Trading Jabs with Charlie Gibson: The ABA's Annual Convention Gets a Touch of Television Star Power

By Streeter, Bill | ABA Banking Journal, November 2010 | Go to article overview

Trading Jabs with Charlie Gibson: The ABA's Annual Convention Gets a Touch of Television Star Power


Streeter, Bill, ABA Banking Journal


An old adage about dealing with the press is, "Never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel." Mixing it up with a former TV news anchor, however, is different, especially when he's on your turf. Three bankers taking part in a panel moderated by Charles Gibson, the former host of ABC's World News, showed no compunction about challenging the media star. In a speech that preceded the panel, Gibson cited how various practices, products, and players--interest-only ARMs, collateralized debt obligations, the shadow banking system--had undermined the public's trust. "Am I right that the American public is losing faith in the banking system?" he asked the panelists.

"You're right--and you're wrong," answered Barrie Christman, chairman of Principal Bank, Des Moines, Iowa. The traditional regulated banking industry didn't cause the problems, said Christman. But "we've all been put into the same pot," she added, "and the American public absolutely has lost confidence in our industry and in us as individuals."

McCall Wilson, on the other hand, told Gibson he disagreed with him.

"I don't think the consumer has lost faith in community banking," said Wilson, president and CEO, The Bank of Fayette County, Moscow, Tenn. "I think the system as a whole was broken. TARP was passed, it helped stabilized the system, but the media portrayed it in such a negative light that it gave everyone a black eye. …

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