ABA: Association Testifies on the Future of Banking

FirstBank CEO Jim Reuter offers industry perspective to House Financial Services Subcommittee

The American Bankers Association testified today before the House Financial Services subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions, offering the industry’s perspective on the future of banking and how consolidation, nonbank competition and technology are re-shaping the industry.

Jim Reuter, president and CEO of Denver-based FirstBank, testified on behalf of ABA. FirstBank, a $26 billion bank, is the largest bank headquartered in Colorado with more than 100 locations and nearly 3,000 employees. In addition to a strong commitment to the communities it serves, FirstBank is recognized as an industry leader in innovation. The bank is part of the Clearinghouse’s Real-Time Payments network and was the fourth bank in the nation to launch Zelle, a person-to-person payment platform.

In his written testimony, Reuter reflected on the critical financial support banks provided to the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“America’s banks took extraordinary steps to prioritize the health and safety of bank employees and customers, while ensuring that the banking system remained fully open and operational,” he said. “Banks have maintained near record capital levels throughout the crisis despite the economic disruption. We have also absorbed a record flood of deposits as Americans relied on banks to safeguard their finances during these uncertain times as they always do.”

He also acknowledged that like all businesses in this country—big and small—banks face challenges.

“As a resilient industry we are working to overcome those challenges and position ourselves to remain relevant well into the future,” said Reuter.

Reuter described those challenges to the committee, detailing the reasons for bank consolidation, the competitors emerging outside the regulated banking space and banks’ efforts to invest in cutting-edge technology.

“We believe that the future calls for banks of all sizes to remain at the center of consumers’ and businesses’ financial lives and to continue to provide the lifeblood of the U.S. economy,” said Reuter. “Despite challenges, we believe the future of banking is bright, provided the policy environment continues to support growth and closes gaps that promote regulatory arbitrage and put the financial system and consumers at risk.”

Reuter concluded his testimony by expressing his optimism for the future of banking.

“At FirstBank, we hire 50 management trainees per year who will rise in the ranks over their careers,” he said. “As I look at these millennial and Generation Z professionals, I’m optimistic about the future of our industry. I see their extraordinary excitement about the things we do for our communities. They want to make a difference, and they know that working at a bank gives them that opportunity. I’m eager to see what they will accomplish.”

To read Reuter’s full testimony, click here: https://www.aba.com/advocacy/policy-analysis/testimony-jim-reuter-future-of-banking-consolidation-nonbank-competition-tech

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