Readers write: July 2012

Like a rock

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the fantastic Small Business of the Year award your magazine presented us (cover story, December 2011), but I must say I am a perplexed by the story about Bank of Granite (cover story, June). It takes a beating it did not deserve. Not only that, but its key people — John Forlines and Charles Snipes — should be portrayed as they really are: heroes. Yes, they did things the old way, judging character first and balance sheet second. For over 100 years, Bank of Granite gave guys like me an opportunity to create jobs. They took us at our word and looked into our eyes when we shook hands and then held us accountable. Your story gave them credit for this, but it turns down the wrong country road when Snipes is blamed for the demise and col- lapse of the free world.

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, the USA decided it would become a service economy, and we would export the dirty jobs to other countries. But as we exported our manufacturing jobs, we slowly started exporting our service jobs. And when all this hit the fan, we found greed in every nook and cranny. It is not fair for Snipes and Forlines to be blamed for what happened. I’d sooner work with men with morals who can judge character than a man who can only read a balance sheet. What we learned over the last decade is that balance sheets too often lie. When crooks provide hot books, even the smartest MBAs and CPAs can be bamboozled.

When my company looks for a loan, I don’t have time to wait for the chain of command to filter my story to the next head up. I want a banker I can look at and share my story with. I need to show them what challenges we face. I want the bank to know us by our names and treat us with care. We should use our sixth sense when we do business. Our eyes and ears do more than see and hear. Our brains send that information to our gut. Guts and experience go a long way in making a business decision.

I would like to go on record and say I dedicate our Small Business Award to Charles Snipes. He is the one person, outside of our company, that helped DeFeet become what it is today. When he shook my hand, it meant he believed in us and that we had a deal. He gave us our start, he helped fuel our growth, and he helped provide light in some dark tunnels so we could find our future. Thank you, Charles Snipes, for believing in us.

Shane Cooper, founder and CEO DeFeet International Inc.
Hildebran

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Excellent article on Bank of Granite. It was my privilege to represent BoG while practicing law in Lenoir from 1978 to 1992. I saw and experienced firsthand the positive impact of an engaged community bank. This is a sad story, one that has been written too many times in recent years. Thanks for capturing the essence of the triumph and tragedy of the Bank of Granite.


Brad Wilson, president and CEO
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Chapel Hill

One and done

I gather from the last paragraph of the Up Front column in the June issue that you opposed the passage of Amendment One. Perhaps it is because of your belief that homosexual marriage is a civil-rights issue or that the amendment embodies only a religious conviction. Perhaps it is from some other rationale that has not occurred to me. I would assume that we agree on the following principles: Governments should only exist by the consent of the governed, and all ideas, products, services and opinions should have both the freedom and burden of competing freely in the marketplace of ideas.
There is no evidence that the fundamental predispositions and inclinations of humans have changed since the dawn of written history. This is the main nontheological conclusion for the continued popularity in the idea marketplace of the Bible and explains the continued relevance, acceptance and popularity of many classical authors and writings. Notable civilizations throughout history have consistently repressed (but tolerated) homosexual behavior and elevated families consisting of a male and female as a social construct.
I am a Libertarian. I want as little government as possible. I voted for Amendment One for two reasons. One, I detest having laws forced upon an unwilling majority who form the moral justification for the government’s existence. Two, the overwhelming evidence of history is that civilizations preferred families and protected special legal contracts between men and women for marriage. No one has presented any facts why this is no longer a good model for society. I would be happy if the government got out of the marriage business. It should become a matter of simple contract law. If we as a culture cannot agree on the historically traditional model of marriage, why not allow any combination and number of men and women, of any sexual proclivity, to form “marriages.” Eliminate all government support for any version of marriage or families, and let the marketplace sort out what works and what doesn’t.


Mark A. Roberts, CPA, CFA
Roberts & Company LLC
Mooresville

Front and upfront

I am writing with two comments on the June issue. (1) I think the cover photograph is in very poor taste, and borderline obscene. I don’t think a photo like that accomplishes anything other than provoking disgust, and I fear that that disgust will be focused upon you and your staff much more than any misbehaving bankers. (2) I think that your Up Front column at the front of the magazine was excellent, one of the finest pieces of editorial writing I have ever seen in a business publication. I am biased because I agree strongly with the conclusion you draw, but, nevertheless, kudos on a job well done.


David Mills, CPA
Durham

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