My hometown bank president is outspoken and outrageous

Jen A. Miller picture

When I got fed up with Wells Fargo, I didn’t have to look very far to find another bank.

1st Colonial National Bank is just three blocks from my home in Collingswood, N.J.

At first, it seemed like the kind of community bank that’s been attracting so many disgruntled big-bank customers like me.

Its website says: “Big banks invest in stadiums. We invest in your kid’s little league team and you!”

In our part of the country, that’s a direct swipe at competitors such as Citibank, which paid millions to put its name on the Mets' new baseball stadium in New York, and Citizens Bank, which did the same for the Phillies' new stadium in Philadelphia.

It’s also a pretty populist-sounding appeal for my business. Especially when you combine it with Colonial’s slogan: “Nice people with money.”

Unfortunately, Colonial didn’t turn out to be as nice as it initially looked.

The problem turned out to be the bank's outspoken president and CEO, Gerry Banmiller.

I discovered that Banmiller had actually taken out radio ads denouncing the Occupy movement and praising the rich.

“I will not participate in the class warfare our political leaders and media outlets are encouraging as sympathizers with the meaningless demonstrators of Wall Street,” he said.

It gets worse on his personal website.

Not only does his head shot feature him posing with a Rolls-Royce, but on his "Politics" blog, he spouts off about Obama-related conspiracy theories and the "anarchy" of same-sex marriage.

Banmiller says that “natural law requires that the consummation of a union between man and woman requires a sexual bonding so that the species can reproduce. I hate to be basic but the penetration of the rectum by the penis does not accomplish this end.”

He also pontificates on "myths" of poverty, blaming "poor planning and selfish priorities" for why one in four working-age Americans don’t have health insurance.

All of this seems to be a pretty stupid way to act in a town that’s solidly middle class.

The median household income is about $57,000, only slightly more than the national median of $50,000, and the median home value is modest by East Coast standards, just $244,000.

Collingswood also has a history of being a gay-friendly place.

None of this is nice in my book, and I don’t think it represents the people who live in my hometown.

There’s no way I'd ever put a dime in Mr. Banmiller's bank.

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