Power in Numbers

By Bill Loving

You’ve heard the saying, “there’s power in numbers,” and in the world of community banking, that statement sums it all up. Whether you’re talking about the fact that community banks operate more than 53,000 locations nationwide and employ nearly 700,000 Americans; or whether you hear that community banks hold $3.4 trillion in assets, $2.7 trillion in deposits and $2.1 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community—it’s clear: Community banks are power in numbers.
Our community banks are a force to be reckoned with, whether it’s providing loans in our communities or advocating our cause on Capitol Hill or with our regulators. As community bankers, our collective voice is power in numbers through and through. This fact couldn’t be more important at this critical juncture as we continue to overcome hurdles that have long unfairly weighed down our institutions.

And now is the time to seize the day as Congress is out of town on the summer recess. Just like students getting ready for another year of school starting soon, we, as community bankers, should look at August as a time to prepare for another year of industry advocacy. We need ready ourselves for when Congress comes back to Washington for that last sprint of legislative activity for the year. Right now we should prepare to gather our strength once again to fully advocate our issues to federal lawmakers when they return to work. That way, we can collectively come out of the gates in September, being as powerful as ever.

On regulatory burden relief, on proportionally tiered regulation, on too-big-to-fail, our message is getting through. However, we need to maximize our numbers to continue our momentum. We need “all hands on deck” with every community banker and community bank participating and being a part of the ICBA to ensure we fully achieve our objectives.

Through ICBA, we can become catalysts for change by speaking out unequivocally on behalf of community banks. ICBA is all about community banks all the time. We are focused entirely on the best interests of community banks and Main Street America. Wall Street mega-firms need not apply.

The benefits of ICBA membership are many. Our education programs, conferences and information resources offer personal-growth opportunities for you, your directors and your staff. And our bottom-line savings and income-earning programs pay for your membership dues many times over.

Never has your institution’s membership in ICBA been more important. Join your peers and participate in the policy process, and help us write the history of community banking in America. Be counted. Be part of ICBA. Be part of our industry’s impressive collective power in numbers.

Bill Loving is president and CEO of Pendleton Community Bank in Franklin, W.Va.