Edwards: Today’s Crises Are Defining Moment For Banks

The crisis going on right now is a defining time for many banks, Jim Edwards said in his first speech as the American Bankers Association chairman today. “All of us are better bankers and better people for having succeeded under such difficult circumstances,” said Edwards, who is CEO of United Bank in Griffin, Georgia.

Leading a bank in successfully delivering Paycheck Protection Program fund to customers has been a highlight of his career, Edwards said. He added that “what will come out of these crises, for the men and women working at banks like mine and yours, is that they will emerge on the other side of this difficult period and realize: Crises are when you grow. Crises are when you can make the most difference to your customers and to your organization.”

Addressing the crisis the nation is having about the “painful examination of conscience around race,” Edwards said banks need to be a part of the conversation because “banks are central to solving problems in the communities we serve and because banks have an important role in ensuring that the economic recovery from COVID-19 is equitable and inclusive.”

He also discussed his passion for inspiring and developing the next generation of bankers. “There is a lot to be inspired about in our industry, and nothing more so than the quality of those bankers of all ages who are ready and willing to lead us going forward,” he said.