ABA Banking Journal - April 2013 - (Page 6)

editor’s column By Bill Streeter Too many balls in the air J “If a bank is so constrained it can’t do its job, it won’t matter if it has the capital of forT knox” Bill Streeter bstreeter@sbpub.com 6| ABA BANKING JOURNAL | April 2013 uggling is not exactly a standout form of entertainment these days. Popular appeal probably peaked around the time of Shakespeare. Owen Morse and John Wee—both “Master Jugglers”—admit that to most people juggling is a yawner. And yet their act—The Passing Zone—is very successful. Recently the pair juggled in front of 300 bankers at Deluxe Corp.’s Expo 2013 conference at 8:30 in the morning. In an interesting twist, they came back on stage at the end of the day to be interviewed by a Deluxe executive. He asked Morse and Wee how they overcame people’s lukewarm attitude to juggling. Morse responded that people think they know what to expect from a couple of jugglers, “and it’s our job to give them something different.” They do this through a mix of rapid-fire comedy and the unexpected—juggling bowling balls, machetes, and rat traps! “We have to constantly work to keep the act fresh,” said Wee, always playing off the audience’s reaction (or lack of it). They say you can learn something from any situation. So here are three things to learn from a couple of jugglers: • Remember your public. Entertainers live and die by audience reaction. But in reality every business is an “act,” and must please its “audience”—customers—or it will flop. Staying fresh from a bank’s point of view can involve many things— products, branch appearance, and—most important—employee attitude. • Change directions from time to time as the nature of business dictates. The Passing Zone, for example, shifted along the way from appearing primarily at enter- tainment venues to doing corporate events. For a long time banks could comfortably count on the fact that many things were a given. Now, even checking accounts are being questioned. Fail to adapt and the “audience” will check out a different “act” of which there are many. • Practice, practice, practice. Juggling requires constant practice to keep the timing sharp (and stay uninjured). In business, of course, practice comes every day in the doing. But what if every employee could start the day with the thought, “How can I do this task, or my job, better?” One thing jugglers could learn from bankers: how to juggle your real job with an endless stream of rules and edicts from regulators. Even though Morse and Wee have set Guinness World Records for the number of items they can keep in the air at once, they know that there is a point where you can’t keep all the balls in the air. Further, even if for now banks are managing to do that—as they are forced to do with regs added on top of regs—the effort required to comply without dropping any balls takes away from the very things described above that banks need to do to survive and thrive. If a bank is so constrained it can’t do a good job, it won’t matter if it has the capital of Fort Knox, or is in complete compliance with all aspects of disparate impact. The bank won’t be able to serve its customers, support its community, or help stimulate economic growth the way it wants to and always has. Which is really the point, isn’t it?

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - April 2013

ABA Banking Journal - April 2013
Contents
Chairman’s View
Editor’s Column
The Economy
Bank Notes
Picture This
ABA COMMUNITY BANKING Negotiating better contracts
Pass the Aspirin
Tech Topics
COVER STORY: Focus on risk Regulators raise the bar—big time!
RAROC architect’s views on risk
Top-performing big banks
Compliance Inbox
ABA At Your Service
Legal Issues
First Person

ABA Banking Journal - April 2013

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