‘Banker of the Year’ takes seriously his role as mentor

These are bankers who have grown their organizations, organically or through acquisition or both; individuals who’ve resolutely climbed through the ranks; leaders who invested time and treasure to serve the industry or their colleagues; people who educated themselves on the issues that could make — or break — their institutions; visionaries who are able to see where their institutions need to be in three or six or nine years and put the work in now to chart that course. [Continue]

Is your board an ‘asset’ or an ‘audience’?

As a director serving two boards, I can tell you that 2020 reinforced its no-star rating by the challenges it afforded leadership in banks large and small. In both cases, for me, dealing with substantive and emotional issues under significant time constraints made me grateful that both of my boards are strategically focused and functionally practical. But that’s not always the case. [Continue]

Let’s stop being so doggedly predictable

I have a friend named Steve with whom I share a monthly dinner out with our respective spouses. Steve is a predictable sort with simple tastes. He likes pizza, chow mein, or a well-done(!) steak, but will set aside any of these options whenever he spies fish-and-chips on a menu. If I gently tease that he’s missing an opportunity to try something new by always ordering the same food, he shrugs his shoulders and says: “I know what I like.” I would like to tell Steve he has it backward. He doesn’t “know what he likes.” He “likes what he knows,” choosing it again and again and again. [Continue]

Inclusive leadership proves effective and meaningful for Black entrepreneurs

Specific to lending, numerous reports show that small, Black-owned businesses were largely shut out of the Paycheck Protection Program. The unfortunate fallout over PPP lending provides a recent example of the economic inequity too often experienced by African-Americans. Now legislators and organizations are pushing for set-asides in potential future funding rounds to ensure minority entrepreneurs gain access to PPP funds that were intended for all entrepreneurs in the first place. [Continue]

Diverse hiring is not inclusion

“Diversity is inviting people to the dance; inclusion is asking them to dance,” said Shirley Davis, president of SDS Global Enterprises. Davis believes bank leaders should engage in self-assessment, asking themselves if they are the kind of leaders who build more leaders through vision, inspiration and inclusiveness, because inclusive cultures will attract top talent. [Continue]

No time for timidity

Maybe some good came out of the financial crisis of 2008 — that is, lessons about how to handle another crisis. Congress and the U.S. Treasury have responded to the economic trouble that has followed the nation’s response to COVID-19 in an unprecedented and impressive way. [Continue]

Close the window or buy a paperweight?

The staff at Cross Financial has migrated to working remotely and the change is providing a significant learning opportunity. While I have enjoyed working from my home office with the sounds of our neighborhood and spring breezes streaming through my open window, I have discovered why so many years ago, businesses used paperweights. [Continue]