ABA Banking Journal - July 2013 - (Page 4)
BY MATT WILLIAMS
ignores the facts
very once in a while, an issue really
hits at my core. I’m saddened by
much of the rhetoric surrounding the
too-big-to-fail (TBTF) debate. Much of it is
fueled by emotion rather than deliberate
examination of the facts. I’m sickened by
what I believe to be the motivation behind
some of the discussions.
Let me explain. I was privileged to be
raised in a family committed to faith,
family, and friends. This solid foundation
taught me the purpose of establishing
core values for your life’s work.
My core values are to recognize the
importance of people in your success;
conduct yourself with a sense of responsibility;
and strive to reach your potential.
The question for me, and I hope for you,
“Some believe they can raise
themselves up by bringing
others down. We all know that
doesn’t work, and it’s
JUST PLAIN WRONG”
Chairman and President,
Gothenburg State Bank,
is: How do your core values square with
the current debate about TBTF?
As a banker, owning and operating a
$120 million-assets ag bank, I’m thankful
for what the large banks have contributed
to our industry and our economy. The
large banks are responsible for bringing
new systems, new technology, and
improved innovation to our industry. Large
banks handle the financial needs of the
giant U.S. companies doing business
internationally and helping our economy
grow. Clearly, community banks have
benefited from the work of larger banks.
Where would our industry, our country, and
our highly diverse, $16 trillion economy
be without large banks?
I don’t understand anyone taking a
political position that is intentionally
designed to penalize one group based
on the perception it will benefit others.
Some bankers feel the large banks
caused all the problems and community
banks are paying the price. There’s
plenty of blame to go around. Legislators,
4 | ABA BANKING JOURNAL | JULY 2013
regulators, consumers, and aggressive
business models adopted by some banks
and nonbanks contributed. Blame never
solves a problem. Issues are solved by
standing up and accepting responsibility
and working together to find solutions.
Some believe they can raise themselves
up by bringing others down. We all know
that doesn’t work, and it’s just plain
wrong. Our greatest success as an industry
comes when we are united. Building
consensus through thoughtful compromise
has worked. We all complain about the
inability of Congress to get its act together,
but are we any different? When we use
labels like megabanks, regional banks,
and small banks, we weaken our influence
with policymakers. The label we should
embrace is simply “bank.” As bankers,
we have a great deal in common. When
we emphasize our differences, we lose.
Our industry can’t thrive if we spend time
fighting among ourselves.
Here is what I believe:
• No bank should be TBTF.
• All banks should be required to have
adequate capital levels.
• Congress should not set artificially
high capital levels for any segment
• Regulators are better equipped than
legislators to set the capital levels
• Unity in our industry is not only
important, it is essential.
We need to recognize that we are called
to be industry leaders. Leaders accept
the responsibility to work together for
the common good of the entire industry
and our country.
Remember that our industry is in-
dispensable. Let’s all live up to what is
expected and demanded. n
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - July 2013
ABA Banking Journal - July 2013
Pass the Aspirin
Cover Story: Pay Choices
State Association Roundtable
ABA At Your Service
ABA Banking Journal - July 2013