ABA Banking Journal - December 2013 - (Page 6)

editor's column By bill Streeter Rational exuberance? W For those whose passion for the business has been dampened by the crush of regulations, take hope from five peers Who Remain upbeat Bill Streeter bstreeter@sbpub.com 6| ABA BANKING JOURNAL | December 2013 hen we first read the article in this issue about the newly proposed rules governing banks' commitment to diversity and inclusion (Compliance Clinic, p. 29), we thought, "This could be the last straw for some bankers." Not because of the intent of the rules, but rather the impact of how they will be implemented. The proposal builds on existing equal opportunity rules, so the burden may be lessened. Even so, it certainly will only add to an overly long regulatory "do list." It isn't surprising-though it should be a wake-up call to policymakers-that some bankers are ready to call it quits. What is surprising is that each of the five bank leaders we interviewed for the cover story on the outlook for banking (p. 22) remain upbeat about the business. They did not specifically reference the diversity edict, but they did talk about the Dodd-Frank Act's heavy impact. These bankers, CEOs of institutions ranging from $196 million to $55 billion, have been through a lot and have seen a lot. The burden of regulation weighs on all of them and on their banks. Each of them, however, remains committed to, and still excited by, the business they love, and they are optimistic about its future. Are they not frustrated by many things? Of course. One of their biggest frustrations is that preoccupation with compliance keeps them and their staffs from dealing with customers in the way that they would like to, and also hinders them from taking advantage of new developments and opportunities. It's hard to be innovative when your time and other resources are tied up in dealing with new and existing rules. Despite all that, these veterans haven't lost their zest for the business. Something one of them said was particularly interesting regarding the generational change that eventually occurs in every ongoing business. What older bankers complain about, younger bankers regard as normality, observed Dan Blanton, who is ABA's vice-chairman, and CEO of Georgia Bank and Trust, Augusta. All five bankers were philosophical to varying degrees about the regulatory load. This could be summed up as, "Deal with it and move on." All agreed, however, that "dealing with it," includes pushing back against unnecessary and counterproductive regulatory interference. Being engaged helps keep you sane. Harris Simmons, CEO of Zions Bancorp., Salt Lake City, makes a good point about regs in the article, one that sometimes gets lost: "As bankers, ... we need to acknowledge that this is an industry that has an enormous public trust vested in it, and that regulation is fundamentally important to our ability to do what we do." He also observed, however, that bankers should demand that those competing with them be subject to the same rules. For those whose passion for the business has been dampened by the crush of regulations and other factors, perhaps the views of the bankers in the cover story-views that are upbeat in a very rational way-will help rekindle some of the old excitement that attracted them to banking in the first place.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - December 2013

Chairman's View
Editor's Column
Bank Notes
Picture This
Is wealth management a good fit?
Tech Topic
What's Ahead?
New diversity standards cover workplace and suppliers
Compliance Inbox
ABA At Your Service
Legal Issues
First Person

ABA Banking Journal - December 2013

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