Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Windows on Your World

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Windows on Your World

Article excerpt

Bill Gates didn't invent the word windows. Many centuries earlier, the dictionary tells us, the Vikings had the word "vindauga," from vindr, for wind, and auga, for eye. In other words, wind-eye, or, weather eye, which was essential to these seafaring raiders, who had to keep a weather eye for the right wind and tide to board their longships.

There are all kinds of windows in life, and in business:

There are picture windows, for daydreaming.

There are frosted windows, for privacy.

There are emergency escape windows.

There are windows to throw open to fresh air--and others to throw open to fresh thinking. And there are windows of opportunity.

Bankers, of course, are far more ethical than Vikings, but they must still have their own "wind eve" for the future, facing such competition as they do. In this eighth edition of the ABA Community Bankers Council/ABA Banking Journal Community Bank Competitiveness Survey, we opted to take a deeper look at six subjects. The report is based on returns from 575 community banks and thrifts.

Come and look through our windows.

By Steve Cocheo, executive editor. Research associate: Kaisha Harris, assistant editor. Charts by Amanda Kirk.

Exhibit 1

What is the top thing you do that helps you to be productive? *

(Listed in descending frequency of mention)

Manage my schedule--overwhelming #1 strategy, accomplished
via both new and old technologies and plain old prioritization.
Use personal technology--from e-mail to PCs to voice mail.
Delegate--Knowing how and to whom.
Hire and maintain a great staff--Who else can you delegate to?
Organize--Do whatever it takes to run the day efficiently.
Be accessible--Succeed by letting people see and talk to you.
Use administrative assistant--The essential right hand for some CEOs.
Read--Keep up with the industry.
Start early--Getting in early helps some CEOs get a jump on the day.
Exercise--Healthy body leads to an agile mind.
Learn to focus; take short vacations; pray

* This was an open-ended question.


How do you compare to your fellow CEOs?

Many successful community bank CEOs readily give the credit for their banks' performance to their staffs. There is justice in this. After all, no company, team, army, or other organization functions solely with one person. Sam Walton, George S. Patton, Vince Lombardi, Rudy Giuliani, and Joan of Arc all had help.

Yet it is equally obvious that the right leader can transform an organization, turn an also-ran into a winner. History is packed with examples of this.

So it is not surprising that a key element in competitiveness is the CEO. What does today's bank leader look like? What work habits does he--or she--have? What mix of skills?

To get a better fix, the survey, for the first time, devoted a full page of its questionnaire to a "CEO Census."

Our findings, shown in detail in the accompanying charts (Exhibits 1-28), paint this profile of the typical community bank chief executive officer:

* Age, service, title, interest: A 54-year-old male who has been with his bank for 15 years and served as CEO for almost 11. He has, on average, been in banking for 23 years and holds the additional title of president, most commonly. Typically he is not also the bank chairman. More than eight out of ten CEOs have an ownership stake in the bank they run. But only four out of ten have a change-in-control agreement with the bank's owners or board, and nearly three-quarters of them don't have more than 25% of their salary tied to their performance.

* Gender: ABA's chairman-elect is a woman, and the chairman of the ABA Community Bankers Council is a woman, but overall the gender split remains lopsided: 96.5% male, 3.5% female.

* CEO's working day: On average, the CEO works a ten-hour day, with most CEOs arriving for work between 7 a. …

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