Southeastern business students present winning study at national banking conference

Tuesday, October 4, 2016
by: Rene Abadie

     HAMMOND – Students from Southeastern Louisiana University’s College of Business highlighted the opening day of the recent Community Banking in the 21st Century Research and Policy Conference with a presentation of their award-winning study of Hammond-based First Guaranty Bank.
    The four students were recognized in St. Louis as the first-place national winners of the competition conducted by the Washington, DC-based Conference of State Bank Supervisors, a nationwide organization of banking regulators from all states and U.S. territories. In all, 23 student teams from various universities participated in the competition.
    The competition allowed students to learn more about banking by partnering student teams with local banks to conduct original case studies, said Danielle Lewis, the Joyce Junghans professor of finance who served as faculty adviser for the team.
    In the conference’s opening remarks, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President and Chief Executive Officer James Bullard, remarked, “From what I can tell from the winning case study paper prepared by students from Southeastern Louisiana University and from the incredible personal stories of the students on the team, they just might steal the show at this year’s conference. The work of these students and of all the students in the competition shows how a single community bank has impacted its community and region.”
    Jerome Powell, who took office as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in 2012, said the Southeastern winners of the case study competition are impressive and accomplished young men and women who are just preparing to embark on their careers, and that he expected to hear more from them in the future.
    Lewis said the students received considerable praise from bank CEOs, bank regulators and academics attending the conference who commented on the depth and quality of research the four students performed.  A video of the presentation can be found on the CSBS website at
    The Southeastern team included Nicholas Byrd of Denham Springs, a senior finance major who is considering pursuing a graduate degree possibly in economics; Tarez Arceneaux Cowsar of Springfield, a senior at Southeastern, who anticipates sitting for the CPA exam after graduation in 2017; Joseph Edwards of Monroe, who is currently pursuing a master of science degree in finance; and Andrea Villarreal of Mexico, an academic All-American in Women’s Tennis, who is pursuing a professional career in tennis and resides in her home of Monterrey, Mexico. Each student received a $1,000 scholarship award.
    First Guaranty Bank partnered with the team and provided banking data to help construct the report. The students worked on the course project as part of the  Real-World Ready course initiative to incorporate more hands-on, experiential learning into students’ curriculum campus-wide.
    “If it were not for FGB’s willingness to be transparent with data, we could not have worked on so many quantitative models that were used in the report,” Lewis said. “The loan level data made all the difference.”
    She said the final 25-page report and accompanying 10-minute video were helpful to the bank, showing that FGB had an approximate $1 billion dollar economic impact from 21 branches located in multiple areas throughout Louisiana.
    FGB President and Chief Executive Officer Alton Lewis, praised the work of the students, noting that, in addition to being full time students, they participated in university athletics or held jobs while working on the demanding study.
    “We are so proud of our students and Dr. Lewis for the excellent work they did in this competition and for the national attention they have brought to Southeastern’s business program,” said Antoinette Phillips, interim dean of the College of Business.

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