of our future years. So, spending a lot of time with the investment community and the analyst community and help them understand the levers for growth as a CEO of a publicly traded company, you don’t want to necessarily be in the habit of giving quarterly an annual EPS guidance. It means that there’s not enough understanding of your core business and how you’re running it.

But I do think in this transition period, the bank has really transformed. It is very important to help people understand the investment or lack thereof that you’re making, that you’ve already made, that they’re enjoying the benefit of as well as the earnings power and operating leverage that you have in the business. That’s the way that we try to think about it from evaluation perspective. Now, what I think is interesting and differentiated at Customers Bank, especially a bank of our size is, we believe in using a lot of the tools that we have, whether it’s the data warehouse, the analytics that on top of it or Salesforce is, you know, allowing the management to have access to real time data, real time, not, you know, the daily report that comes every day or a monthly report that comes two weeks after the month, truly at your fingertips access to data that goes not just the CFO CEO level data, but the head of Pennsylvania and you know data to help drive their community bank for deposit growth and loan generation.

Having everyone have access to that type of data. On the relationship manager side, to have access to your full portfolio of data and having access to third part data to layer on against your own data. And the financial data from the company, you know, banks are reasonably spoiled. We start doing credit reviews on, you know, 2019 you know, financials in the middle of 2020, which got delayed by COVID by a couple of months because people weren’t filing their taxes and suddenly, you’re doing, you know, you’re almost in 2021 and you’re using 2019 financials and the whole world has changed. Now, what sense does that make? And that’s the type of change that we’re trying to do. Yes, you might still need to do that for regulatory purposes and historic purposes and, you know, documentation, but at the same time layering that and changing the mindset of having access to real time data is a big focus that we’re, you know, endeavoring on, you know, at Customers Bank.

Michael Kesslering: Something that we’re always very curious about are, is like, who have some of the most important mentors that you’ve had in your career?

Sam Sidhu: Sure. It’s a great question. I think there’s, you know, a lot of folks over the years, on the real estate side of the business or you know, or whether it’s just in the home, you know, learning from compassion and empathy and leadership from my mother and how that sort of changes the way, you know, some people’s say, would you rather be, I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this on a podcast, would you rather lead, you know, lead as an asshole or, you know, lead with fear, you know, or would lead with compassion. And I think that I take a lot more of the latter approach there and sort of the servant leadership type approach, which kind of came from the home and to continue the family dynamic. It cannot unsaid, you know, my father being a banking long time banking CEO of a fortune 500 bank, it was inevitable. He was also on the board of Megalith, my real estate, private equity firm and provided, you know, a tremendous amount of leadership and mentoring and having access to that type of support, you know, before I joined the bank and through my career and even after is really unparalleled.

Julian Klymochko: Yeah, certainly it’s helpful if your dad’s a banking veteran, and it’s not surprising that you got into the business and are excelling in banking. So just before we let you go, Sam, I wondering as an investor takes a look at the banking sector, I mean, there’s hundreds of banks to choose from and you indicated, oh, it’s somewhat commoditized. We differentiate on technology. If an investor was looking to invest in the bank, why should they choose Customers Bank?

Sam Sidhu: Sure. So, you know, I think that’s actually a reasonably easy one for me to answer, you know, in the banking industry. There are very few techs forward stories, especially of banks above 10 billion. I think there’s a couple number of banks below 10 billion. They’re doing creative and thoughtful things, but they’re cap in their growth, and they may not reach the level of tension of many of folks who are focused on the larger banks. So having a tech forward approach, a proprietary, you know, tech SPAC within our third-party technology providers, whether it’s a lender platform that brings together Salesforce [Inaudible 00:32:40], whether it’s middleware that sits on top of our core, we truly have industry leading technology inside of our four walls. And that allows us to be innovative and agile. So, we expect to have one of the best deposit generating franchises in the country. And I think we’ve showed it in the last couple of weeks and months, and we’ll continue to show it next year, that coupled with, best in class loan growth, especially of a bank of our size, you know, we’re projecting double digit loan growth in 2022. And we’ve guided the street towards that. If you can do that, plus you can generate the deposits that are your raw materials to fuel that growth. And you do that with sound credit management, which I think we showed folks that we are in inherently low credit risk business lines with high operating leverage. Those combined with that technology efficiency should result in us be in one of the most efficient banks in the country. And that’s our goal, you know, in the next couple of years. We have right now a 40% or below 40% efficiency ratio.

Julian Klymochko: Right.

Sam Sidhu: Which means we are one of the most efficient banks in the country, but we have one time revenue flowing through right now from PPP. And those training wheels go off for in 2023. And I think in 2023 is when we have a real opportunity to show people all of the transformational things, we’ve done behind the scenes to make ourselves a lot more efficient. And if you can have the growth levers plus the credit management, plus the efficiency with all of the technology upside, it really comes together into, as you can hear, I’m very passionate about this. A very compelling investment

Julian Klymochko: And proof is in the pudding as you indicated, stock up 400% year over year. And if investors are interested in learning more about, or potentially investing in customers bank at trades under the ticker symbol, CUBI. So, Sam, thank you for coming on the show today, sharing your story and all the very interesting technological innovations happening at Customers Bank. It’s super interesting. So, thank you.

Sam Sidhu: Thanks Julian. Thanks Mike, thanks so much for having me.

Thanks for tuning in to the Absolute Return Podcast. This episode was brought to you by Accelerate Financial Technologies. Accelerate, because performance matters. Find out more at The views expressed in this podcast to the personal views of the participants and do not reflect the views of Accelerate. No aspect of this podcast constitutes investment legal or tax advice. Opinions expressed in this podcast should not be viewed as a recommendation or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any securities or investment strategies. The information and opinions in this podcast are based on current market conditions and may fluctuate and change in the future. No representation or warranty expressed or implied is made on behalf of Accelerate as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this podcast. Accelerate does not accept any liability for any direct indirect or consequential loss or damage suffered by any person as a result relying on all or any part of this podcast and any liability is expressly disclaimed.


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