On the Southern Circuit

David Moore (bottom row, far right) on Capitol Hill with the Community Bankers Association of Georgia at ICBA’s 2016 Washington Policy Summit, now called the ICBA Capital Summit.

Always traveling to build relationships, member relationship officer David Moore brings a personal touch to community banks in the Southeast

By James Carberry

From 25 years working in sales with the John H. Harland Co., and the past 14 years working for ICBA, David Moore knows the value of developing and maintaining professional relationships.

Moore is senior vice president and manager of the ICBA’s Southeast region, spanning nine states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The region’s member community banks operate in more than 3,100 locations, employ more than 42,000 people and hold more than $173 billion in assets.

Moore is often in a plane or on the road, traveling across the region to meet with members and talk about whatever is on their minds. He’s had his share of traveler’s travails: storms, bad roads, flight delays, traffic jams and more. If he wanted, he could probably write a road warrior’s guide to the Southeast.

“With GPS, it’s a lot easier to get around than it used to be,” he says. Besides meeting with community bankers who are ICBA members, Moore tries to get together with others who are not members to tell them about the benefits of joining the association. “Relationships and memberships are two sides of the same coin,” he says.

On his visits, Moore usually spends two days (and three nights) in a community, trying to see as many community bankers as he can. He relishes the chance to make connections. “You really can’t be successful if you don’t enjoy getting out and meeting people,” he says.

From his travels, he has discerned that the region’s community bankers are more optimistic about the change from the election. “The Southeast was particularly hard hit by the recession, but it’s beginning to turn around,” he says. An indicator that the economy is improving is that community banks are starting to step up lending to small businesses and other borrowers.

In meetings with community bankers, Moore talks about how the association can help them serve their communities and find solutions to business problems. The association offers a palette of resources, and part of Moore’s job is to ensure that every member in his region knows how to use it.

For various reasons, the spread between community banks’ cost of money and income from their core lending business has narrowed, and banks are working hard to improve their margins. “They want to make high-quality loans at margins that will reward them for the risks,” Moore explains. To help community banks achieve their margins, spread their risks, and augment their income from lending, he often points them to the ICBA Securities institutional portfolio investment program.

New income streams
Community banks also are exploring new income streams. ICBA can help them evaluate opportunities to save and make money, such as offering customers investments and payment products. With Moore’s assistance, they can contact the association’s service line experts to learn more about a particular offering.

Community banks embrace the use of technology to serve customers, operate efficiently, reduce costs, maintain data security and achieve other business goals. “Community banks can leverage technology faster than larger, slower-moving institutions, and ICBA can show them how,” Moore says.

Moore talks with community bankers about their particular regulatory issues and communicates their concerns to various other ICBA staff.

Moore says he likes working with community banks because they’re deeply committed to the communities they serve. “Bankers attend the same churches, participate in the same community organizations, and have children in the same schools as their customers,” he says. “And they’re good people, easy to work with.”

In 14 years serving community banks through ICBA, Moore says he’s learned a lot firsthand from community bankers, especially about building relationships with people. Of course, the same can be said of Moore himself: suitcase in hand, ready for the road.

James Carberry is a freelance writer in California.