What keeps you up at night? What drives you to the edge of insanity? In other words… what are you passionate about? I know that this might appear to be a strange question, but one well worth exploring. What gives you a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement? Is it the same thing that causes you strong feelings, such as anger? What if that same thing causes you all of those emotions? We all have a passion; some of us have numerous passions. If you haven’t taken the time to look reflectively at your life and figure out what you’re truly passionate about, I would strongly recommend that you do so. What you discover might be pretty interesting.
According to Merriam-Webster “Passion” is: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something: a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way: a strong sexual or romantic feeling for someone. Since this discussion is not really about my “love-life/romantic interest”, I think we’ll skip the later definition.
Our countries founding fathers were extremely passionate about their individual freedoms and our citizen’s right to self-governance. They believed so adamantly in those ideas that many gave their very lives for that cause. In today’s world we seldom see examples of such extreme passion, or do we?
I regularly get calls from our bankers who are upset, agitated or just down right hacked off due to some issue that they have had to deal with that seemed either unfair, unwarranted or just plain stupid. More times than not the “issue” centers around one of the following: excessive regulations, unclear regulations, intrusive regulators and/or regulator overreach. What is the common thread as to why the preceding are so upsetting to our community bankers? Simple, each issue creates an inability for them to serve their local consumer in the manner that is best for them. Very seldom do I hear our Kansas community bankers upset because they are personally struggling due to these issues. No, it is overwhelmingly because they cannot help their customer in the manner that would be best for that customer. What does this sound like to you? To me it sounds like passion. Not just passion for a job, but passion for the people and community that each banker serves. This is what makes community bankers and true community banking so different from what those on Wall Street call “banking”. Community bankers put the consumer first. When that isn’t possible, due to one of the many regulatory issues that could apply, they get upset, agitated or down right hacked off.
So, what can you do when you’re passionate about something and feel like you’re hopes and dreams are being stifled, minimized, or threatened? Can you do nothing in hopes that someone else will stand up and fight your battles for you? Sure you can. Many battles have been won due to the sacrifice of a few for the good of the many. Maybe not a good strategy. Should you rely on your trade association(s) to fight all of the battles? Let’s be honest here. Standing up for, and defending community banking is the primary reason that the Community Bankers Association of Kansas (CBAK) exists. We advocate exclusively for the benefit of our community bank membership. We regularly visit with our elected members of Congress as well as continually discussing pertinent issues with all of the regulatory agencies that our Kansas community bankers deal with. More than once we have contacted an ombudsman and advocated for action against either an unfair situation or rogue examiner. But, is this enough to fix the problem? Can your trade association alone fix all of the injustices that you are forced to deal with? I wish I could unequivocally say… yes we can. But that is simply not the truth. This is more than just a fight; this is a battle for the very essence of what we believe in. The community banking way of life is under full assault by those in power who don’t know the difference between Main Street and Wall Street. To put this in Kansas terminology… they don’t know the difference between a bull and a steer. I guarantee the bull and steer know the difference.
We are in this battle for the long haul. Either standing alongside our community bank members or, when needed, out in front leading the charge. We will continually educate our elected officials about what is needed to remedy the injustices that we see and make sure that our memberships voices are heard. We will cast light on regulatory abuses and attack those situations. But, we cannot successfully win this battle without the support and involvement of you, our community bankers. We must have our community bank membership fully engaged in this fight with us. What does “engaged” mean when looking at it from CBAK’s viewpoint? It means that our membership is actively participating in association events that either: 1. Help benefit the community banking industry as a whole, think either legislative or regulatory advocacy (both in Topeka and Washington) and/or 2. Build relationships with other Kansas community bankers, example: taking the time to socialize with other Kansas community bankers so that when you have questions or concerns you have a network of friendly like-minded comrades to share with.
The Community Bankers Association of Kansas will do our part We will continue to advocate on your behalf and provide opportunities for you to do the same both in Topeka and Washington. We will also continue to hold a multitude of association sponsored social events focused on allowing you to meet with, and build lasting relationships with other Kansas community bankers.
Your part. Well, you have a couple things to decide. If not you, then who? If not now, then when?
So… how are you going to engage?
We at CBAK have a passion, and that passion also happens to be our mission. Simply stated: One Mission, Community Banks.