ABA Banking Journal - May 2012 - (Page 6)

editor’s column | by bill streeter Time to join the army Bankers are quite familiar with what it takes to get something accomplished within the communities where they work. Most projects involve committees. Bankers frequently serve on them and know that unless there is a “driver” on those committees, little will be accomplished. As ABA Chairman Kell Kelly, who qualifies as a driver, says, “If you don’t push, nothing moves.” Naturally, the person doing this has to believe in the project and be committed to it, because, with rare exceptions, anything involving change requires tenacity, patience, and sometimes sheer force of will to overcome entrenched interests, inertia, and opposition. A thick skin also helps. In situations where everything’s on the line, a leader cannot be distracted by personal feelings, doubts, or anything that gets in the way of the goal. There was a memorable scene in the movie Patton, when the general drives to the front lines where one of his divisions is bogged down by stubborn resistance. Dissatisfied with the division commander’s response, the general dismisses him on the spot, and tells his replacement if he can’t do it, he’ll get someone in there who can. That’s war, of course, but there are plenty of situations, short of war—in business, government, politics, and even sports—where a similar approach is required. Banking is in such a situation right now, as described in the cover story (p. 26). One of the article’s points is that bankers need to apply the same focus, skill, and energy they use as leaders and drivers in their own communities and institutions to the critical issues facing the industry in the wake of the Dodd-Frank Act. The future of the industry is at stake. The leadership of the ABA— bankers and staff—have a singular focus on these issues. This degree of attention is not a new phenomenon, of course, but in the aftermath of the financial crisis and economic downturn, it is critical. In remarks at ABA’s Government Relations Summit in March, Kelly, who is CEO of SpiritBank, Bristow, Okla., said, “We have to push politically; we have to push regulatorily; we have to [recognize that] if there is going to be a future, we’re going to have to craft it … with our actions.” In an interview, Kelly related how his friend Rep. Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said several years ago, “You bankers are the best arbitragers of capital the world has ever seen. Yet, if you don’t become [politically] active, you’re going to lose the most profitable parts of your business forever.” Even a driver like Kelly cannot effect major change on his own. He knows that the key to success in this industry fight will not come from a few activist leaders, but from an army of activist bankers. Every day, more people in the industry are enlisting in that army. They recognize that their own future employment may well depend on what they do now. As Kelly says in the cover story: “We have to change [our] attitude and say, ‘We are not here just to take what is dished out to us.’ It is time to push back. Our cause is just.” n C M Y CM MY “Bankers need to apply the same focus, skill, and energy they use as leaders in their own communities to the critical issues facing the industry” bstreeter@sbpub.com CY CMY K 6 | ABA BANKING JOURNAL | may 2012

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

ABA Banking Journal - May 2012
Contents
Chairman's View
Editor's Column
The Economy
Bank Notes
Picture This
ABA Community Banking
Pass the Aspirin
Tech Topics
ABA Resources
Compliance Inbox
First Person

ABA Banking Journal - May 2012

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