Find a Bankable Banker who Got Ethics!

Avoid the 2-Faced Bank


A capitalist society like ours demands effective financial decision making by individuals, families, and small businesses. Our economy cannot function without a banking system either. Therefore, we all need a reliable banking relationship for our planned progress. The recent history has eroded the public trust of the banking sector forcing us to question the reputation of banks.  This brings us to the dilemma of selecting a strategic banking relationship with a financial services institution that is mindful of its social responsibility.


The World Economic Forum has identified the criterion for what makes a socially responsible bank that would be an effective partner in the economic progress of any society. These Criterions are:

  1. Governance: In the purest form, Governance requires the balancing of individual, organizational and societal interest with the goal of sustained progress. 
  2. Regulatory Compliance: Self governance in the collective leads to relaxing of regulation.  Regulation is nothing but a “break system” when the movement is in a dangerous direction. Just like a car needs breaks so do commercial activity impacting society.  Complying with existing regulation and self governing allows for easing of the regulation and avoiding new regulations so that commerce can thrive.
  3. Client Advocacy: Focusing on the needs and wants of clients to drive economic progress one individual or business at a time is the ultimate purpose of any bank. By fulfilling this purpose, a bank becomes vital to the economic development of a community thus earning sustained competitive advantage.
  4. Social Responsibility: Banks needs to have a mutually beneficial relationship with its client base as well as underlying society to be viable. This is also the socially responsible way to perform the banking function.  Lack of social responsibility is akin to being a parasite upon society; a relationship that ultimately destroys the parasite upon the demise of the host. 
  5. Fair Compensation: Perception of clients is the reality for any organization and banks are no exception.  Therefore, it is imperative to actively listen to the voice of clients and not be gouging profits.  


When you find a bank that embodies these five critical factors, you know that you have struck GOLD! This is not easy to come by, in the world we live in today.  “Got Ethics?” is not a question we overtly ask a banker; we must discern it through continued interaction as part of the relationship building process.  Know what a bank values:

  1. Banks value time of length of relationships
  2. Banks value types of relationships
  3. Banks value locations of relationships in conjunction with local branches
  4. Banks value history of relationships
  5. Banks value other banking relationships

Then, build a relationship with a socially responsible bank meeting the criterion listed above such that the bank knows what you value. Good banks know that you are more than just a customer who is looking for transactional services; they will build a client relationship to enable mutual transformation where both parties in that relationship emerge better than the state they entered that relationship.


In our local community, we have the opportunity to select from an array of global, national and local banks.  A local banker embodying the criterion we have explored is Mike Daniele of First Midwest Bank. Under the proven track record of “We Focus on YOU” value proposition this bank is known to uphold:

  • Commitment
  • Character
  • Client Focus
  • Community

Mike Daniele of First Midwest Bank embraces the client relationship by transcending the transactional customer relationship as I have learned firsthand.  Offering a plethora of services across our local community, Mike Daniele serves our market place with Personal Banking, Business Banking and Wealth Management needs as a trusted banker. 


In selecting your banker and trusted financial risk advisor, here is a road map to follow:

  1. Do your homework and get to know the banks in your community
  2. Make sure your short list of banks meet the socially responsible financial institution criterion
  3. Explore and determine if the bank’s mission statement is consistent with how it functions in your community-Avoid two faced banks that say one thing and do another
  4. Find a banker who will listen to your “voice” and serve you, within the bank that that meets your standards
  5. Think of your banker as your Treasurer, a strategic partner to help mitigate financial risk
  6. Look for a deal maker not a deal breaker, someone who will guide you right
  7. Look for someone who understands relationship management and keep you in focus
  8. Look for business experience
  9. Look for someone you would be able to brain storm with and build a personal connection
  10. Don't assume you need a big bank; you just need a trusted bank


**Do share your thoughts and lessons learned on selecting a trusted banker so that we can all learn from each other’s experience.  By collaborating we can work in tandem to grow our economic viability, building financially stable families and local communities. I look forward to an engaging discussion! **

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim Christensen August 29, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Dr.Henry, as always you article does a nice job of both educating and stirring the pot, making people think, consider current and future options. I like Tim Fraser's analogy, whether it is business or personal, each of us has a "team" or in some instances several "teams" depending upon our needs, our requirements. At the heart of any of my teams is my relationship with each member of the team. I need to trust them, respect their expertise, and believe that they have a genuine willingness to do what is in my best interest. Mike Daniele possesses those qualities. While Mike's earlier statement is true, good organizations do reward their good performers with advancement. However, great organizations establish a culture that makes sure that the entire staff has the right core values, so the next person in line treats his/her clients the same way. That is the hallmark of a great company. To be completely honest, I am very comfortable in recommending Mike Daniele and First Midwest Bank, I am equally comfortable in recommending Home State Bank and the Northern Trust Bank. My experience has been excellent with all three! Jim Christensen
Dr.Kas - Tips for Financial Health August 29, 2012 at 10:11 PM
You said it perfectly, Jim! A good organizational culture creates a seamless experience so that the overall service quality is upheld even when the service is being provided by someone other than your personal banker. While Mike may not be the banker providing the plethora of banking services offered by First Midwest Bank, as the personal banker to his clients, he can make the necessary introductions and leverage the relationship already established. This is what clients are looking for when they build banking relationships… They are looking for a strategic partner who can be the access point for all their banking needs.
Jared Silver August 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM
My father in law, the late George W. Bonham, was a highly educated man who often categorized an individual as coming from one of two camps... "givers" or " takers." Regardless of profession or position, there are always people who "play" these roles. Our job as "consumers" is to identify and select a banker, lawyer, doctor, butcher, baker, candlestick maker ;) who we feel comfortable working with. Yes, one might say this is at the lowest level and may not have much of an affect on an industry, but I believe there IS a trickle up affect that occurs. Hey, at the very least we as consumers have power to surround ourselves with professional people who we know, like and trust. Mike "the banker" is most certainly one of those professional people who I consider a "giver."
Sam August 30, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Very interesting, informative and insightful article. I think a lot of banks, especially, the big national banks, really don't care about individual customers- its all about the numbers, and so they focus on mass marketing, instead of being active in the community and getting to know their customers and potential customers. I know Mike Daniele, he is very active in our community, and he is committed to finding out about his customers' needs and goals so he can best serve them. in this way he is not only to help grow the business of his bank, but the community as well.
Jeff Sims August 31, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I'm also fond of Tim Fraser's analogy of the "team" approach. Team: Together, Everyone, Achieves, More.


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