What is a Superhero Community Banker?
Two years ago, I came to Chris with an idea I wanted to write a book about. I wanted to write a book on strategy for community banks based on Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Graciously, he didn’t laugh me out of the office. As most crazy ideas do, it was shelved but morphed into a podcast series that we ran on Main Street Banking occasionally and, honestly, it received comparable numbers as some of our other content.
Initially, it started out with these deeply rooted analogies in superhero and Star Wars lore and comparing bankers to Batman and Luke Skywalker coming in to save the day. However, I realized I missed the point of a superhero and what I missed is not best illustrated by Batman, the Jedi, or Xavier’s Gifted Youngsters. It is illustrated by a Guy Clark song called “The Cape”. Yes, it has a superhero theme but it is not the tale of Jedis with lightsabers or aliens that look like us defending our way of life. It is the tale of a regular little boy that is obsessed with jumping off of his garage and all throughout his life he is singularly focused on whatever goal he has in front of him. He ignores what would be considered common sense. He ignores the jeers of those around him. He just trusts his cape (which is really a towel his mother ties around his neck). The best lines in the song are ”He did not know he could not fly. So he did.” And “spread your arms, hold your breath, and always trust your cape.”
And that is what a superhero community banker is. At the moment, he or she may not know the answer but they “trust their cape”. They believe they can fly. In a sense, all of the content around The Art of War is really the next step after the banker ties the towel around their neck and climbs up on the garage. The strategy part is figuring out how to fly…once you’ve made the decision to be different…to climb up on the garage. They are singularly focused on their bank, their team, and their community.
It’s easy to do what other bankers in your community do. You may even win a few loan deals away from your competition if you bid the rate down low enough! However, we’ve been taught (or we have taught ourselves) that we can’t fly…that we can’t make a difference…that we can’t change the world one community at a time. “The fintechs are going to take over”…”The big banks have too much money”…”regulations are killing the industry”.
The Superhero Community Banker does not buy into these excuses.
He or she embraces the challenge…because of the love they have for their communities. However, being a superhero is a lonely gig at times. Superman had his Fortress of Solitude…the boy in Guy Clark’s song was all alone in thinking he could succeed. Being a force for good in the world can be isolating. The great thing about a superhero community banker is you are NOT alone in your fight! Your state association is there for you and your local community. Getting involved with their advocacy initiatives and their educational programming has the double benefit of growing your skill set and building a community of support for you. Even at Barret, our podcast (Main Street Banking) is built to support you, our blog, our social media posts…even our programming is designed to educate and support you.
Grab your cape…climb up on the garage…and let’s change the world!
I’ve put together a playlist of our Superhero Community Banker content from the podcast for you. Feel free to listen, share, and be inspired by the stories from other bankers just like you!