Address. (Given to Michigan Bankers Association. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 24 September 1924.)
Although I have been the president of a Big Rapids bank for twenty years, I don't like banking. I dislike banking because of the inhumanity that is bred into it. It has long been my endeavor to develop in the business a certain helpfulness to its patrons as well as to take out dividends in cash.
I don't like to stand there to take in the money and 'hook' those who come to do business with me using three-quarters of a million dollars of their money on a capital of $50,000 and reap the dividends but pay no attention to those who depend upon my integrity. If we bankers got far with democracy, it will be by co-operation rather than separation.
I hope the time will come when one of the questions every banker will ask of the applicant for a loan will be, how much life insurance he carries, regardless of the amount and nature of the security offered. If the head of the family who owes the bank upon a note and has given all the property he possesses as security, should die, the family must lose that security. I believe that such a person should take out life insurance in twice the amount of the loan. Than, if he dies, mother and the children can pay the loan and have a little besides.
It isn't business nor the right attitude to humanity, to loan all you can, even more than is needed, to any certain person regardless of how good a loan it might be. If the borrower can get along with a little less than he asks, show him how he can do it.
If the farmers would keep proper accounts, it would do more to straighten them out and get them out of their dilemma than anything Congress can do in the next ten years. Bankers could show them how.