William L. McQuillan becomes president of the Independent Bankers Association of America Wednesday with plans to tackle some of the smallest banks' biggest problems.

As president and chief executive officer of $17 million-asset City National Bank of Greeley, Neb., Mr. McQuillan has experienced firsthand the liquidity crunches and staggering technology costs that dog small banks.

"We're in very challenging times for community banks," he said in an interview. "Banks need to incorporate expensive technology. ... There are stressful times when there are not enough deposits to lend out."

Mr. McQuillan plans to push for legislation providing access to funding. Many rural banks are excluded from membership in the Federal Home Loan banks because they do not make enough residential mortgage loans. His own bank did not qualify for membership until it purchased enough mortgages to meet the portfolio requirement.

Rural banks ought to be able to pledge agricultural real estate loans as collateral for advances, he said. Mr. McQuillan also wants to strike a deal with the Farm Credit System so commercial banks gain access to Farm Credit Bank advances.

Mr. McQuillan's rural banking experience distinguishes him from outgoing president William D. Sones, who will pass the gavel during the IBAA's annual convention in Hawaii. Mr. Sones, president and CEO of State Bank and Trust, Brookhaven, Miss., has impressive Washington friendships and a more urban banking perspective.

Mr. McQuillan, 49, is the former president of the Nebraska Independent Bankers Association, and he is finishing his second three-year term on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The husband and father of four is also wrapping up a stint as chairman of the IBAA's credit union coordinating committee.

Despite his agricultural banking roots, Mr. McQuillan said he is aware of challenges facing urban community banks. For example, many small banks in metropolitan areas suffer from an identity crisis because they do not have the marketing resources of their larger competitors, he said.

So the IBAA will promote its bank locator feature on the World Wide Web and toll-free call-in center as a way to boost community banks' visibility. Browsers and callers may use the system to match their location with a nearby community bank, he said.

"We're proud of what we do, and we do it better," said Mr. McQuillan, who started his banking career at Omaha (Neb.) National Bank. "We just need to show people where the community banks are located."

Like previous IBAA presidents, Mr. McQuillan also renewed the vow to go after large credit unions and oppose financial reform legislation, which he called "financial destruction."

"Congress should try to determine what's best for the consumer," he said. "Consolidation is not in our best interest."

Mr. McQuillan said the IBAA will fight in Congress to preserve last week's Supreme Court ruling in favor of the banks in the AT&T Family Federal Credit Union case. "The bankers are not throwing credit unions out into the street," he said. "We're after the multiple common bond credit unions that are stepping outside their proper authority."

Mr. McQuillan applauded the IBAA's take-no-prisoners lobbying style. "From my point of view, everyone knows what we stand for," he said. "We are not beholden to the bigger banks. Our job is to enhance the franchise value of our 5,500 members."

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