Character is Still the First C

March 7, 2013

By Bob Coleman
Editor, Coleman Report

Jon Winick of Clark Street Capital has a great interview with Ed Wehmer, CEO of Wintrust Financial, a $17.5 billion community bank in Chicago.

I particularly liked this excerpt….

Jon Winick: I heard you subscribe to the theory that once a deadbeat, always a deadbeat.

Ed Wehmer: Fool me twice, shame on me. We didn’t have as many bad loans as other people, and when we did have them, we worked with the borrowers. If the borrower will work with us – we won’t hold a grudge against those guys. We are not bite to the bone and chase until they die type of guys.

But on the flipside of that, you also get to see the bad characters who say “screw you – I’m going to sit on my boat in Florida and come get me.” Why would you want to do business with guys with bad character?

So a lot of these real estate developers take great pride in how they can screw over the banks, not all them, but many of them. I was sitting down having lunch at Gibson’s one day and a couple guys were behind me. They didn’t know I was a banker, but I knew who they were. The one guy was saying – “Why aren’t you screwing your bank?”

They are all showing up again under different names and different backers and whatever. I’m not doing business with them. Life is too short. So, character is everything and if a guy shows bad character, why would you do that again?

Access the entire interview here.

Bob Coleman
Coleman Report

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