On Election Eve, some thoughts about banking politics, political alliances, and their unraveling.
Trade associations: The national banking associations have clout with their members and can influence the body politic, if not the outcome of elections. The trade groups are part of the influential cadre of "opinion leaders" who are often asked to interpret complex issues and proposals.
After any presidential election, it is inevitable that some old alliances become "nonperforming," forcing political realignments. This can be especially wrenching if a President is unseated, as could happen Tuesday.
Ross Perot: He made some major contributions to raising the level of campaign debate. But when he brought up the possibility of a bank crisis after Election Day, Congress and the administration joined forces to bury the issue.
Mr. Perot will be proven partly, but not totally, right.
Big versus small: The demarcation between the nation's big and small financial institutions has never been more clearly defined.
No administration has ever tilted more than George Bush's in favor of the larger banks.
The administration's dispatching of Bush adviser Clayton Yeutter as an emissary to the Independent Bankers Association of America came too late to be taken seriously or mend the necessary fences.
Ironically, the bankers who were beneficiaries of the President's appointments and policies seemed to show little interest in saving his hide. This may be why the Bush camp eventually put out the welcome mat for community bankers.
Fraternity no more: Until the end of World War II, commercial bankers were pretty much of one body and spirit. Whether your name was Rockefeller or Smith, you "belonged" if you were a banker.
That sense of fraternity is dead and buried.
My vote: George Bush never left any doubt as to which part of the industry he wanted to be identified with. He supported expanded powers, interstate branching, and forbearance of capital-adequacy enforcement -- unless, of course, the bank was "too small to save."
Would Bill Clinton's election help the "too small to save" or the "too big to fail?" That has not been clearly established.
But at least with Gov. Clinton there could be some hope.
For myself, a lifelong Republican who believes in community banking, the chance to vote for change is "too big to pass up."
Mr. McCrady heads McCrady/Midwest, a business and trade consulting firm. From 1976 to 1988 he was executive vice president of the Independent Bankers of Minnesota.