"The Times, They Are a-Changin'" summed up the culture of the 1960s. Interestingly, Bob Dylan could write the same song today about the financial services industry. Think about the changes that have occurred since you became a banker, regardless of how long you have been in the industry. For better or worse, it's "get with the program" or be left in the dust. The same is true for RMA. Since our founding more than 85 years ago, the times they have a-changed...again and again.
In 1914, the Panama Canal was opened, the "war to end all wars" began, and a group of Philadelphia bankers began to explore how the banking industry could change for the better. Their initial goal was to create a framework that would allow banks to exchange credit information on their commercial customers, while, at the same time, protecting the confidential nature of the borrower's relationship with his or her bank.
The resulting document was The Code of Ethics for the Exchange of Commercial Credit Information between Banks. Published in 1916, the Code was one of the principal forces behind the formation of Robert Morris Associates. Over the decades, the Code has remained a cornerstone of both our association and the industry. Its framework, many bankers tell me, comprises the first banking "rules" they learned as they entered the business.
But the times, they are a-changin', causing RMA's Board of Directors to examine the Code within the realities of banking today and in the future. While the fundamental, underlying guidelines contained in the Code will not change, three external circumstances have caused the board to recommend amending these principles for the first time since 1987:
1. RMA's historical focus on the commercial lenders in our industry has expanded as the industry and needs of our members have changed. Today we serve commercial lenders, consumer lenders, and other lenders in our banks and other financial institutions. Moreover, nonlenders involved in the multifaceted aspects of risk management comprise a …