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Dashing through the...

November 1, 2011

Dashing through the ……

How quickly time passes by; before we can say "Happy Thanksgiving" the music of the holidays begins to bellow across the airwaves, reminding us that the pressures of the season are upon us. During a recent trip I placed my headphones on, just to be alone with my thoughts. As my radio dial randomly sought a station available, out bursts the old holiday favorite "Jingle Bells"! What struck me was its beginning "Dashing through the snow…" causing me to focus on our daily lives as we often dash through the events at hand and are not fully engaged in the details.

Sometime ago as we were dashing through the "consent order", we indicated that we believed we had complied with the issues presented. Unfortunately, the regulators did not agree with our assessment. Our focus was on material items such as maintaining capital, reduction in nonperforming assets, reducing exposure to construction and land development lending, limiting the concentrations within our commercial real estate portfolio as a percentage of capital, and a return to profitability. All of these items were accomplished well within the time frame stipulated in the order, causing our belief that we had fully complied, but to our dismay the order was not lifted as expected.

In our dash to fulfillment, we neglected some of the details attributed to the management study. Although we made quality changes to our management team before the order, we did not address the bench strength required to take us to the next level. It is this detail that has now received our attention and we are excited in the progress being made. We are actively in discussion with potential new Board members who would be a quality addition to our Board, and allow some of our senior directors who have served us so very well over the years to take their rightful place as emeritus, a designation they so richly deserve. Management is also being evaluated and efforts are under way to identify external individuals who would be an asset to the organization, possessing the experience and qualification to make us a stronger institution, able to expand into the markets necessary for a long and successful future. We firmly believe that once this attention to detail is executed, the possibility of getting the order lifted is very probable.

As you dash through the upcoming holiday season, don’t forget the details which often get left behind. Pay attention to those close to you, as family and friends are what make the holidays... not the material items of decorations, shopping for the perfect gift, or making sure the meal is ‘just so’. Yes, they are important, but if that becomes the primary focus of the season, then you will have missed the vital detail necessary, to remove any corrective order which might have come between those you care about and yourself during the course of time.

As this will be out in print shortly, may I be the first to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and a very merry holiday season.

Listen to the jingle bells but don’t dash past the spirit of the mistletoe, which is to embrace family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving, and wishing for a very Merry Christmas!

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