ABA Banking Journal - April 2012 - (Page 6)

editor’s column | by bILL stReeteR Giving youth its due There’s a lot to be said for experience. It’s not overrated. But for a minute or two, we’d like to point out that youth is sometimes underrated by those who are, shall we say, no longer young. The youth we’re talking about here are a group of six bankers—all CEOs or close to it. They were selected for the story about “Nextgeneration bank leaders” that you can read beginning on page 16. They’re all under 50. Youth is relative, and less a function of age than of mindset, as these “young” bankers acknowledge in the article. The six all work for community banks of varying asset sizes—two are de novos. We would suggest, however, that you read the story no matter what size bank you’re with, because fresh views, contrary thoughts, sharp observations, and, yes, some brashness, transcend bank size. Some readers will bridle at what they say. That’s okay. It’s good to shake things up on occasion. It’s interesting that the group doesn’t pound on technology. Not because it isn’t important, but because it’s a given. One of the things that does come through strongly is the importance of poking your head outside the bank now and again to see what’s going on in other businesses. A quote we particularly liked came from Jim Edwards, CEO of United Bank, Griffin, Ga.: “Bankers need to step back and not be so focused on just talking to bankers,” he said. “We’re in a service business, not that different from other service businesses.” How right that is. Who among us cannot recall being impressed by great service received from some business establishment we’ve dealt with? Here in New York, where we’re based, service levels range from sublime to attack-dog. In one recent visit to an industrial supply store, the level of service was most impressive. Upon entering the store, the person at the order desk assisting a customer looked up and said, “Pick-up or new order?” At the reply of “Pick-up,” the man said “Excuse me” to the customer in front of him, and, without moving, spoke into an intercom asking for someone to come to “will call.” Five seconds later, someone came out. We’re not suggesting that banks don’t do this. Still, Jim Edwards was right on the money about not just talking to other bankers. (These bankers will likely enjoy reading the lead item in Bank Notes—p. 10— “Recipe for the bank of next month.”) As another of the young CEOs observed, “We run the bank as a business, not an institution.” It’s just a word, of course, but while bankers (and those who write about them) are used to talking about “financial institutions” and “depository institutions,” to the outsider, the word “institution” connotes bad food, drab paint, and bureaucracy. Words matter, and you want your employees to remember that you’re in business to help people, and serve them efficiently and pleasantly. The six young bankers, by the way, do respect the CEOs who came before them. As well they should. Some of those “old timers” still have some darn good ideas in them. n “To people outside banking, the word ‘institution’ connotes bad food, drab paint, and bureaucracy” bstreeter@sbpub.com 6  |  ABA BANKING JOURNAL  |  APRIL 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - April 2012

ABA Banking Journal - April 2012
Contents
Chairman’s View
Editor’s Column
The Economy
Bank Notes
Picture This
Young CEOs: Our turn
Pass the Aspirin
Tech Topics
What is your appetite for risk?
Top-performing big banks
Compliance Clinic
Compliance Inbox
ABA Resources
Legal Issues
First Person

ABA Banking Journal - April 2012

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