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Want to know how smalltown bankers feel?

I received an email from my friends at American Banker the other day. They had just published a letter from a rather angry CEO of an American Community Bank. Community banks are like mutuals, cajas or sparkassens over here, and they exist for their members’ interests.

With that in mind, I think we can all empathise with this letter, particularly as these guys receive the same ire that the big boys get from the media and public too:

A Hardboiled Allegory of the Plight of Community Bankers

As I was returning home from a day of helping Habitat for Humanity build a home, I became the victim of domestic abuse.

My name is Community Banker.I am laying on the floor, with two broken ribs, a broken leg and a broken arm.

Blood is oozing from every visible orifice, and my face is all bashed in.

As I try to look around, my big brother, (his name is Wall Street), is leaning against the threshold of the door nursing bruised knuckles from bashing in my face; and a sprained toe from repeatedly kicking me once I was down.

Just then, the door bursts open and in come the authorities. All the agencies were there, FDIC, FRB and so on along with their Tarp.

They rush in, and in their haste to get to Wall Street, they trip over me, breaking another rib, causing another gush of foamy blood to dribble down my chin.

They ignore me, for now, and rush over to Wall Street, to whom they administer first aid. They patch up his bruised knuckles, and splint his sprained toe.

As they prepare to rush him to the hospital, they inject him with growth hormones — I think the hormones were named something like Lehman, Merrill, Bear, WAMU or some such thing.

I guess they wanted to be sure the next time he decided to do this, he'd be big enough to finish the job.

I heard later that they passed a bill to codify that approach rather than put him on a diet.

As they gently guide Wall Street out of the room to the hospital, they look skeptically at me, then decide to kick me a few more times to see if I was going to survive — said they were 'stress testing' to see if I was viable.

They talked amongst themselves for a moment, then announced they were creating a special cure, called CDCI, just for members of the community side of my family and encouraged me to reach out my hand to receive it.

My hope grew and I reached out to them for the cure, but they just laughed and pulled it away just before I was able to grasp it — saying it was only for patients in a condition they named as viable.

They refused to tell me what that meant, and I lie here today in my foyer slowly bleeding.

From what other members of the community side of my family tell me, it appears they wanted to benefit from the announcement but not have to spend the resources on the cure.

They do come around from time to time to administer new "stress tests" — I guess they want to hurry me along so that I don't suffer too long.

I hear occasionally from other members of the community side of my family, and most of them have also experienced this same domestic abuse. On the other hand, my big brother, Wall Street, is back in vigorous health and growing like a weed.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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