Today’s Wall Street Journal featured an article by Michael Rapoport about the difficulties faced by smaller banks in meeting a growing regulatory burden, much of it brought on in the wake of the financial crisis that began in 2008. Mr. Rapoport concludes that in this era of hyper-regulation that some banks are “too small to succeed”.

The observations on strangling regulation are correct, but...

This is “loser talk” and I’m sick of it. Too small to succeed? We may be too small to do what the largest banks can do (thank God), but the Wall Street Journal doesn’t know much about the community bankers I know if they dare to say we are “too small to succeed”.

As we have heard from leadership and said ourselves, Main Street banking is a completely different industry from Wall Street banking. For good reasons we clamor for a two-tiered system of regulation. Consequently, our definition of “success” is vastly different from the Wall Street definition.

Without a doubt, we are being forced to pay for the sins of pandering politicians who created perverse incentives (i.e. everybody should own a home) and financial institutions, mortgage lenders and Wall Street investment houses who created illusory products that exploited the fantasy vision of creating something (good loans) out of nothing (bad borrowers). But the alternative is to lose our history, and our particular mission for our particular communities, by being folded into another institution.

We will continue to fight against the injustices that are allowed to exist in what should be a free market, but we are determined to not throw in the towel. We will do all in our power to insure that our shareholders recognize the value of remaining independent. Being smart, efficient and forward-thinking, we can eliminate this insidious equivalence between size and success.

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