Taking Responsibility and Standing Tall

Last week, as the great financial reform debate went into extra innings, temperatures were rising and everyone was tense and tired.  When the conference finally adjourned, one senior Wall Street analyst told me, “Well, you guys (community banks) did great in this bill—we got our butts kicked. They should fire all the lobbyists that represented Wall Street.” That’s a quote; I’m not making it up.

But that’s how it is in Washington.  When one drama ends, another unfolds.  Let the finger pointing begin; it is a time-honored Washington, D.C., tradition.

The temptation on the part of some to finger point is understandable in a way. It’s what we used to do when we were children.  Now that the financial reform conference is over and the result is known, those who did not do so well will give in to the temptation to cast blame on others to deflect their own shortcomings.

But ICBA is a stand-up organization representing stand-up community banking institutions.  That is why I love the community banking industry and have spent most of my adult life in it.  The plain and simple truth is that we won more than we lost, but lose we did on some important issues.  Our response to that is not to point fingers and cast blame, our response is to get up and engage and fight another day and fix what we need to fix.  And that is what ICBA will do, not because it is expedient, but because it is the right thing to do. It is the culture of community bankers.  We will make no excuses. We gave it all we had; we left nothing on the field.

So, let others cast blame wherever they will.  At ICBA we will take pride in our accomplishments, and we will continue to work for the best interests of community banks as this landmark legislation moves into the regulatory arena. 


7 thoughts on “Taking Responsibility and Standing Tall

  1. Cam:

    Hats off to you and your Government Relations team for doing a tremendous job for community banks in these unprecedented and difficult times! We really appreciate everything all of you do and have done for all of us!


  2. Pretty much disagree on the “blame game” point. “Monday morning quarterback” sounds like “blame game”, but every great football team looks carefully at game films to find out what went right and what went wrong. We all make mistakes and there is great benefit to carefully examining what was done and how we can improve. When we work very hard and expect everyone to praise us, we sometimes get defensive when folks point the finger. But many times those folks pointing the finger have a point.
    As for me, I’m not giving up. We are working very hard to stop this measure. I do think it can be stopped and this is what we should work toward. Sure, I made mistakes in this battle and some would be right if they pointed them out. I’m not worrying about that now, because we still might stop this awful proposal. Cam, you have done some very good things in this effort. Keep up the good work. Don’t give up. It ain’t over till it’s over.

  3. Cam: From a “what’s good for the nation” point of view the bill did not address 2 Big 2 Fail, the fact that 40%-50% of the deposits in this nation are controlled by the 4 biggest banks (JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo), nor did it do anything about comppanies like Goldman Sachs (if you watched them in front of Congress) to those guys its business as usual. And where did interchange come from as it pertains to finance reform? All the tough questions were by-passed and all the little pet peeves of consumers were addressed.
    What brought this country to its knees were the Wall Street “Investment” Bankers, not us. I’ll stand by the ICBA because they represent us little guys where the ABA doesn’t but this thing is a sham. I guess in order to work at Goldman Sachs or any other “investment” Bank now a bank holding company you have to decide right up front that ethics is a waste of time, morality does not exist, and fair dealing is a myth. jmm

  4. Guys, look what have they done to Fannie and Freddie!! I assume there is no hope for us? Any comments would be much appreciated, Mr. Fine.

  5. Dodd-Frank would mean the beginning of the end of community banks. It is imperative that community bankers, especially those in the key states of Iowa and Massachusetts, let their Senators know that it is unacceptable. I have spoken with many, many bankers in these states and almost all want to see it stopped.
    Here is a great article that appeared today stating that Dodd-Frank would lead to “crony capitalism”.
    Every day more folks are seeing that this bill will do a great deal to harm the American economy and America’s Community Banks.


    • Ross:
      50 percent of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level.

      20 percent of Americans are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level.

      Nearly half of all Americans read so poorly that they cannot find a single piece of information when reading a short publication.

      These are the statistics that doom what your article pretends to cure. At one time in this country we had a literacy rate of almost 97%. People actually went to the Lincoln Douglas debates not to hear the debates, they already new what the issues were, they just wanted to listen to the passion in the voices of the 2 antagonists and they would listen for hours. Hell we can’t have a presidential debate that lasts more than 60 minutes.
      I suggest you read a few books by Neil Postman such as “How to Watch the Network News”, “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, and “The Disappearance of Childhood”. I think you’ll get an eye opening view of the society we are now living in and why we have a 2,800 page finance reform bill that tries to leave nothing to the imagination. Yet we as bankers will break this reform bill in the next 20-30 years just like we did to Glass-Steagall. Your author is right about one thing this bill will lead to crony capitalism. And because of Too Big Too Fail already has. jmm

  6. Please be advised that you did not represent me and many other community bankers at the financial reform bill signing. It has been disappointing to watch the ICBA try to play both sides of this issue. You say we won more than we lost. The creation of the unneeded CFPA was alone enough for most bankers to oppose this bill. You say the ICBA’s lobbying efforts resulted in an exemption from this pro consumer/anti business agency. As I understand the bill community banks will be subject to every regulation that this agency comes up with. Thats not
    and exemption. Thats more regulation. I don’t think community banks can stands many more “wins” like this.

    guy sims

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