Our latest contest asked readers to suggest what downsized and retired bankers can do to keep active in the field on a part-time or consulting basis.
The answers were optimistic. In fact one reader even asked me to call the friend who inspired the contest because he needs the foreign exchange skills this downsized banker possesses.
Several letters mentioned Score-the Service Corps of Retired Executives. This group helps novice and unskilled people set up businesses by teaching planning, operations, finance, and market evaluation skills. The members of Score also help obtain financing from public and private sources.
Thomas W. Lynn, president of Treasury Bank in Washington, D.C., wrote to say that retired bankers working as consultants can solve problems that correspondents won't.
He writes: "We manage a company that deals in foreign currency CDs, and we could use help. In fact, when we were setting it up a year ago, I searched all over New York City for people with foreign exchange experience, to no avail. My 'friends' at Bigtown National were unwilling to help-so much for the old school ties and correspondent banking! We could also use help in designing a national home equity effort.
"Thought: What about an organization like Score setting up a banking or financial services division to act as a clearing house for people with obvious talents and, I believe, smaller banks with urgent needs?"
An old friend and student at Stonier, Richard Nun, formerly with the Texas Department of Banking, also mentioned Score in his response. Now an International Monetary Fund adviser to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Dick writes: "I'm sure you've heard of Score. Maybe there should be a 'Service Corps of Outplaced Talent'-Scoot for short-as a clearing house for the pool of outplaced talent.
"With all the merger mania, downsizing, right-sizing, outsizing ("you're not in sync with our team or philosophies") going on in banking, and in bank regulatory agencies, there's loads of talent to be applied. And there's loads of places in need of that talent.
"Many banks, especially smaller community banks that cannot afford full- time execs for specific areas, or that just need occasional help on selected issues, can benefit immensely from the talents of experienced bankers who are 'between opportunities.'
"And more to the point, many developing countries need experienced bankers who can share their technical skills for short or longer periods. The IMF, World Bank, and most major accounting firms are always looking for talented people."
Richard Nun is our winner of the presidency for a day of Schmidlap National Bank. A certificate affirming this is on its way to Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.
We hope that in the present day, with e-mail, faxes, and cheap phone calls, he will be as effective running our bank at long distance as he was when he represented the Texas Department of Banking.