Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Don't Mess with My Job

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Don't Mess with My Job

Article excerpt

THE FOLLOWING EXCERPT appears in this month's Pass the Aspirin column, on page 20. It comes from Ann Marie Mehlum, CEO of Summit Bank, Eugene, Ore.

"What gives me a headache is that the Fed bails out these huge banks with rate cuts, yet there's no reason to expect any change in these banks' 'short-term-focused' strategies in the future. We received 12 credit card solicitations this week at our house, all from the big three. Half of them were addressed to my two sons who are in college and have no income to repay credit card bills, not to mention no credit history. In fact, we received a few more unsolicited solicitations than usual, including offers with low starting rates and additional complications that could push card holders into 30% rates.

"Regrettably, it seems, unless there's a founder or major shareholder at the helm, it's getting harder and harder to find responsible leadership at gargantuan companies in any industry, including mine: banking."

Mehlum is not the only banker to express chagrin over some of what goes on under the name of "banking." The way we see it, though, it is not really a small versus big issue. It has more to do with pride of craft or calling--and with making a difference. Some journalists, for example, wince at what passes for "journalism" in some quarters, which drags down the entire profession.

It's not really altruism, either. Publications are businesses. So are banks. Each needs to make money in order to continue functioning. For some, it begins and ends there--making money. That's not immoral, however. Purely monetary motives many times bring benefits--monetary and otherwise--to people beyond the principals.

But a great many people, recognizing that a good portion of their lives are spent earning a living, wish to have that effort matter in some way beyond bucks. …

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