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Banking On Insights

Unforgettable Reads of 2023: Dive into the Bottom Line's most compelling stories

As we bid farewell to 2023, we’d like to extend our sincere wishes for a happy holiday season and thank you for reading and sharing The Bottom Line. We’d also like to highlight some of the year’s most popular stories, so, whether you're catching up or revisiting good ideas, enjoy the roundup below, and rest assured that we’re committed to curating even more insightful reads and shared discoveries in the year ahead. 

Sustaining multigenerational business success and factors to consider before a change
Stephanie Siders, Managing Director at CC Capital Advisors, and Christopher Wolff, Senior Vice President of Country Club Trust co-authored a recent article featured in Ingram’s magazine addressing the challenges of family business succession planning. The article dives into the ten questions leaders of family-owned businesses should consider as they approach succession planning for long-term wealth. Read the full story.

Jack Stack Barbecue Continues to Grow With the Highest-Quality Foods, Systems – And Capital from Country Club Bank
When Case Dorman was 16 and took his first job at Jack Stack Barbecue, little did he know it was the beginning of a journey that would eventually lead him to buying and becoming CEO of one of the area’s best-known barbecue brands. Since then, he’s created one of the most successful multi-faceted food companies in the Midwest that includes six restaurants, an event center, and its own line of Jack Stack rubs, sauces, and prepared foods sold nationwide. Read the full story.

Reeves-Wiedeman Company Taps Country Club Bank for Resourceful Lending and Cash Flow Solutions
When Reeves-Wiedeman Company, a fourth-generation family business, wanted to remodel its historic headquarters and finance its business succession plan, it turned to Country Club Bank for guidance, diligence – and a successful conclusion. Read the full story.

McCray Lumber and Millwork’s local banking reinforces local builders
Most business owners vividly recall when Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans were made available during the pandemic. With revenues for most companies shrinking or even disappearing overnight, PPP loans represented the best and most immediate source of working capital to pay employees, pay bills, or simply keep the doors open. Time was of the essence. And when Brian Hall, CFO at McCray Lumber and Millwork, couldn’t reach his national banking provider to start the PPP loan process, he quickly realized the value of having a local banking partner that knows your name, your business, and your needs. Country Club Bank was one of the first calls Hall made when he decided to explore a new local banking relationship. Read the full story.  

What to do if you are approached with an unsolicited offer for your business
Have you been approached with an unsolicited offer on your business? That may be a welcome inquiry but it’s got to be handled correctly to maximize the opportunity from the very beginning. 

With increased competition, more buyers are reaching out to potential acquisition targets directly in hopes of bypassing a competitive auction process. So how does an advisor respond when clients ask: “What should I do? Do the terms and values presented reflect current market conditions? Is the group behind the letter the best buyer?” Read the full story.

Employee theft and fraud can be devastating. Here’s how to safeguard against it.
The average loss in cases of employee theft, particularly the embezzlement of funds, for businesses with fewer than 500 employees is more than $350,000, according to a study by insurance provider Hiscox. Perhaps even more shocking: the average scheme lasts over two years and often involves more than one employee. How does this happen, and what can you do to prevent it from happening in your business? Read the full story.

TruckMovers invests in good people and systems – with capital from Country Club Bank
Since 1983, Independence, Mo.-based TruckMovers has been on a mission to become the truck driveaway industry gold standard for the transportation of new and used trucks for dealers and manufacturers across North America, including Canada and Mexico. With an emphasis on systems and technology, the company has gone from moving 30,000 trucks annually 15 years ago to moving over 175,000 in 2022. TruckMovers President Andy Glass shares the company’s growth story and history working with Country Club Bank, and also provides perspective on some of the transportation industry’s key trends. Read the full story.


Economic Insights

Fed keeps rates unchanged, opens the door to rate cut in 2024

The consumer-price index rose 3.1% in November from a year earlier, only a slight slowdown from October (3.2%) but still enough for the Fed to leave interest rates unchanged for the fourth month in a row.

As further proof of the Fed’s changing tone in policy, the meeting summary notes also lowered interest rate expectations from 5.6% to 5.4% in 2023; 5.1% to 4.6% in 2024; and 3.9% to 3.6% in 2025.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell surprised markets last week by mentioning it's now time to begin considering when to cut rates, kicking off rallies across the board. Powell acknowledged the dangers of overtightening which could continue to improve pricing stability, yet also hurt the labor market if the cost of capital remained too high.

That view was further supported by San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly who is among a group of other Fed officials estimating three rate cuts in 2024. Daly, however, indicated those cuts might still be too restrictive and run the risk of driving up unemployment.

Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy components, rose 0.3% from the prior month, which is faster than the Fed’s long-term target of 2%, but well within the generally accepted safe zone among Fed watchers.

On the employment front, the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) from the The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the number of job openings decreased once again this past month to 8.7 million, while the number of unemployed rose to 6.5 million. That ratio of JOLTS-to-unemployed (1.34) has steadily decreased over the past 20 months, giving some credence to the Fed’s concern over a possible softening of the job market.

Bottom Line: After several years of pandemic-related upheaval, the economy seems to be stabilizing more predictably. Inflation is slowing, interest rates remain elevated but steady, and the labor market is cooling as well. Yet, the lingering question remains: what kind of economic landing lies ahead?

Recession talk seems to be off the table especially since GDP growth for 2023 is expected to finish at 2.6% vs. 2.1% prior. However, it is expected to weaken a bit in 2024 to 1.4% vs. 1.5% prior. Nonetheless, economic expansion is predicted for some time which should quell any near term recessionary concerns.

Claiming a decisive win against inflation might be premature, but it appears that the current inflationary pressures have been mitigated for now. We believe this factor, combined with reduced borrowing expenses, and the increased prices of stocks, bonds, and other assets likely bodes well for growth in 2024.

Marcus Scott photo





— Marcus Scott, CFA, CFP®, Chief Investment Officer (CIO) for Country Club Trust Company

CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Country Club Trust Company, a division of Country Club Bank, or any affiliate thereof. Information provided is for illustrative and discussion purposes only; should not be considered a recommendation; and is subject to change. Some information provided above may be obtained from outside sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Please note that investments involve risk, and that past performance does not guarantee future results.


Banking on KC

Chuck Maggiorotto, Chief Wealth Officer at Country Club Bank: Relationships and wealth management – and how to do them well

Wealth creation and management is like any other project: it requires planning, goal setting, and ongoing measurement.

Banking on KC Podcast’s Kelly Scanlon sat down with Chuck Maggiorotto – Chief Wealth Officer at Country Club Bank – to discuss retirement and investment planning and how relationships play a central role in this process. Listen to the podcast to learn about the importance of planning early, saving consistently, and dealing with risk.


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