Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Forget Humble Pie

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Forget Humble Pie

Article excerpt

Are there humble bankers?

Sure, quite a few.

Does the Community Reinvestment Act change a bank--or a banker? You bet--in several ways. One of them is that it forces them to stop being humble.

As one banker said, "Examiners want us to write down all the things we do in our area. They even want us to have a book available to our customers telling them how good we are! Is that what bankers should be-- horn - honkers ?"

When I asked another banker about his "CRA book," he left his desk, stepped into the customer area, and handed me a large three-ring notebook. I flipped through the pages: photos, summaries of meetings convened and attended, programs for the 4-H, Girl Scouts, church groups, and lots more.

Bankers know their life and future depend on the community. "If we serve our customers, we thrive," they say; "if we don't, we die." It's that simple. "We don't bleep our bassoon about it, but now CRA says we got to," one banker told me. "OK, we'll do it," he added, "but that's not how our community expects us to respond."

When an addition is needed for the hospital; when the six-man football team goes to the State games; when a flood devastates; when a charitable trust is needed for an accident victim--and on and on--who steps forward to lead or support? The local banker.

And the reward is not an "outstanding" rating from a CRA examiner. It's the personal pride of bank conscience and commitment. It means a solid, sound town.

In one town, three examiners walked Main Street for 30 minutes as a concluding portion of their CRA exam. They asked townspeople a general question about the civic role of the bank. …

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