When the chairman of an Evansville, Ind., bank assumed responsibility for a newly acquired insurance agency, he asked the agency's founder what role he should play.
According to William Vieth, chairman of Citizens National Bank, the advice delivered by insurance veteran Al Adams couldn't have been clearer:
"Keep the bankers away."
In a recent interview, Mr. Adams said he had been afraid the bankers would have too many meetings and leave the agency's sales force with too little time to promote insurance products.
"Bankers thrive on taking a vote to see what should be done," he said. "We're lean and mean and able to get things done quickly."
While Mr. Adams' words might strike some as stereotyping bankers unfairly, they underscore the cultural challenges that banks …