Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

At the Starting Gate

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

At the Starting Gate

Article excerpt

We don't know what Jeff Plagge thinks about "crowdfunding." The feature on that interesting web-based trend in this issue (p. 34) was written after we had interviewed him for this month's cover story. Most likely it's on his radar.

When it comes to technology-based developments that could affect banks, the Iowa banker's radar is pretty wide ranging. In fact, ABA's incoming chairman views payment-related trends to be among the most important issues facing the industry, as you can read in the cover story (p. 20).

Plagge, president and CEO of $1.5 billion-assets Northwest Financial Corp., Arnolds Park, Iowa, is the product of an unusual combination of experience. He is both a long-time banking practitioner (at four different banks) as well as an almost equally long-time participant in high-level policy debates in his association service. Plagge has been active in the ABA for a remarkable 23 consecutive years, and that's in addition to service with the Iowa Bankers Association.

During much of that time he was also running community banks. Our profile of him explains how he managed all that, but the point is, his "dual life" gives him a unique perspective.

Plagge is as aware as anyone of how the traditional bailiwick of community banks is changing. In our interview with him, he spoke about how the typical activities of most community banks can be framed within a box, and about how that box is shrinking. One example is consumer lending. He points out that the consumer portfolios of most community banks are disappearing. It's a function of competitive pressures from captive finance companies, credit unions, and other nonbank players, as well as competition from large banks using data-driven models. …

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