ABA Banking Journal - December 2013 - (Page 6)
By bill Streeter
For those whose passion for the
business has been dampened
by the crush of regulations,
take hope from five peers
Who Remain upbeat
ABA BANKING JOURNAL
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?
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
Is wealth management a good fit?
New diversity standards cover workplace and suppliers
ABA At Your Service
ABA Banking Journal - December 2013