ABA Banking Journal - July 2013 - (Page 4)

chairman’s view ABA BY MATT WILLIAMS TBTF debate ignores the facts E 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” MATT WILLIAMS Chairman and President, Gothenburg State Bank, Gothenburg, Neb. 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 of banks. • Regulators are better equipped than legislators to set the capital levels for banks. • 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
Contents
Chairman’s View
Editor’s Column
The Economy
Bank Notes
Picture This
Community Banking
Pass the Aspirin
Tech Topics
Cover Story: Pay Choices
State Association Roundtable
Compliance Inbox
ABA At Your Service
First Person

ABA Banking Journal - July 2013

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