Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Healthy Treason

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Healthy Treason

Article excerpt

Here's a solution to the reg burden you don't hear very often. A banker in Kansas told me to call up the appropriate federal regulator the next time we get a new rule and tell them, "We're just not going to do that." And the banker added, "I'm dead serious."

I heard a lot of ideas like that during ABA's town meetings this spring. I and the other ABA officers heard from about 800 bank CEOs who took time out of their schedules, traveled many miles, and, in the case of Iowa bankers, drove through fog as thick as pea soup, to be with us in Des Moines, Chicago, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Atlanta, and Dallas.

While each town meeting had its own mood and feeling, the one in Kansas City covered many of the themes we heard expressed at the other meetings. Nearly 200 bankers joined us in Kansas City. We sensed right away that this group was ready to talk, so I tossed out the agenda and went right to the open discussion. What happened was exactly what I hoped would happen.

Bankers stood up and criticized Congress for passing too many rules, defended the dual-banking system, chastised the media, and told their favorite examiner horror stories, like the one about the examiner "who didn't like the way we folded our loans in the note drawer."

These were bankers who wanted action on the reg burden. They talked about forming new business coalitions, going out more aggressively to the public, and making deals whenever necessary.

In fact, there was a lot of healthy treason spoken in Kansas City. Some bankers thought we should declare a national bank holiday to demonstrate our industry's anger over the reg burden. Others felt that bankers aren't writing enough letters to Congress, while one banker said, "We need a bigger lever than writing letters. …

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