Southeastern Louisiana University’s student finance team

Members of Southeastern Louisiana University’s student finance team competed in the prestigious national competition sponsored by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and earned a third place finish. Seated from left, are team members Mason Case, Elizabeth Hunter, Kathryn Bokun, and Nicholas Brennan. Standing, from left, are team member Robert Maddox, Gulf Coast Bank Executive Vice President Slade Simons, Southeastern team advisor Danielle Lewis, Gulf Coast Bank CEO Guy Williams, Gulf Coast Bank Senior Vice President Tom Czerniak, Gulf Coast Bank CFO Greg Hollier, Gulf Coast Bank Chief Lending Officer Bruce Falkenstein, and Gulf Coast Bank Senior Vice President Kim Carver.

Submitted by Tonya Lowentritt

Continuing a trend of national recognition for its finance program, Southeastern Louisiana University’s finance team of five students recently placed third in the Conference of State Bank Supervisors competition of real-world banking studies, according to a press release.

Members of the team included Kathryn Bokun of Walker; Nicholas Brennan of Bogalusa; Mason Case of Gretna; Elizabeth Hunter of Bakersfield, Calif., and Robert Maddox of Slidell.

Southeastern’s team finished in the top 10 the previous two years, including a first-place finish in 2016, at the competition that is conducted by the nationwide organization of banking regulators from all states and U.S. territories.

“We knew it would be difficult to return to the top 10, especially since many more schools participated this year,” said Danielle Lewis, Southeastern professor of finance and faculty adviser for the team. “I am extremely proud of their third place finish in the entire nation.”

Southeastern’s team advanced from a pool of 51 competitors, a record number of entrants, from various universities across the country through three rounds of judging by banking professionals. SLU bested teams from LSU, Florida State University, James Madison University, Ohio State University, University of Arkansas, and Purdue University.

This year’s case study looked at how community banks are using technology to streamline processes and better serve their customers. Lewis said the team members worked closely with representatives of Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Co.

“I would like to thank Gulf Coast Bank & Trust executives, the Louisiana Bankers’ Association, and the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions,” Lewis said in the press release. “This year’s CSBS team could not have performed any better.”

Each member of the team will receive a $250 CSBS scholarship, and their work will be published in the “Journal of Community Bank Case Studies.”

Lewis described the exercise as an excellent learning experience for the students with real-world applications. The work was well beyond something most students would experience in a typical classroom setting, she added.

“I am truly proud of our team’s efforts; the competition was very stiff this year but our team put in the study, time and effort to develop a first class report that caught the attention of the judges,” said Lewis. “We will be back again next year with a new team and continued dedication to reaching the top level.”

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