Podcast: Building a Bank Vertical for Tech, Media and Telecom Firms

Huntington Bank, a $104 billion regional bank based in Columbus, Ohio, is building a new nationwide vertical to provide specialized banking services to technology, media and telecommunications firms. On the latest episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast, banking veteran Scott Webster — who is leading the new vertical — discusses the strategy behind how banks serve the needs of the businesses in these capital-intensive sectors.

These large and middle-market businesses — which include semiconductors, software and hardware, technology services, digital broadband, cable, video, wireless, cell towers and data centers — are going through rapid innovations such as 5G wireless and the internet of things, as well as consolidation within and across sectors. “I think the market’s receptive to new banks within TMT,” Webster says. “These clients tend to be very sophisticated. They’ll certainly take your balance sheet, but they’ll reward you for ideas and thought generation, and that’s what we intend to do.”

On this episode, listeners will also learn about:

  • Challenges of building bank expertise in TMT, including building organizational buy-in and developing talent.
  • How banks adjust credit policies to meet the customized needs of TMT companies. For example, Webster cites cell towers, which generate predictable cas flows under long leases.  “That’s a subsector that can handle more leverage,” he says. “To limit your leverage to three by four is too constraining.”
  • Where regional, midsize and community banks might find opportunities to serve TMT companies.

If you can’t see the audio player above, click here to listen to this week’s episode.

In this episode:

Scott Webster
Head of Technology, Media and Telecom Group
Huntington Bank

Evan Sparks
Editor-in-Chief
ABA Banking Journal