Bankers on the Boards

Article excerpt

ICBA members carry the views of community banking far and wide

Community bankers across the country wear many hats. They are active in their communities and sit on the boards of local organizations. But many community bankers are taking their service-minded ways to the national level through their participation in ICBA.

ICBA members serve on a number of key government and industry panels. They provide greater community representation into the Federal Home Loan Bank System. They represent community bank views in the development of the payments system. They shape national monetary policy. And they help maintain community bank access to the secondary mortgage market.

Chuck Doyle, chairman of Texas First Bank-Texas City, and a former ICBA president, is a notable example of ICBA members working actively on behalf of our industry. Doyle has always kept his banker hat active in many arenas. In 1990, through his connections serving as ICBA Bancard's chairman, he became the community banking representative on Visa USA's board of directors.

For more than 10 years Doyle has served on the card association's board and just this past year he was elected to represent U.S. banks on the Visa International board and the board of Inovant Inc., a Visa wholly owned processing subsidiary. "Apparently they are comfortable with my judgment," the banker quips.

Linda Echard, president and CEO of ICBA Bancard, says Doyle was particularly instrumental in putting together an ad hoc debit card committee to advise Visa on the marketing assistance small card issuers need.

Coupled with the Visa boards, Doyle was elected in July 2001 to the board of Certegy Inc., ICBA Bancard's Internet banking software preferred vendor. While he attends to his committee commitments, sons Chris and Matt, mine the store, serving as president and CEO. Meanwhile, Matt Doyle also takes time out to serve the industry as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

"I couldn't do all this without the help of my sons," Doyle the elder says.

However, Doyle's role as the voice of the community banker has not been limited to his work on the card association's board. In 1995, after prodding from the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank and ICBA President and CEO Ken Guenther, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, agreed that a community banker's view was needed on the Federal Advisory Council and elected Doyle as one of the first community banker representatives. The council advises the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on national monetary policy, among other issues.

"A lot of community bankers in the past were excluded from these groups by practice, not by policy, and I credit Ken Guenther with encouraging us to do more than elect other people to serve in these positions," Doyle says. "By being an active participant I am able represent my customers and our industry and ensure the future of my franchise."

Today Camden Fine, president and CEO of Midwest Independent Bank in Jefferson City, Mo., is one of the community bank voices on the Federal Advisory Council.

Fine says it is important for community banks to be represented on these boards. "There is a significant difference between community banks and big banks," he says. "Sitting on boards like this, I can bring the community bank perspective to regulations, as well as deposit insurance and payment systems issues."

"Each representative is given an equal voice on the Federal Advisory Council," Fine adds. "The New York Federal Reserve Bank representative is the chairman of JP Morgan. His opinions don't hold any more weight than mine do. There is an evenhandedness and overall fairness on this council."

Fine, who is also chairman of Main Street Bank, a retail community bank in central Missouri, recalls that twice in the past year, the voices of community bankers affected the outcome of issues the council dealt with. The council's confidentiality requirements prevent Fine from giving specifics. …