Introduction

Welcome to the Federal Reserve System's online training for bank directors. This course is a primer on the duties, responsibilities and key roles of bank directors. More detail may be obtained from the book, Basics for Bank Directors, on which this course is based. You may obtain a copy of that book for free by clicking the Basics for Bank Directors link at the top of this page.

While a director’s job is important and carries responsibility, it may not be as daunting as it first appears. In fact, you can effectively use your knowledge and experience gained from your own profession in your role as a director. It is likely you already possess many of the attributes of an effective director, including:

  • basic management experience and skills,
  • an inquisitive attitude, and
  • a willingness to commit time and energy to bank matters.

The only thing that may be missing is a basic knowledge of banking and what to consider in overseeing a bank. The discussion that follows focuses on the basics of being a director. The legendary Green Bay Packers football coach, Vince Lombardi, recognized the importance of teaching basics to his players. Even after winning championships and being surrounded by future Hall-of-Fame players, Lombardi had a tradition of beginning every preseason training camp the same way. He stood before his players, football in hand, and said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”1 He assumed his players were a blank slate at the beginning of each season. With that in mind, we begin with the basic discussion, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a bank.”

1David Maraniss, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, Simon & Schuster,
  New York, N. Y., 1999, page 274.