Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Passionate Bankers

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Passionate Bankers

Article excerpt

This month's issue is full of passion. No, not that kind--a passion for banking. In this issue is a two-part special report on community banking, and the community bankers covered in it are passionate about what they do.

Take, for example, our cover subject, Richard Pamperin, current chairman of the ABA Community Bankers Council. You'd be hard pressed to find a better example of what community banking is all about than Dick Pamperin and his Marion State Bank.

In many ways, Pamperin is the community of Marion, Wis., although he'd never say that. The fact is there's little that goes on in the town of 1,273 that he or one of his officers isn't leading, steering, or promoting. "If I just wanted to be a banker, I could work from 9:00 to 4:30 and go home," he says in the cover story, which begins on page 28, "but I feel I've taken on a bigger job than just a banker."

Pamperin considers banking a calling, a term with an almost old-fashioned quality to it--like the general practitioner of old who would make house calls. Banking, like medicine, has evolved into a complex array of specialized functions, and in the process has lost some of its "respectability" as an industry. In truth, of course, banking of yore had its share of shortcomings, it just tends to look better in the sepia-tinted recollections people have of the past.

Ultimately it's individuals within the industry, and individual institutions, that define banking. The many bankers--including those at large banks--who believe that their line of work is not just a job, but a calling, have built over the years a reservoir of trust and respect that banks still enjoy with many customers.

Dick Pamperin is one of these individuals. There are thousands of other bankers around the country just like him who won't ever make the cover of a national magazine. But they can take vicarious pride in his moment in the spotlight, for it's their moment as well.

The second article in the report calls attention to other unheralded institutions. It summarizes the findings of a KPMG Peat Marwick study of 25 top-performing banks and thrifts. You're seeing it here first--the official release of the report will be at the ABA/BMA Community Bankers Conference beginning March 3.

The study confirms that consistent high performance doesn't require genius, nor does it depend on implementing the latest management techniques. …

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