With the appointment of Camden R. Fine to the Federal Advisory Council, community bankers will have a voice on a committee dominated by financial services giants.
"I'm told it's unusual for a community banker to serve on the Federal Advisory Council, which flatters and humbles me," said Mr. Fine, the president and chief executive officer of Midwest Independent Bank of Jefferson City, Mo. He is also the chairman of $8 million-asset Bunceton State Bank in Bunceton, Mo., which he bought in March.
Mr. Fine, 50, will be one of 12 senior executives on the roundtable, which quarterly advises the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on regional banking issues.
Of the dozen representatives, Mr. Fine is affiliated with the smallest organizations on the council. Midwest Independent is a $100 million-asset bankers' bank that he founded in 1984. "I talk in millions with an 'M,' " Mr. Fine said, distinguishing himself from the other members. His one-year term begins on Jan. 1, when he will succeed C.Q. Chandler of $2.4 billion-asset Intrust Financial Corp. of Wichita, Kan.
In his role as the 10th District representative, Mr. Fine will attend at least four meetings in Washington with Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve Board. Most representatives named to the 2001 council are from large financial institutions, including Wells Fargo & Co., J.P. Morgan & Co., Wachovia Corp., and Charles Schwab Corp.
"The advice that a community banker will give is very different from what the governors will hear from a representative from a major New York bank," said Kenneth A. Guenther, executive vice president of Independent Community Bankers of America. "Both are equally valuable, but the governors should get both points of view."
But Mr. Fine is more than just a token community banker, Mr. Guenther said. He is an "articulate and informed community banker who has connections with hundreds of community banks. That's very different and very important."
As the head of Midwest Independent Bank, Mr. Fine interacts with about 500 community banks in Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska. As a result, Mr. Fine said, he has a good understanding of what the hot issues are for community banks in the region.
"I talk with scores of community bank presidents every week and know the issues uppermost in their minds," Mr. Fine said. "I'm in a unique position in that sense."
Tom Hoenig, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, said that kind of familiarity led him to nominate Mr. Fine. Aside from his strong banking background, Mr. Fine's small-bank perspective will be invaluable to the board, he said.
"In the last few years there has been a broadening of the representation from smaller institutions," Mr. Hoenig said, citing representation from community banks in Pennsylvania and Texas. "This is a continuation of that trend."