Magazine article Independent Banker

A Return on Integrity

Magazine article Independent Banker

A Return on Integrity

Article excerpt

Integrity is often defined as closing the gap between what you know you should do and what you're actually doing.

As community bankers, we have the privilege of keeping a constant pulse on the needs of the communities we serve. Better still, we're often equipped with the resources to take quick action to efficiently meet those needs.

While many community banks still operate with full integrity, recent headlines are rife with examples of the opposite. One reason for this lapse in integrity-driven banking could be that it's difficult to calculate a return on integrity. We seem to have forgotten over time that community banking is as much an actionable verb as it is a noun.

When we community bank with integrity, we spring into action when we spot an individual, family or community need, quickly closing the aforementioned integrity gap. We walk the talk and steward our communities' resources for their-and our-mutual benefit.

Most of us are aware that our nation is in the midst of a financial illiteracy crisis. Student debt and credit card debt are on the rise, emergency and retirement savings are on the decline, and of the nearly 50 percent of marriages that end in divorce, many cite money troubles as a contributing factor. This bleak picture is the new normal for our average depositor, first-time homebuyer or hopeful small-business owner. It doesn't take long to understand how this new reality could quickly affect the communities we serve, as well as our own balance sheets.

While our community banks aren't to blame for these trends, we can contribute to or even spearhead the solution, one that empowers and protects communities and institutions alike. …

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