Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Q How Can Community Banks Keep Up? an Interview with Christy Walika, Senior Vice-President of the America's Community Bankers Council

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Q How Can Community Banks Keep Up? an Interview with Christy Walika, Senior Vice-President of the America's Community Bankers Council

Article excerpt

ABABJ: Talk a bit about the ACBC and its role at ABA.

Christy Walika: The ACBC is made up of 85 bankers from $25 million in assets to $2.7 billion, with a median of about $200 million. It represents commercial banks, thrifts, mutuals, family-run institutions, holding companies--the full range of community banks. It's a sounding board for what is going on around the country. Some areas had their best year ever in 2010. Others barely hung on. It's also a strong peer network. Some bankers visit or call each other for years after serving.

ABABJ: Given the size spread that's represented, are the discussions relevant to all of the members?

CW: In general, when you talk to banks, it's the same issues. Squeezing margins, loss of overdraft income, how to raise capital, find talent. The same things in the Dodd-Frank Act that affect a $25 million bank also affect one that's $500 million.

ABABJ: What's their biggest concern these days?

CW: The unknown. What is Dodd-Frank really going to do? Everyone worries that they'll need to hire new staff; that regulatory treatment is going to cause them to turn away good customers. ABA's Dodd-Frank Tracker [found on www.aba.com] has been extremely popular.

ABABJ: How do their views filter up and around ABA?

CW: ABA's officers attend the meetings. Also, the ACBC vice-chair sits on the Government Relations Council and a state association executive sits on the ACBC. We hold focus groups at the meetings--they might be on compliance issues or on products and services that the bankers need. We also survey the members during the year about ways ABA can help them be more competitive. …

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