The Corner Chair

posted on 16 May 2022
The Corner Chair

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”
~ Dr. Suess

In March, I wrote “Be Brave and Be Bothered,” on a pair of drumsticks I received.  I have had those drumsticks laying on my desk ever since, and I look at them often throughout the day.  If you come to our 2022 NDBA/SDBA Annual Convention next month in Bismarck, you’ll learn what the drumsticks are about.  And I hope in so doing, you are as deeply impacted as I was – and continue to be.

There is much to be bothered about in this world today.  From economic uncertainty, to wars waging….and raging, to political and social divisiveness, right down to the challenges of our own banking industry:  cryptocurrency, CECL, overdraft programs, cannabis banking, ESG, M&A, BSA/AML, cybersecurity…and that’s just the beginning of the list.  Sometimes it makes my head spin.  

In all of that spin, it’s easy to grow weary of the battle.  But Dr. Suess had it right:  unless we care a whole awful lot, nothing will get better.  And the truth is that community bankers do care a whole awful lot.  We are bothered by the things that get in the way of our serving our purpose, which is to serve our communities.  We are bothered by what’s broken.  We are bothered by regulatory overburden.  I mean, we are damn near pack mules when it comes to that, aren’t we?

The point of the message in the drumsticks is to remember that when the pack gets heavy and bothersome, instead of succumbing to the feeling of being too small to carry it – or make a difference, we need to be brave and stare it straight in the eye. Community bankers are a powerful force.  We pay attention, we pivot, we respond and we affect change.  And when we beat the drum together, we’re a powerful force for good.

What’s more….we get to do this.  We get to do this.  We get to be bindings for the stories of growth and opportunity and dreams realized in our communities.  We get to help write success stories, and weave solutions for challenges.  And in so doing, we leave our tracks.

So, be brave and be bothered.  Come to Convention in June and be inspired and renewed by the collective drumbeat of community bankers who care a whole awful lot, and who will ensure that together, things will get better.  Because of our will, they will.


Christie Huber Obenauer
CEO & President