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  • By David Fannin
    Jan 10, 2011
    Charles Thayer’s new book It Is What It Is provides insights into the impact of the recent national and worldwide financial meltdown on one particular banking institution in the Northwest, AmericanWest Bank, and tells the story of how it managed to survive when it seemed impossible that it could do so. Not surprisingly the chief culprits were a bad real estate loan portfolio and an overly aggressive expansion strategy that proved unsustainable when sources of new capital dried up just as bank regulators belatedly decided that all banks should have a more conservative capital structure. Thayer dedicates his book to Patrick Rusnak, who stepped into a “battlefield promotion” to interim (and later permanent) CEO when his predecessor and boss was dismissed. Rusnak’s attitude was a simple one; we will survive this situation whatever it takes. Rather than panic as one piece of bad news followed others, Rusnak’s standard response “It is what it is, now let’s move on” provides the book’s... More > title. As Thayer’s narrative unfolds, it certainly takes much more than just a “can do” attitude, although that proves very helpful. Rusnak’s management team and staff prove just as tenacious as their leader. All of them park their egos at the door (Rusnak is too busy to move into the CEO’s corner office; he just remains at his post dealing with crisis after crisis). For those who have read Jim Collins’s best selling business treatise Good to Great, this management team exhibits what Collins terms “Level 5 Leadership” which puts the good of the enterprise ahead of personal goals and in the process makes the company “great”. In this case, “great” becomes simply “survival”. Ironically the survival of AmericanWest closed the book on Rusnak’s tenure as CEO. New ownership meant new leadership, but it is clear that Rusnak’s future is bright as any financial institution could benefit from his brand of level 5 leadership. The book ends with a chapter containing Thayer’s observations on the current regulatory climate for financial institutions. This chapter highlights some of the regulations and policies that made the job of AmericanWest’s management much more difficult and that sometimes hinder rather than help our “not too big to fail” financial institutions in their continuing efforts to survive a financial crisis that remains far from over. With Thayer’s decades of experience in banking and consulting with bank managements and boards, as well as his position as Chairman of the American Association of Bank Directors, his observations are based upon his own real world experiences assisting banks that are sometimes hindered more than helped by complicated rules and regulations. It Is What It Is provides an interesting read not only for bankers and bank directors but also for anyone who is fascinated by positive stories of business survival against difficult odds. It is highly recommended.< Less
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Product Details

First Edition
Chartwell Capital Ltd
December 28, 2010
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.57 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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