The First Annual Bank Director Board Performance Awards

At the onset of its fifteenth year of publication, Bank Director is proud to announce its first annual Board Performance Awards 2004.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Said Abraham Lincolnu00e2u20ac”a man whom people both agreed and disagreed with but whom to this day is remembered as having character in times of adversity. Likewise, when board members step into their role, they owe a responsibility to shareholders, employees, and customers and are expected to remain strong and principled during good times and bad.

Yet, it is the very attainment of power that tests integrity, leadership, and character to the fullest.

In the new corporate environment, directors are expected to maintain exemplary governing practices while successfully running and growing their businessesu00e2u20ac”a noble, yet challenging, goal. In recognition of this challenge, Bank Director is proud to announce its first annual Board Performance Awards, presented to bank boards with superlative leadership that serve as a beacon for others. This year’s three awards are:

The Trailblazer Awardu00e2u20ac”Presented to an exceptional board that worked with management to take the bank in a new direction and realized successful results both to the bottom line and to the institution’s organizational value.
The Corporate Governance Awardu00e2u20ac”Presented to a board that instituted and practiced corporate governance in a superlative manner.

The L. William Seidman Courage Awardu00e2u20ac”Presented to a board whose directors, during a time of great adversity, had the courage to do the right thing.

In creating its awards program, Bank Director solicited nominations from industry consultants, investment bankers, attorneys, trade associations officials, and others who work closely with bank boards. Nominators provided evidence about candidates’ worthiness based upon written case studies. Bank Director‘s editors and management then reviewed submissions and made a final determination about the winner in each category.

The three articles that follow describe the winning boards’ stories, including each bank’s unique challenges and how the directors dealt with them head on. While the circumstances are all different, a common thread is the demonstration of character.

For instance, in 2001, the Trailblazer Award winner, the board of Georgian Bancorporation in Powder Springs, Georgia, took an undistinguished $70 million business and within three years transformed it into one of the fastest-growing financial institutions in the country. This feat could not have been accomplished without rock-solid trust among the board members and selflessness not usually heard of at the board level: the largest investor was asked to relinquish the role of CEO to an outsider who launched an aggressive capital plan that ignited the bank’s performance.

The winners of the Corporate Governance Award, Salisbury Bancorp, Lakeville, Connecticut, rose to the fore because its directors demonstrated pragmatic leadership at the point where they faced either creating new growth or losing their independence. They took several defining steps, including an acquisition and the delicate addition of new board members. Through it all the original, outside directors took pains to work by consensus and to stave off pressures that could sway their ethics and judgment.

Finally, the L. William Seidman Courage Award is presented to a group of directors who faced incredible adversity when they uncovered alleged wrongdoing on the part of top management. Today, the board of Community Bancshares of Blountsville, Alabama continues to stand firm in the face of a string of suits and countersuits, regulatory reprimands, and public recrimination. Throughout this compelling story, the directors have demonstrated solidarity and publicly stated their dedication to truth and honesty at any cost.

Bank Director is proud to share these inspirational stories with our readers, and know there are similar situations in banking communities across the country. Perhaps yours is one of them. If so, we invite you to share your story by contacting our editor any time.u00e2u20ac”Ed.

We would like to thank the following organizations who submitted case study nominations to the 2004 Bank Director Board Performance Awards.

A2iA Corp.
Bracewell & Patterson, LLP
Hoefer & Arnett, Inc.
Information Technology, Inc.
Northeast Capital & Advisory, Inc.
Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy, LLP
Ryan, Beck & Co.

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