How a business journalist became a banking reporter
Gwen Moritz of Arkansas Business writes about how she become a banking reporter.
Moritz writes, “Several things contributed to my journalistic evolution, starting with my desperation to get away from a boss who modeled himself after Captain Queeg. The day my editor at the Nashville (Tenn.) Business Journal told me that I was now a banking reporter literally changed my life.
“The first bank story I covered, in the summer of 1992, was a press conference announcing that a bank from Birmingham called First Alabama was entering the Nashville market by acquiring a small mutual savings and loan. The reporters for the daily papers — back then, Nashville still had The Tennessean in the morning and the Banner in the afternoon — were asking questions about ROA and ROE, and I was taking notes as fast as I could and putting question marks by everything since I had no earthly idea what those letters stood for, much less what they actually meant.
“If I knew then what I know now, I would have asked a whole lot more questions about what the depositors in that little mutual S&L were getting out of the deal. Instead, I followed up on a tossed off comment by one of the First Alabama executives about hoping to reach $500 million in assets in Tennessee within a year.
“I didn’t even know what a bank asset was. But I used the Tennessee Bankers Association directory to call about two dozen bank presidents around Nashville and asked them if they were being courted by First Alabama. I was too naïve to realize that no banker would answer a question like that. Fortunately, four of those bank presidents were equally naïve and confirmed that they were in talks with First Alabama, which, you know, is now called Regions Bank.”
Read more here.