ABA Banking Journal - November 2013 - (Page 4)
BY Jeff Plagge
back to the
business of banking
"We cannot make our
compliance and legislative
challenges our customers'
problems. If we do, they may
fInd another place
to do busIness"
President and CeO,
Northwest financial Corp.,
arnolds Park, Iowa
ABA BANKING JOURNAL
hat makes you feel best about
being a banker? Is it helping a
new business get off the ground?
Assisting a first-time homebuyer? Working
with a young farmer? It might be financing
a new project on Main Street, or helping
a new library or hospital become a reality.
These are things bankers do every day,
and they all boil down to helping others.
We help our customers when they have a
problem or an opportunity. And we help
our communities when we make them
better places to live and work.
That is the business of banking, and we
need to get louder about that message.
It's not that we ever stopped lending to,
guiding, and helping our customers. But
events of the past five years have made
the national conversation about banking a
negative one. It's time to change that. It's
time to get back to the future. Banking is,
after all, inherently about building a better
future for the communities we serve.
Getting back to the business of banking
means three things.
First, we need to focus on our customers
and their needs with a justified sense of
optimism. We cannot make our compliance
and legislative challenges our customers'
problems. If we do, they may find another
place to do business. Our employees and
our customers like to be around optimistic
people, not negative people.
Second, getting back to the business
of banking means looking at an entirely
different competitive landscape and
adapting. Relevance is our goal.
For example, a new payment system is
coming down the track at a high rate of
speed, and hundreds of nonbank entities
want to move that track in their direction.
We must keep it on our rails for the benefit
of our customers, our industry, and the
security of the banking system. If consumers don't find our payment solutions
safe, sound, and simple, we will lose our
relevance in their lives, and they will find
Our customers, especially our younger
ones, want convenience on their terms.
They won't give us multiple chances to
provide it. As an industry, we need to get
on board with these changes.
Third, getting back to the business of
banking means looking to the future of
our industry and addressing our challenges with courage. Courage is needed
to continue the fight against excessive
regulation and unfair competition-with
the conviction that we are right and that
a united industry can succeed in making
things better. Employees, customers, and
communities want to work with leaders
who have the courage to try new things
and put themselves and their leadership
on the line for a better tomorrow.
Optimism, relevance, and courage
are the keys to our industry's future.
Embracing these qualities will allow us
to thrive, in spite of the challenges we
face. Together, they will enable us to get
back to the business of banking-a business that, at its heart, is the business of
helping others. n
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - November 2013
Will farmland prices hold up?
What you do, amplified
Inside Farmer Mac
Meeting the challenge of identity theft
Pass the Aspirin
ABA At Your Service
ABA Banking Journal - November 2013