Some people think of Brian P. Smith as the brains of SCBA.
An economist by training, Mr. Smith is an all-around technical expert at the Savings and Community Bankers of America. He reads comment letters and congressional testimony before they go out.
And more important, he said, he serves "as a resource and a sort of gut check in terms of how the industry might feel, and how it stacks up with market-place reality."
Mr. Smith is a commuter economist and shuttles each week between Washington and Chicago, where he is President and CEO of SCBA Management Services. Inc., SCBA's for-profit subsidiaries. It can be tough to reach him (though you'll know it's him by the smooth Scottish accent over the line). He's terrible at returning phone calls, and freely admits, "I hate voice-mail." As a result, his voice mailbox is usually overflowing.
Mr. Smith is especially busy because SCBA relies heavily on him. He is instrumental in for mulating all policy positions SCBA takes. He's also savvy at anticipating how each will be in terpreted on Capitol Hill, and in particular, inside federal agencies.
He only visits Capitol Hill When he is needed, "as a technical support to our lobbying staff," Mr. Smith said. "I tend not to fly solo missions up there."
But regulators are a different matter. "I go talk to them all the time," he said. "It's a different environment when you talk to regulatory staff, its sort of technician-to-technician."
"He's one of the crown jewels of the organization," said SCBA President Paul A. Schosberg. "There isn't any significant area of policy formation and policy implementation that Brian isn't involved in. He is pan of the centerpiece of the way that SCBA goes about its business."
As Mr. Smith sees it, the key issues facing the thrift industry are reform of the Federal Home Loan Bank system, the anticipated premium imbalance between banks' and thrifts' federal deposit insurance fund, secondary market agencies' activities, and mutual thrifts convening to stock form.
Mr. Smith grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland, and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Edinburgh. He received an M.A. in economics from that university in 1971, and holds a doctorate in economics from Southern Illinois University.
When he's not watching thrift regulations, Mr. Smith enjoys running, playing tennis, and scuba' diving. He reads constantly, and has eclectic interests. "I like to call Brian a renaissance man," Mr. Schosberg said. "The diversity and scope of his interests is almost without parallel."
Brian P. Smith
Director, policy development
Savings and Community
Bankers of America
900 19th St. NW, Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20006