Happy 2015. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to kick off another year representing the nation’s community banks, an industry that has made its mark through honest dealing, community involvement and personalized customer service.
Over the holidays, I read an article that reminded me just how good all of us have it who work in our community-minded industry. According to this report, the Dutch Banking Association is requiring its 90,000 members to recite an oath pledging to act honorably and lawfully. Those who fail to live up to the oath could face fines, blacklisting or suspensions.
While I appreciate the Dutch Banking Association’s commitment to principle, requiring members to pledge to do the right thing is completely alien to ICBA and community banks. And the reason for that is simple: community banks don’t have to take an oath to do what’s right. They live the oath every day. As a community banker myself for 20 years, I can tell you that honesty, integrity and good conduct are part of the job—the DNA—of community banking.
It’s simple. Community bankers have to do right by their customers because they answer to them every day inside and outside the bank—at Little League games, PTA meetings and church breakfasts. As members of their local communities, community bankers are in the business of putting their customers first, of doing the right thing.
There’s an old saying: “There’s no right way to do the wrong thing.” Community bankers know the difference between right and wrong because doing the right thing is part of what makes them community bankers. In the community banking industry, your word is your bond.
So happy New Year, community bankers. Thank you for continuing to maintain our industry’s high standards and for allowing me to continue working for the good guys. It’s going to be another tough and busy year in Washington, but ICBA will continue doing everything it can to support this great industry. That is my pledge to you.