A bagpipe procession, a chimpanzee, and a mariachi band were on hand at a Toronto trade group conference this week to fete an unlikely hero: the curmudgeonly loan officer.

"Being a risk manager and a credit officer is a double-edged sword," said Gary Ladolcetta, a vice president at Banque Nationale de Paris who was among the revelers. "There's tremendous pressure to say yes to a loan. It's harder to say no. It's the curmudgeons that can say no that will have the healthy portfolios in the future."

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