Service Lows

Last week I was in Washington, DC, promoting the interests of the banking community with a small group of Indiana bankers. The ability of these bankers to passionately describe their efforts to serve their customers and communities always makes me proud to work on their behalf. At the same time, it is frustrating to step back and look at the long-term results of congressional actions. During my career of 40+ years, regulatory burden and intervention has mushroomed to the point of suffocating not only banks, but all businesses.

I fear that the contamination of obtrusive government meddling into business will eventually move us from a free enterprise democracy into a government-controlled socialistic society. We will not like it.

As I was headed home, I arrived at the airport two hours and 15 minutes early. I got through the Delta Air Lines check-in process promptly and was met by private business employees, who were doing all they could to serve me. Then I headed to the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) security screen. My line was about 100 people long, and it took 30 minutes to complete the process. TSA, a government entity, has no competition and therefore no incentive to seek high levels of customer service.

No one came around to tell us why it was taking so long, or to ask if anyone had a flight leaving soon and needed to move to the front of the line. When I finally got near the front of the line, an agent asked me how I was doing. I told him that the slowness of the line was ridiculous. He simply said he could not do anything about it. A young lady whose flight was to leave in 10 minutes asked if she could be moved ahead; she was told there was nothing they could do about it.

I do hope that this is not the level of service we are all going to deteriorate to. Congress, the national media and the supposed consumer groups need to wake up and promote the freedoms that U.S. citizens have always enjoyed. If they continue to chastise business, none of us will have jobs, except for working for the government. Then we will really experience service lows.

Meanwhile the banking industry remains strong and service-oriented, thanks to the efforts of dedicated bankers, who travel to our nation’s capitol to keep it that way.

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