Michigan banker Jim MacPhee passed away after a year-long battle with brain cancer at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo on September 11.
He served as chair of the Independent Community Bankers of America in 2010-2011, steering the group through the turbulent aftereffects of the recession. “Community bankers are resilient,” he said at the time. “ We’ve always tried to do the right thing for the customer. When you walk into our banks there’s an invisible sign that says ‘your principal is safe here.’ I don’t think the model has changed. I am not hearing that these folks were involved in sub-prime or exotic lending. They stuck to their knitting.”
After serving a two-year stint in the army in the late 60s, MacPhee began his banking career at Industrial State Bank in downtown Kalamazoo, which eventually became part of Comerica. In 1972, he joined Kalamazoo County State Bank in Schoolcraft, where he spent the rest of his banking career. He retired as CEO in 2015.
MacPhee was president of the Michigan Association of Community Bankers in 1997 and was also a graduate of the University of Michigan Banking School.
In an interview with BankBeat in 2011, MacPhee recalled a highlight of his tenure with ICBA. “My life as chairman started December 23, 2009, when I got called into President Obama’s office with Secretary Geithner. That was really the first time that I felt community banking had a seat at the table. There were 12 of us in the room and each one of us had 10 minutes, one-on-one with the Secretary of the Treasury and the President of the United States, to tell them our argument, but as importantly, to tell them what was going on outside the beltway, in Michigan,” he said. “I walked away from there feeling like the bright line between Wall Street and Main Street had finally been defined. And that the press, media and administration, the Congress and, in fact, the President finally understood that Wall Street and Main Street are two huge separate segments of this economy.”