A Man of His Roots

Independent Banker, May 1998 | Go to article overview

A Man of His Roots


Nebraska banker Bill McQuillan brings rural America's perspective to IBAA presidency

Yellow florescent light shines through the broad glass-panel window out from Bill McQuillan's office, casting a firefly-like glow into the darkness of the street. Framed by the window's borders, McQuillan writes at his desk inside City National Bank, awaiting a visitor for another after-hours appointment tucked into another busy day. He leans over his desk. He's concentrating intently. Music wafts from a tavern down the block.

Set amid the rounded, rolling hills of central Nebraska's prairie, McQuillan's hometown of Greeley, Neb., is a valley where nearly all of its 600 residents are connected to the land or the industry of agriculture in a tangible way.

"Community bankers do what we can to help people in the community," McQuillan says later away from the bank. "We give personal service, and we feel good about it. We go the extra mile. We need to be proud of what we do."

Working late nights is common for McQuillan, who is president and CEO of City National Bank, a $17 million-asset community bank in Greeley. Broad shouldered, mustachioed and topped with a dark shock of hair, McQuillan is Greeley's local, and only, community banker. He grew up in Greeley as the son and grandson of the local community banker.

Community bankers, he stresses, serve as the economic catalysts that help create and sustain the jobs that are so critical to Main Street America. "Borrowers and community bankers are really partners," he says. "If customers do well, we prosper."

As IBAA's new president for 199899, McQuillan brings an intimate knowledge of community banking and rural America to the job as our industry's national ambassador. And he comes to IBAA's helm when community banking and rural America together face a crossroads of further industry consolidation, deregulation and a battle for fair competition (or a level playing field).

McQuillan's commitment to community banking and agriculture resulted in his election five years ago to the prestigious board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. This position, of which he is now in his second three-year term, permits him to interact with the financial leaders of the United States and bring the concerns of community banking and agriculture to them firsthand.

"Bill has effectively used this prominent position to secure a better national and international understanding of the growing liquidity problems, as well as other issues, confronting the nation's community banks-particularly those serving agriculture," notes Kenneth A. Guenther, IBAA's executive vice president.

Community banking, in particular, today faces dangerous financial restructuring legislation, HR 10, which would weaken national banking franchises while further massively concentrating the financial services industry. It also grapples with a ferocious credit union lobby seeking to overturn the gains banking made in the recent Supreme Court decision that held that multi-occupational common bonds were illegal.

Stopping financial restructuring legislation in Washington, checking the unrestrained expansion of large credit union conglomerates and finding community banks new funding sources are among the top issues on McQuillan's full IBAA agenda.

"Our number one goal as community bankers across this country is to help create jobs," he says. "If we don't pitch in there together to provide the seed to make things happen, then rural America and Main Street America as we know it today isn't going to survive."

A Place to Call Home

Pat and Shelley Donovan had come to Greeley two years ago to achieve financial security and success. One evening in November, fire broke out in their grocery store next to City National Bank. The fire gutted the store and smoke ruined much of the bank's recently remodeled interior.

Emotionally devastated by the fire, however, the couple was hesitant to rebuild. …

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