Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

There's No Such Thing as a "Safe Lead"

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

There's No Such Thing as a "Safe Lead"

Article excerpt

THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS found out the truth of that statement a few weeks ago during a Monday Night Football game in which the Indianapolis Colts stormed back from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win the game in overtime.

Banks function within a pretty competitive league themselves, and one of banking's "refs" recently offered some useful advice, which, if followed, could help banks avoid the fate of Tampa Bay.

Don Powell spoke to bankers at the ABA Annual Convention last month, partly from his position as chairman of the FDIC, but also as a former banker who has lived through the difficult days of banking in the '80s and early '90s.

Banking is very prosperous, right now, Powell observed. He went so far as to say, "The banking industry is in the best shape I've seen." He commended the industry for a job well done, especially in having learned and applied lessons from the last crisis.

But that very success, Powell cautioned, may be the biggest challenge of all. He quoted Andy Grove, former chief of Intel, who said in his book, Only the Paranoid Survive, "Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction. The more successful you are, the more people want a chunk of your business."

Most of us tend to think success is the natural consequence of our enlightened stewardship, and, conversely, that failure is due to events beyond our control.

Powell's message was intended to prick that balloon of managerial ego, and remind us that good managers take steps to deal with the unforeseen.

He counseled that now is the time to get your house in order. …

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