Slideshow Where Small Banks' Hiring Practices Go Awry: Comments of the Week

  • September 04 2015, 7:30am EDT

American Banker readers share their views on the most pressing banking topics of the week. Comments are excerpted from reader response sections of articles and from our social media platforms.

On the mistakes that community banks make when trying to hire and retain fresh talent:

"Small towns are very attractive to many but sadly the thinking is 'if you're not from here you won't be a good candidate,' which is killing opportunity before it can even take root. Believe it or not, small town life and a position that allows someone to grow, engage and contribute might be a benefit all by itself."

Related Article: Spa Days and Office Beers Won't Solve Your Bank's Talent Problem

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On the suggestion that banks model their approach to corporate branding on powerful political personalities like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders:

"Looks like our author takes neoliberalism as a personal brand: you are the entrepreneur of you. … It feels icky to talk about creating the Brand of You, but then, I'm not trying to hawk anything."

Related Article: Branding Lessons Courtesy of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders

On the dearth of strategic advice available to community banks in the middle range of asset size:

"Part of the problem Kevin [Tynan from Liberty Bank in Chicago] identifies has to do with who the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America cater to. All banks may join the ABA, where dues are set by asset size. As a consequence, don't you think their most important members are the largest banks? Let's look at the ICBA. I haven't checked the numbers but I feel confident suggesting that the average asset size of ICBA member banks is smaller than Kevin's. Therein lies the problem. The content that Kevin desires, and which many of us do, falls somewhere between what a rural $75 million community bank looks for and what the big banks deliver. Who is helping the progressive community banks in the $750 million to $5 billion range with content? Sadly nobody."

Related Article: Small Banks Need Better Strategies for Survival

On whether community banks themselves are to blame for the lack of conferences that cater to their needs:

"The flip side to this conversation is that much of what you seek is built or has the ability to be quickly launched but the ability for the bankers to attend is very low. You can't build things and hope people will come. Smaller community banks need to value the training and education they seek by actually sending people to the opportunity. Both associations ask ad nauseam for input, feedback, direction via committees and task forces but what is received is silence."

Related Article: Small Banks Need Better Strategies for Survival

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On why the community banks need advice tailored to their specific circumstances:

"The generic strategic platitudes that apply to large financial institutions offer little 'how-to,' tactical guidance to help community banks manage the growing industry challenges they face. Community banks, because of their size, face a major and growing 'economy of scale' disadvantage vis-à-vis larger banks, a barrier that prevents them from spreading their fixed, operational costs across a larger number of customers and branches — an advantage that the largest financial institutions enjoy."

Related Article: Small Banks Need Better Strategies for Survival

On the reasons why some merchants have seen interchange expenses rise since the Federal Reserve instated rules governing debit-card swipe fees:

"There are two reasons that debit interchange expense is rising for many merchants. First, consumers are using debit cards more frequently. Does [author Lyle] Beckwith complain about rising cost of goods sold when consumers buy more products? Second, the merchant lobby insisted on flat fees, which has increased cost to small-ticket merchants who previously paid a percent of transaction value. (Be careful what you wish for.)"

Related Article: How the Fed Failed the U.S. on Swipe Fees