Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Community Banking: GROWING UP IN West Texas, I Saw and Learned First-Hand from My Father the Positive Impact That a Community Banker and a Community Bank Can Have on People's Lives

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Community Banking: GROWING UP IN West Texas, I Saw and Learned First-Hand from My Father the Positive Impact That a Community Banker and a Community Bank Can Have on People's Lives

Article excerpt

This is an inspirational lesson that many of you have learned from your mother or father as well. And it may have been the tipping point in your pursuit of banking as a professional calling.

I know it was for me. In 1998, I started my own bank--FirstCapital Bank of Texas in Midland. The story of my bank--we're a $1 billion institution--would be extremely difficult to duplicate today. As I testified earlier this year before a House Financial Services subcommittee, new bank startups have dwindled to a handful over the past several years.

There are two main reasons: excessive capital requirements and onerous regulations.

In the not-so-distant past, de novo activity added several hundred new banks into our economic system each year. These new banks, with their typically close ties to customers and communities, knit new sections into our nation's economic fabric. They helped propel economic growth and were formidable competitors--to the benefit of banks, communities and customers alike. They were part of a system of diverse banks propelling a dynamic U.S. economy.

It's a system that we know is well worth nurturing. Fortunately, other people agree.

A recent survey for ABA by Morning Consult that found that Americans overwhelmingly believe that our economy needs banks of all sizes, and that a majority are concerned about fewer banks. The survey also showed that Americans widely understand the benefits banks bring to their communities--79 percent agreed that banks play an important role through financial education offerings and community event sponsorships, and 87 percent agreed that neighborhood branches play an important role by supporting local businesses.

More than half (54 percent) said they were very or somewhat concerned about industry consolidation, and 87 percent said that it was somewhat or very important to have a local bank branch easily accessible from their home. …

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