Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

My Goal: Restoring Banking to a Position of Honor

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

My Goal: Restoring Banking to a Position of Honor

Article excerpt

When I was a young man, some three years out of college, I had to make a career decision that would determine how I spent the rest of my life.

The choice was between continuing to serve our country as a Naval officer, or following in the footsteps of my father, Howard Wilson, who earned a position of honor and respect as an Ohio community banker.

I chose community banking because it would enable me to put down roots and do something for a community.

That was 35 years ago, a time when the public believed that being a banker was a noble profession. But today the public no longer holds bankers in high regard. And I want to change that.

My goal as chairman of the American Bankers Association is to restore our industry to the position of honor it once held.

To put my top priority into action, I am establishing an image committee to be led by ABA's new Vice Chairman, Matt Williams, president, Gothenburg State Bank, Gothenburg, Neb., and my good friend, Bick Weissenrieder, chairman and CEO of The Hocking Valley Bank in Athens, Ohio. They will work with bankers and the ABA staff to help us reclaim the status we once enjoyed.

We must convince our communities of the value of having a traditional regulated bank whose success is tied to the community's success. That's who we are and what we do.

We need to tell that story because we stand a far better chance of winning in the political arena when we are also winning in the arena of public opinion. …

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