It's been 18 years or so since this motley group of current and former commercial bankers last worked together in the corporate banking division of Security Pacific Bank. Since that time we've remained close-enough friends for us to have one reunion (at the Dahlia Lounge last week). Those of us with sufficient memories can recall a time when bankers recorded loan payments by writing on the backs of loan notes; all of the loans were manually added up each day (reconciled)on large 50-key machines; we gave our secretaries our loan write-ups to type into their word processors; and we dictated our call reports (if we ever did one) into little dictation machines to later be transcribed. In those days, some of us even were required to sit at our desks throughout the day in full business attire (suitcoat and ties!). I think we used something called white out to correct our documents; and if we were held up in traffic and late for a meeting with a customer, we got out of our cars at the nearest phone booth and called on a land line to let them know we were on our way.
On the other hand, we also had a chandeliered executive dining room with tuxedoed waiters, a top-of-the-line chef, and a fabulous view; not to mention a million-dollar corporate art collection, two on-premise displays of gold [Alaskan prospecting nuggets and Russian icons] and--in spite of all this waste and inefficiency--a return on average equity that our banks today would be glad to replicate.
Everyone at the reunion felt that we looked exactly the same as we did 18 years ago, except perhaps for Bryan, who appeared to be older, but no wiser. Thanks to Mike and Kris for organizing this event.
[Photo courtesy of Kris Radke Ilgenfritz. CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE. Pictured left to right standing: Greg Stevenson (Wells Fargo), Susan Gates (Charter Bank), Kris Radke Ilgenfritz, Matt Rudolf (Summit Capital), Lynn Manley. Seated: Bryan Tagas (Sterling Savings Bank), Bob Ingram (US Bank), Laura Bachman (Barrientos), Mike Mecham (Google), Joel Carlson (Celtic Capital).]