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anking today is no place for the weak of spirit. Thriv-

ing in a culture that frequently looks upon bankers as

wolves in sheep’s clothing can be a daunting challenge

at times. Unfortunately there were some people that

never felt that protective, fiduciary responsibility and

sought profits at any cost to their customers. We have

endured the mortgage market meltdown of recent

years that resulted from a few key players devoid of a

moral compass. It is no wonder that we find ourselves

today in this volatile regulatory environment where

laws and regulations are roaring in at unprecedented

volumes to legislate not only financial products and

services, but even morals and ethics. Think of the

irony of the new mortgage reform laws that are built on the

fundamental concept of the ability-to-repay. I have to laugh

when I hear some speak of ability to repay as if it is a new idea

just being introduced to our industry. It is by no means a new

and novel concept! It’s good old fashioned common sense

banking. But, some saw our banks as a way to fill their own

personal piggy banks and swept in with no concern except

for quick and fast profits. As a result, sweeping reforms and

new complex laws and regulations encroach on every aspect

of banking.

You have to maintain a thick skin these days to be com-

munity banker. We must remind ourselves that our banks

serve as financial lifeblood of our communities and our coun-

try. We originate commercial loans to give startup businesses

a chance to grow and prosper. Our banks provide consumer

loans and mortgage loans that provide transportation and

homes for families. It seems as if every day we hear about a

new scam, a new method of fraud and outright theft that takes

hard-earned money away from honest citizens. It’s no wonder

that all businesses and professionals are more skeptical and

leery of business partners and vendors. Some would say we

have become a society devoid of character. I would say that

we simply have a few more vocal segments of our society that

yell louder and seek far more notoriety than the rest of us who

are happily going about our business of being our brother’s

keeper. Now more than ever, we need to keep the focus on

our opportunity and our privilege as the financial stewards

of our communities, providing a safe haven for our custom-

ers’ dreams, their hopes and their savings. Banking remains a

battle worth fighting!

The Dodd Frank Act and the Consumer Financial Protec-

tion Bureau (CFPB) has dramatically changed the focus with

its sole mission of protecting consumers in their financial

Banking: No Place for Wimps

By Patti Blenden, Financial Solutions, Inc.