Author Archives: Bob Atwell

Market Panic

An important update from Chief Investment Officer Mike Steppe on the recent market panic.

A Midsummer Night’s Meanderings

I drove each major commercial corridor in the Green Bay metro area this weekend as I attended weddings, birthdays and graduation parties. As we mark the fourth anniversary of the Great Recession, it is reassuring to know that people still graduate, marry and have children. Weddings and children remind me that people do not exist […]

The Meaning of Mayhem in Madison

You might be wondering with the title why I would even attempt to comment on such a volatile situation.  As the CEO of a community bank, we are heavily invested in the wellbeing of our communities.  We help people confront their problems and realize their dreams every day; with loans, professional advice and honest conversations.  […]

When Will The Economy Turn?

The better question is “what steps can we take to increase sound economic activity?” Everyone laughs at jokes about economists, yet we still defer to their professional expertise. There is little evidence that economics as a mode of thought has much to say of relevance to us in the current crisis. What prominent economists risked […]

It Takes A Village To Raise A Banker

The kitchen table consensus is that greed caused the ongoing financial crisis. The universality of greed undermines the value, if not the accuracy of this diagnosis. Greed is such a broad term that it almost defies definition. Like all vice, greed is more easily detected in another person than in oneself. Greed observed in another […]

The Goldman Of Our Dreams

I am frequently asked to comment on the Goldman Sachs controversy and the pending financial reform legislation. The legal discussion about Goldman seems to center on whether Goldman had a conflict of interest. Goldman doesn’t HAVE a conflict of interest. Goldman IS a conflict of interest. They are not unique among major financial institutions. They […]

The Meaning of Private and Public Debt

CNN ran a hard hitting series last week on “Broken Government”.  Since advertising funds broadcast content it is a good window into the mind of the audience.  In this case, it was free credit reports, sleep aids and retirement plans. People are clearly having trouble sleeping. They are worried about their credit scores and their […]

Memo to Republicans

When you sober up from your Scott Brown parties, please listen to the President’s surprisingly clear position on banking and the financial markets. My last blog accused Obama of political cynicism for pretending to get after the Wall Street bankers who heavily supported his election. My prediction was that he would talk tough and maybe […]

President Obama Loves Big Bankers

President Obama called the CEOs of the nation’s twenty largest banks into the White House in early December and directed them to make loans. He also warned them not to resist his plan for financial industry “reform”. Regular readers know that I am a pretty shameless Midwest populist. I have no desire to defend the […]

Why Bank Loans Are Down

The FDIC third quarter data shows bank loans down three percent nationwide. This has touched off another round of discussion about why banks aren’t lending. There are three important points to grasp. 1. Bank loans are down because they should be down. The vast majority of our loans are to healthy well-managed businesses. With few […]

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