The COVID-19 pandemic exposed numerous vulnerabilities in the state and national economy. But it also highlighted some strengths. And among the most important of those strengths is the banking industry. Banks in New Jersey played an indispensable role in conveying rescue funds to businesses throughout the state. By most accounts, bankers performed admirably.
Now, new challenges are arising. Inflation is running at historic highs and the Federal Reserve is taking steps to tame the beast. But those efforts themselves could cause disruptions, including a recession. Bankers and their clients again find themselves staring at an uncertain economic future.
The industry in this state is represented by the NJ Bankers Association, led by CEO Mike Affuso and Chairman Chris Maher, who also runs OceanFirst Bank. Both are new to their roles this year, but boast decades of experience in the business and public policy.
For this edition of NJBIZ Conversations, Affuso and Maher discussed the priorities for the organization, the state of the financial services industry and what such issues as rising interest rates and cryptocurrency market volatility mean for banks and bankers.