Despite negative headlines and worrying trend lines, banking will survive because bankers “always find a way,” outgoing American Bankers Association Chairman Dan Blanton told attendees at ABA’s Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn., today.
As a self-described “unrepentant history buff,” Blanton cited several instances from banking history when regulatory or technological changes were predicted to spell death for banks. “Despite every wrenching event that threatened banking — and our communities and customers — our industry has been remarkably resilient,” he said. “We want to serve our communities and our customers. It’s what we do. It’s what we’ve always done.”
He cited a few instances of ways banker advocacy has moved the needle, such as in prompting regulatory agencies to tailor rules more appropriately to different kinds of banks and urging the FDIC to do more to advance the process of chartering new banks. “We’ve got more to do,” he noted.
Blanton — CEO of Georgia Bank and Trust, Augusta, Ga. — also shared inspiring stories of bankers he met traveling across the country as an ABA officer. “There is no other industry that can provide a more authentic experience at work and a more intentional outreach into our communities than the banking industry,” he said. “No one, other than us bankers, do that. On behalf of our customers and communities, we find a way and it can be very rewarding.”