Walter A. Dods Jr. needs just one word to describe his year as president of the American Bankers Association.
That's Hawaiian for "finished."
The chairman and chief executive of First Hawaiian Corp. said traveling from Honolulu to ABA functions in cities across the country was "grueling."
"I think I can safely predict there will never be another ABA president from Hawaii," Mr. Dods said last week during a phone interview from Seville, Spain, where he attended the Ryder Cup.
Still, Mr. Dods called his year as the ABA's leader "a wonderful experience."
At ABA's annual convention in Boston over the weekend, Mr. Dods said he planned to make one more pitch for his national campaign to improve the industry's image. "How we are perceived affects our political goals," said Mr. Dods, who started his banking career in marketing and has been active in the Democratic party.
Mr. Dods recently recorded a video in which he asks for donations to fund national advertisements promoting banks. ABA plans to send the video to every bank CEO.
After showing the ads to a Bankers Roundtable audience recently, Mr. Dods said, "Frank Cahouet from Mellon and Bud Baker at Wachovia stood up and said, 'This is exactly what we need.'"
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency learned a simple but painful lesson recently: Give House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach what he wants, when he wants it.
In July the agency released a 12-page document summarizing the results of a $100,000 survey of employee morale. The comptroller sent a copy to the House Banking Committee chairman. When Rep. Leach's staff asked for more information, the agency said it had none.
But when Rep. Spencer Bachus asked for additional data a month later, he received 68 pages of detail-much of it less complimentary than the information in the preliminary report.
Rep. Leach was none too pleased.
"The fact that an unflattering employee survey exists is, in and of itself, not a big issue, but misleading a congressional committee ... about the existence of information related to the survey is," the Iowa Republican wrote in a Sept. 25 letter to OCC Chief Counsel Julie Williams.
"To attempt to pull the wool over one's own eyes as well as those of Congress implies that the investment in information gathering is wasteful spending," he added.
The Independent Bankers Association of America heard from Rep. Leach recently, too.
"Given the current mix of law and regulation where a green light is given to competitors while stop signs are posted at every crossroad for independent banks, a strategy of negativism could not be more counterproductive," Rep. Leach wrote in a Sept. 22 letter to IBAA executive vice president Kenneth A. Guenther.
"Small banks will be competitively disadvantaged for years to come," if IBAA doesn't reverse its opposition to financial reform, Rep. Leach wrote.