Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Back to the Business of Banking

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Back to the Business of Banking

Article excerpt

What makes you feel best about being a banker? Is it helping a new business get off the ground? Assisting a first-time homebuyer? Working with a young farmer? It might be financing a new project on Main Street, or helping a new library or hospital become a reality.

These are things bankers do every day, and they all boil down to helping others. We help our customers when they have a problem or an opportunity. And we help our communities when we make them better places to live and work.

That is the business of banking, and we need to get louder about that message.

It's not that we ever stopped lending to, guiding, and helping our customers. But events of the past five years have made the national conversation about banking a negative one. It's time to change that. It's time to get back to the future. Banking is, after all, inherently about building a better future for the communities we serve.

Getting back to the business of banking means three things.

First, we need to focus on our customers and their needs with a justified sense of optimism. We cannot make our compliance and legislative challenges our customers' problems. If we do, they may find another place to do business. Our employees and our customers like to be around optimistic people, not negative people.

Second, getting back to the business of banking means looking at an entirely different competitive landscape and adapting. Relevance is our goal.

For example, a new payment system is coming down the track at a high rate of speed, and hundreds of nonbank entities want to move that track in their direction. …

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