From the Top


Keep fighting the good fight

By Bill Loving

It’s so hard for me to believe that this is my last “From the Top” column as chairman of ICBA. This year has flown by, and I know that is because I’ve had such an incredible time serving as your chairman.

I’ve so enjoyed visiting my community banking brethren from coast to coast—in cities and towns throughout the country. I’ve also been so privileged to preach the community bank business model abroad, having had the opportunity to speak before bankers from various countries this past fall in Tokyo.

All of these amazing places and the people I’ve had a chance to visit along the way made quite an impression on me. I thought I couldn’t have been more proud when I was sworn in as your chairman last March, but boy was I wrong. After seeing even more of what the great community bankers of this nation have to offer, I’m simply blown away. It’s you who have made me even more proud to be what I love being—a community banker.

My speech last March was all about enthusiasm for this great industry. And now more than ever, I feel that energy, that enthusiasm. From my vantage point, there’s no doubt that community banking has a great future ahead, and it’s bankers like you who are helping to pave that path for future community bankers and the communities they serve.

But that bright future doesn’t come without hard work. As a community banker, you already know what that means. You work tirelessly to serve the needs of your customers and communities. It’s just what you do. That’s why I say don’t stop there. Take that same enthusiasm and love for what you do and who you represent to others by advocating our important cause. Get to know your members of Congress, and help educate them on community banking and the issues that are important to you.

It’s up to you, as a community banker, to fight the good fight for Main Street America. Nothing ever comes easy and I know you realize that.

ICBA and community bankers have built an impressive legacy that we need to continue to build upon. Throughout my years of advocacy as a community banker, I’ve seen so many community banking industry victories in Washington, including when we pushed Walmart back from the industrial loan company loophole and when we convinced Congress to direct the FDIC to adopt asset-based deposit insurance assessments, which are now saving community banks millions of dollars every year. These were critical public policy victories, and they are just some of the few that are a lasting legacy for our industry.

I know more victories like these are ahead of us. With the enthusiasm we community bankers possess and the drive we have to do what’s right for America’s communities, there’s nothing stopping us.

So as I take off my chairman’s hat, I want you to know that we can do anything we put our minds to. While the winds may be challenging, community bankers are up to the task. Together we can accomplish anything.

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