Magazine article American Banker

Bankers Rate Regulators - and Results Are Surprising

Magazine article American Banker

Bankers Rate Regulators - and Results Are Surprising

Article excerpt

CHICAGO -- For once the shoe was on the other foot -- bankers were asked to grade the agencies that regulate them.

And to everyone's surprise, the regulators came out looking pretty good.

The accounting firm of McGladrey, Hendrickson and Pullen asked 1,300 banks throughout the country to give their impressions. Some 277 in 43 states replied -- a fairly small number -- and one would expect banks with the biggest complaints to be the most vocal. However, negative responses were outweighed by those who found the regulators helpful.

"I thought the regulators would have been rated more severely," said Jim Koltveit, a partner in the accounting firm. "It seems that banks generally rate them rather highly, while bankers I talk to often seem rather critical. Maybe that's because a banker only mentions the regulators when he has a problem with them."

The banks were asked to award scores of 1 for very helpful, 2 for helpful, 3 for okay, 4 for nuisance, and 5 for adversaries.

State agencies came out on top with an overall 2.23 rating, followed by the Federal Reserve with 2.35, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. with 2.37, and the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency with 2.39.

The best average rating by bank size went to the Comptroller, with a score of 1.71 from multibank holding companies of $25 million to $50 million. That group also scored the Fed highly at 1.75, but their smaller brethren under $25 million gave the Fed the worst average score in the survey at 3.50.

One-bank holding companies between $50 million and $100 million awarded the only other rating to exceed 3 to the Fed, at 3.17. However, the Comptroller landed two 3s, from independent banks and holding companies of $100 million to $200 million in size.

Overall ratings did not change much from those of the first survey in 1982, though a smaller percentage of bankers gave "nuisance" or "adversaries" ratings, according to the survey's executive summary. …

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