When I consider what I love I get a clear visual: overlapping concentric circles with one common center. Each circle represents an element of your impact on communities, including people, culture, economic growth, personal and professional development, and more. But in the center of everything lies the human connection. Relationships — with your teams, customers and communities — sit at the very heart of all you do. This deep focus on the people behind the transaction is the secret sauce of community banking.
Whether it’s a young couple closing on their first home, a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a construction project or a new line of inventory at a local business, community bankers have the fortune to stand witness to their impact. You are in this for the long haul, but your communities flourish precisely because of the small successes you make happen on a daily basis. For example, when the Paycheck Protection Program launched amid a cloud of uncertainty, community banks didn’t hesitate to take action.
Even when the rules were changing on the fly, you continued pushing loans forward, because your communities needed you. That’s what makes community banking what it is: doing the right thing for community, despite challenges and difficulties. Community banking truly is about investment in communities, far beyond solely addressing customer financial needs. When I think back to my own community banking experiences, whether it was helping a small business make the transition to its next generation of leadership, participating in community development initiatives or supporting scholarship programs, our bank was devoted to the people who made our community what it is. I know I speak for all of us when I say community banking extends past dollars and cents.
The beauty of all of this is that it is core to ICBA as well. For 90 years, this human connection has been at the heart of all we do. It comes from mirroring the community bank culture and environment, and I hope you’ll join us for ICBA Connect next month to witness it firsthand.
For now, with the backdrop of Valentine’s Day, it’s the perfect time to reflect on what you love about community banking and share it with your colleagues and communities. ICBA will be supporting you with its “I Love My Community Bank” campaign, emphasizing all that distinguishes you. From your focus on people to the good that you do, you make a lasting impact, and that’s what makes you uniquely who you are.
What you need to know
Share the love for community banking and join us for ICBA Connect (icba.org/connect). Bring your team and let’s continue making our secret sauce together.