Anyone who knows me knows that I am a fanatic St. Louis Cardinals fan. So I was in baseball heaven last Friday night. And it got me to thinking about the Cardinals and ICBA and how much our organizations are alike.
The underdog Cardinals became the World Champions of Major League Baseball. How? Well, they stuck to the fundamentals of baseball, they did not get out ahead of themselves, and they knew exactly what their goals were. They were never conflicted—they honored their traditions and knew their purpose. Mathematically the Cardinals had a 1 percent chance of making the playoffs on Aug. 24, let alone winning the World Series.
In the fall of 2009, other state and national bank trade groups and Wall Street gave ICBA the same 1 percent chance of pushing through Congress a change in the FDIC premium assessment formula that would bring long-overdue parity in assessment fees between community banks and the mega Wall Street banks. And I think all those other state and national bank trade groups were just as astonished at ICBA’s achievement in passing the formula change through Congress as the nation was when the underdog Cardinals won it all.
This 2011 Cardinals crew is a gritty, never-say-die underdog of a team that just won’t quit, no matter the odds. ICBA has those same traits. Despite the odds, ICBA alone went up against mighty Wal-Mart and won a nasty two-year fight to keep them from gaining an FDIC-insured charter. Despite the odds, ICBA pushed through the FDIC formula change. Despite the odds, ICBA got the $250,000 insurance limit made permanent.
I could go on and on. The point is that ICBA is almost always the underdog—we are used to that role. We are used to being scoffed at and being the only association to give a clear and uncompromised voice for our thousands of community bank members. But that is ok because it is never wrong to do the right thing. Like the 2011 Cardinals, we will find a way to win, or go down swinging in the effort. What we will never do is quit trying.