By Jim Haley, CBW Chairman, President & CEO Thurston First Bank
The more that I become involved in the legislative and decision making process, the more concerned I get. What I am discovering is that if we don’t speak up for Community Banking, no one will.
The DNA of a Community Banker typically contains the “Nice” gene. This gene allows us to be compassionate, involved in our communities and have a deep sense of pride in what we do every day. Because we are well intended in all that we do, a threat to our existence seems unthinkable. We are the good guys, we wear the white hats and we are the bedrock of small business that drives our nation’s economy.
Let there be no doubt about it that we are under attack on three fronts! Too Big To Fail Banks to the left, Credit Unions to the right and regulatory burdens to the center!
We have lost banks to a consolidating industry due to regulatory burden and we are getting hammered by the large Credit Unions with advantaged costs and lax efforts to comply with regulation. The regulators are slow to acknowledge our plight. Credit Unions want our business and they demonstrate it daily through undisciplined pricing, ever increasing demands for expanded power that over reach their charter, and all in the name of “people before profit”. The Too Big To Fail Banks have feasted on their preferred status, growing to a size and at a rate that pose massive systemic threat to our country.
The big guys are out growing us and the Credit Unions are out numbering us and the regulators are focused on such minutia at community banks that they run the risk of missing the next big financial cycle.