The TechnøGrouch
Where crappy technology gets what it deserves...
and the good guys get a thumbs up!


Summit Community Bank
One of the Good Guys

by Jonathan Stars

OK, so Summit is not strictly a high tech firm, even though no bank can survive these days without technology. But in light of all my other complaints, I think these folks deserve some credit.

Everybody remembers the mortgage crisis, right? As of February 2011, we're far from out of trouble. Summit did NOT participate in any of the shenanigans that took the world to the brink of financial collapse and put the USA into deeper debt. They actually interviewed customers who wanted loans to buy homes, and they kept and serviced the mortgages instead of selling them off to the sharks on Wall Street. That means they cared about who they gave loans to, and they did the proper homework to find out if the people deserved those loans. No liar loans here!

Let's look for a minute at what that means. It takes courage in order for a bank to act the way Summit did. You don't make the same profits everyone else did. If you have investors, you're probably getting pressure to pay bigger dividends. If all the other banks are making money hand over fist and you're not, you look like a fool--until the chickens come home to roost--or until the mortgage crisis, whichever comes first. Then you look pretty smart. To hold out against that kind of pressure is exemplary.

Now that doesn't mean all their mortgages were without problems. We're in Michigan after all. Lots of people lost their jobs and that surely led to some foreclosures. But let's not forget the financial fiasco caused more than a few job losses, meaning that some of their customers were pounded by the very thing Summit fought against. That's a shame. But don't take credit away from them because things went bad that were beyond their control. Applause to them for standing up for what's right.

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Well, this doesn't provide you with a very lengthy article, and that's a happy thing from my point of view. The story is short because there are no frustrating twists and turns involving this George Bailey of banks. You might remember George from the movie It's a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart. If you don't, you owe it to yourself to watch it. And before you dismiss it as cornball, remember how close we all came to poverty recently. (Experts warn we're not out of the woods yet. Congress made no real changes to the laws. And that's because the contributors to their reelection campaigns were the same big bankers who started this whole mess.) I like to report it when greed does NOT win the day. If more banks had acted like Summit, we wouldn't have come close to the financial collapse. I'm sure there are others out there. But I know these people. So thank you very much Summit Community Bank. I hope you survive, cause it seems harder than ever these days to make it being one of the good guys. When you see companies like them, do business with them, even if it costs just a little more. Show your support for ethics that reflect the importance of human beings over profits. After all, this tech stuff is supposed to be in the service of humans.

UPDATE: Summit sold to Horizon Bank in 2014. They probably looked like a pretty good purchase, since their loans were solid. But if you're looking to me for advice about a trustworthy band, I'm afraid I can't tell you much about Horizon.

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