A survey of community bankers indicate many expect to make an acquisition.
The survey, from the American Bankers Association, was released Tuesday at the group's National Conference for Community Bankers in Orlando, Fla., according to an announcement. More than 650 bankers participated in the study.
ABA said 37 percent of the respondents plan to acquire another bank during the next five years. In contrast, just 7 percent expect to be acquired.
"Community bankers plan to compete for market share in 2008 by acquiring another institution," the release stated.
Another growth strategy outlined was increased outsourcing of traditional functions such as internal auditing, loan review and compliance auditing. ABA noted that most of the outsourced functions require deep and expensive expertise. About 24 percent of surveyed firms are actively considering outsourcing while 37 percent already outsource.
Around 60 percent of respondents indicated they outsourced to cut costs while about that same share said obtaining expertise was also a factor.
Other growth efforts at community banks include increased usage of in-house technology.
More than half of the participating banks use their own staff as the chief source of technology expertise, the announcement said. Among banks over $1 billion, 96 percent use in-house tech experts.
Information technology officers were reportedly ranked as the second most difficult position to fill by nearly half of those surveyed. Business lenders were the most difficult.