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UMB's Kemper Proves Boring Is Better: Best In Class

Indeed, while Kemper was popping proverbial champagne over UMB's tried-and-true stability last year, hundreds of other banks, including Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS), required trillions of dollars in federal assistance through various programs. Not to mention the high-profile names that bulked up on subprime, most notably Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual and Lehman Brothers, and simply collapsed.

And while not having accepted any government support is a Kemper point of pride, UMB is still paying the price. A raft of bank failures across the country has depleted the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s reserves, and led to hefty "special assessment" fees for all banks, regardless of size, bailout, earnings or non-performing asset statistics.

Largely as a result of $4.6 million in added regulatory costs, UMB's second-quarter earnings dropped 20%. While other bank CEOs cite the weak economy, delinquent loans, or repaying bailout funds as their biggest grief, Kemper calls this his "greatest frustration" in the post-crisis world.

"Why have myself and my team and those before me done what we've done for all these years and there's no reward or benefit to operating a sound organization?" Kemper asks. "That's been very, very frustrating to us, to have to pay these premiums that we've been paying when we've been doing all the right things."

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