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"Well, I think early on when I was banking in my home town, you made a loan based a lot on the father and the grandfather, which was probably wrong. But that was, you know – You turned down some loans you probably should have made, and you made some loans that you probably shouldn't have, just because of the family name and the family history. After I left my home town and came to York, everybody was a stranger, so then you look at the facts and the figures...
   "As a young person starting out in banking, I thought – I wanted everybody to like me. That was my whole goal. I wanted to be liked. Well, I found out, after being in banking for a while, that just doesn't happen if you're a banker. But I think you can still have some compassion. You still can be warm to people and treat them right. Sometimes you have to tell them, 'No.' And they don't like it, and they might hold it against you the rest of your life. But that's part of being in the banking business. So, I think there's times when bankers really are accused of being the villain. Sometimes maybe there's some justification to it. Maybe some bankers sometimes enjoy being the dictator, the king, having their thumb on a person and maybe don't have all the compassion they should. But most of the time, the bankers are trying to do the right thing.
   "But, first of all, it's somebody else's money they're lending out, and they have regulatory agencies looking over their shoulder. They have a board of directors watching what they do. All for the safety of the depositor. And whenever we get down to that tough decision, that's probably what causes us to make the difficult decisions – it's not our money, it's the depositors' money. They probably wouldn't want us doing this. So, I think a lot of things we're accused of are justifiable, but a lot of it is beyond our control, too...
   "I think the bank just has to be a big factor in its success and what happens in a small community. If you find a town that's dying, you'll probably find a banker that won't get behind projects, won't take some risks, won't do some things for the community. To me, banking is one of the most exciting jobs you could have. Looking at it from the outside, before I went to work there, I thought it was probably the most boring job anybody could have. There's just so many things you can do in the banking business...
   "Every day you come to work, you don't know what's going to happen. You don't know what the phone call is going to bring, or the mail, or somebody walking into your office. And people come in with great ideas. They also come in with bad ideas. And, so, as a banker, you kind of sort those out and hopefully you're right most of the time. And then you see that person take that idea, you helped finance it, they grow it into something and they become a success. It just makes you feel good. You just feel like, I really made a difference in this person's life. And when you guess wrong and somebody gets hurt, you feel just as bad. So, it just – We get involved very personally with people. We really get into their lives."

Kelly Holthus – Banking in the 1940s

   

Other Excerpts from Kelly Holthus' Interview:

Pearl Harbor
Effect of the War
War to a 10-year-old
Rationing
Bomber Crash
School Consolidation
Electrification
Television
Baseball
Wartime Labor Shortage
POWs
Postwar Boom
Cash Flow Lending Now
Importance of Irrigation
Water Contamination
Split Brakes
Victory Gardens
DDT