Magazine article Independent Banker

Clarity of Purpose

Magazine article Independent Banker

Clarity of Purpose

Article excerpt

It's a simple truth: What people believe is ultimately proven not by what they say but by what they do-and don't do. But action not only speaks volumes, it also brings amazing clarity, too.

For community bankers, a crystal-clear example of these truisms occurred when Wal-Mart filed its application last year for a federally insured ILC. At that moment they could see with great clarity who really stepped up to the plate to keep "big box" stores out of banking and preserve the separation of banking and commerce.

Without a doubt, the moment also reaffirmed why ICBA is THE VOICE of the community banking industry. Recognizing the high stakes involved, we were the only national banking trade association that immediately and unconditionally mobilized all its resources and energies against the Wal-Mart application. We not only vociferously opposed the application, we enumerated specific, detailed reasons how a Wal-Mart bank would seriously harm consumers, small businesses, local economies and the nation's carefully balanced financial system. We were also the only national banking association to make a specific legal argument for the FDIC to reject the request.

Not stopping there, ICBA urged the FDIC to take the unprecedented step of holding public hearings, and we rallied our members and bipartisan support from Congress. We also recruited powerful allies in labor and consumer groups, resulting in the broadbased Sound Banking Coalition. The coalition is working tirelessly with ICBA to prevent commercial businesses from owning insured institutions.

The simple truth is that without ICBA vigorously taking action on multiple fronts (and speaking out against mighty economic powers) Wal-Mart, Home Depot and others would probably already have ILC charters in hand by now.

That's not just my opinion. That's what an Oct. 23 front-page article in the Wall Street Journal said. …

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