What a different August this will be than in previous years. Yet, as much as things have changed, I find comfort in the fact that the core of what we do at ICBA and as community bankers is steadfast.
Ninety years ago, a founding group of community bankers rallied around the goals of maintaining their independence and protecting their communities. They formed ICBA to leverage the power of their collective voices. Our goal today is to continue in this vein, increasing the impact of community banks by amplifying your influence.
As we implement this mission virtually, I am continuously amazed at the strength of the community bank spirit. Despite being unable to come together in person, community bankers show up for each other and for their communities. Our community bank briefings provide evidence of this drive, with upwards of 1,500 bankers participating. ICBA staff provide overviews of the latest happenings to parse the must-know information, but it’s through you, your interactions and your insights that the spirit of community banking truly emerges. In a time when it’s never been more important to listen, learn and support one another, these calls exemplify the very nature of ICBA. We band together to ensure we all succeed.
But these calls aren’t just for talking. We connect to access new opportunities, new ways of thinking and new solutions to support each other in this dynamic, evolving environment. Reflecting on the challenges we’ve faced this year, I can think of no point in history when we have been met with banking decisions that elicited such quick-turn, strategic action. Paycheck Protection Program planning, social distancing, remote working and more shook our business plans and day-to-day operational procedures and redefined how we work.
But despite this shift, our collective mission remains constant. We continue to come together to chart a path forward. That’s why it’s so powerful to have ICBA as a place for like-minded community bankers to convene, so we can define where we’re heading as an industry.
There’s an undeniable sense of connection among us, and I’ve seen how community banks have responded. Each of you has stepped up to an even greater extent and is moving forward with intensified purpose, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading more of these stories of resilience, and of the passion behind our work, in this month’s issue.
I am proud of what we, as a community of community bankers at ICBA, have been able to do. Together, we will continue to flourish for years to come.
What you need to know is this. As we consider the future, supporting the development of next-generation leaders remains a priority. That’s why we’ve taken our LEAD FWD Summit online. We hope members of your team will join us virtually Sept. 21-22.
Rebeca Romero, ICBA
Connect with Rebecca @romerorainey