David Silberman, assistant director of research, markets and regulations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, traveled from Washington, D.C., to Gothenburg, Neb., to visit yesterday with Matt Williams and his staff at the Gothenburg State Bank.
Silberman became acquainted with Williams, the chairman-elect of the American Bankers Association, last March when Silberman addressed bankers who had come to Washington D.C. He spoke to the bankers about the CFPB’s interest in overdraft protection products, saying his agency had looked at the practices of the nation’s eight largest banks. Williams raised his hand and asked if the CFPB had looked at any smaller banks?
The next day, Silberman’s staff contacted the ABA to find out the name of the banker who asked the question. They connected and Williams invited Silberman out to his bank to see how things work at a small town bank.
Silberman is one of six associate directors at the CFPB who reports directly to the agency’s Director, Richard Cordray.
Gothenburg, a town of 3,800 people, is located on Interstate 80, three and a half hours west of Omaha. The bank has $118 million in assets, two offices and 28 employees.
Williams said Silberman arrived at 10 a.m. and stayed until 7 p.m. During his visit, Williams and his staff went over four areas: overdraft protection, new account openings, home loans and general compliance.
Williams said the visit went very well and that he has never been more proud of his staff and the community. During lunch, Williams invited seven small business customers in to explain how Gothernburg State Bank has helped them stay in business. Williams also used his time to talk up his staff, which last year collectively volunteered some 3,080 hours of service to the community.
Williams said Silberman seemed to enjoy his visit and seemed to learn a lot. Williams said Silberman told him that any new rule regarding overdraft protection cannot be written in a one-size-fits-all manner.
Here are a few photos the bank posted on its Facebook page.