Full Circle

By Jeff Gerhart

Itrust that I’ve captured some of your imagination with my From the Top columns during these past 12 months, and that I’ve provided you with some ideas to consider and possibly use in your own community banks. Through this column, I’ve given you a glimpse of a typical day at the Bank of Newman Grove, as well as some reminders about the significance of being a “community activist,” the importance of your bank’s ICBA membership and the grassroots advocacy efforts that make both our state associations and ICBA work so well for community banking.

Last year’s ICBA National Convention and Techworld® in Nashville, Tenn., where I became ICBA chairman seems like yesterday, and now here we are heading to Las Vegas for this year’s gathering. I’ve got a favorite cap that reads “another trip around the sun.” In other words, here we are again …

For those of you attending this year’s convention, I promise that you will have an outstanding experience. For those of you staying home, follow us on ICBA’s Facebook page or on Twitter, through the hashtag #ICBALV13. Today there is little reason not to stay in touch with us.

This past year, we’ve come through an election season where getting things done in Congress was always difficult. But ICBA, with your grassroots help, made the difference.

It has been a pleasure to serve as your ICBA chairman, and you are in very good hands with the newly elected and re-elected members of ICBA’s Executive Committee. All are exceptional leaders for these times—you have my word on that.

Thanks are also in store for the many wonderful people who work on behalf of community banking at ICBA. These dedicated people have my sincere appreciation for the fine work they do day after day on behalf of our industry.

Thank you also to the many community bankers whom Becky and I have had the pleasure to meet as we’ve traveled across the country this past year. To those we didn’t meet who are on the front lines each day taking care of business in their communities—you folks are the best.

Finally, thank you to the many service providers and support people who help make sure that community banking continues to have a strong place in America, a place that continues to be the foundation of our nation.

As I turn over this column to my good friend and an outstanding community banker, incoming ICBA chairman Bill Loving of West Virginia, it has been a pleasure to have had this opportunity to offer you a view from my vantage point this past year.

Full circle, indeed. endmark

Jeff Gerhart is president and chairman of Bank of Newman Grove in Newman Grove, Neb.