He's Got Their Vote
Amid a sea of spectators awaiting Sen. Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, the oldest delegate to the convention — banker John Forlines Jr., 90, — and a group of financial services lawmakers offered a window into the historic night.Mr. Forlines, a legend in the industry, acknowledged he did not know much about Sen. Obama's banking policies, but the Illinois senator "is a Democrat and I'm counting on him," he said.
Mr. Forlines retired two years ago as chairman and four years ago as chief executive of Bank of Granite in Granite Falls, N.C., but he still consults for the bank as chairman emeritus, and is running for the State House of Representatives.
"When I joined the bank we had $1 million in assets. When I left we had $1.2 billion. I have been around a long time," he said. "Warren Buffet, back in the late '90s, said we were the best-managed bank in America."
Beyond Mr. Forlines, clustered with their state delegations on the crowded Invesco Field while the singer-songwriters Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder performed, were Financial Services Committee Democrats who were excited about the nomination for reasons that go beyond the panel's work.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida said: "I have never experienced a convention like this before. I don't know how to describe it. It's a rainbow of America and an opportunity to hear real-life Americans hear Barack Obama's vision for this country."
Rep. Wasserman Schultz has done the television circuit recently endorsing the candidate.
"I support Barack Obama because I know he's going to help us move our country in a new direction … and turn this economy around," she said. "We need a president who is going to recognize that we are not better off. John McCain thinks everything's fine. Barack Obama strives for working families because he comes from a working family."
She said Sen. Obama's ideas about housing policy would help address the foreclosure crisis.
"It's really clear how out of touch [Republicans] are. They don't understand what's going on with everyday Americans. John McCain doesn't even know how many houses he has."
Rep. Gregory Meeks, an African-American lawmaker from New York, was choked up before Sen. Obama's speech.
"To come to see close to 70,000 people who want Barack Obama elected president of the United Staes on the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech brings tears to my heart and my eyes," Rep. Meeks said. "It is amazing… and all that runs through my mind as I sit here and think about what's going on, all the sacrifices, hopes and dreams of Americans coming to reality. Unbelievable."
FDIC Losing Lawyer
Sara Kelsey, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s top lawyer, will retire on Oct. 31 after nearly two years on the job, the agency announced last week.Ms. Kelsey, who had been a senior official in the New York State Banking Department, became the FDIC's general counsel in January 2007.
In New York she was the deputy superintendent and general counsel under then-Superintendent Diana Taylor. She has also been a counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in New York, and a senior vice president and associate general counsel at Bank of Granite. She began her legal career as an attorney at the Federal Reserve Board in 1976.
The FDIC has not named a new general counsel.