Membership Central

Advantages of classroom training

By Steven Foley

In today’s competitive banking environment, many CEOs and managers understand the value of a well-trained workforce. Yet, unfortunately, many continue to make the counterproductive decision to target professional development and training for budget cuts.

Managers looking to boost employee performance and effectiveness, and in turn improve the overall performance of their institutions, should make professional development a priority while constructing their 2014 budgets. Classroom conferences and seminar training offer a number of benefits that webinars, online coursework and other remote training formats can’t provide.

Here are four reasons why you and your community bank’s staff should make attending ICBA classroom seminars or conferences a top priority for the year ahead.

1. Networking.

Professional networking is critical to your staff’s career growth and the success of your community bank. In-person seminars are excellent venues at which to discover new perspectives and exchange ideas with other community bankers, helping you and your colleagues to grow in their professional roles and careers.

With ICBA incorporating social media connections into many of today’s seminars and conferences, the opportunity for networking has never been greater. Before, attendees would leave a seminar or conference and hope to see their fellow bankers at next year’s event. Now, through these social media opportunities, it is easier to continue building on these new relationships long after a conference or seminar is over.

2. Certification.

In the current banking climate, anything that reassures customers you have their best interests in mind can be tremendously helpful. The professional development certification that many of ICBA’s seminars provide has increasingly become that stamp of approval for both bank customers and employers. Achieving such certification through a structured, classroom program is an excellent testament to your skills and ability, as well as a validation of your commitment to provide quality customer service.

3. Engagement.

While virtual learning platforms can offer greater flexibility for how and when bankers schedule their time for instruction, the benefits of interacting face-to-face with an instructor still make seminar training a powerfully effective instruction format.

ICBA seminar and conference training offers low instructor-to-student ratios, private consultation opportunities, roundtable discussion formats and the opportunity for students to get their specific questions answered.

4. Learning.

In today’s banking environment, regulatory amendments and technology changes are occurring constantly. The ability to understand these changes and implement a solution quickly is critical to the success of every community bank.

ICBA’s seminars offer great flexibility in adjusting instruction content to address timely topics and developments. Seminar and conference workshops can be tailored to specific issues and challenges facing the industry on any given day. Many virtual learning platforms need weeks or even months to incorporate the most recent regulatory changes or newest technology solutions.

No matter which professional development venue or format you prefer, whether it’s classroom seminars or remote learning platforms, the competitive and bottom-line benefits of a well-trained workforce cannot be denied. To boost the success of your community bank and its employees, be sure to take advantage of the many professional development opportunities available through ICBA.

Steven Foley ( is ICBA’s associate director, marketing and brand strategy.