By Jack Hartings, Chairman of ICBA
As I take the reins as chairman of ICBA, I feel honored, humbled and grateful—all because I have the opportunity over the next year to represent ICBA and community bankers across this great nation.
Community bankers like you have defined our industry by how you treat your customers and communities in good times and in bad. You know the right thing to do, and you do it. You are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to representing what’s good in this world. So first and foremost, thank you. Thank you for all you do to help the citizens and communities on Main Street no matter where you are—whether it’s rural America, suburban America or urban America. You help all types of communities thrive.
During my inaugural speech last month at the ICBA national convention, Community Banking LIVE, I asked my fellow community bankers in attendance to pledge to do what we can for your industry and for our communities to create an environment where community banking can flourish and to do your part in promoting community banking through your actions.
So go ahead and stand up, step up and speak up. Recent regulatory and advocacy related victories that ICBA and community banks have achieved are because community bankers stand together. So go ahead and contact or visit with your members of Congress and advocate for the community banking industry.
This is your industry—you live it every day—so don’t let someone else tell your legislators about it. You are our best advocate. Together let’s push back that boulder of burdensome regulation, unfair competition and onerous regulatory oversight. To accomplish our goals, we need everyone involved and doing their part, because by working together, ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results.
But don’t stop there. To further promote and strengthen our industry, we must plant seeds for the future, and one of the best ways we can do this is by mentoring emerging community bank leaders to help grow the industry. We are blessed to have some incredible talent coming through the ranks in community banks across the country. Let’s make the most of our future by grooming up and coming community bankers who want to do good for their customers and communities.
I encourage you to take them under your wing and give them the opportunity to attend education offered by ICBA’s Community Banker University, along with events like our Emerging Leaders Conference. Those are just a few of the resources that ICBA offers to future leaders. With your guidance and these offerings, these leaders will get the training and perspective they need for a successful and rewarding career in community banking.
If you attended ICBA’s national convention, you could feel the excitement and positive outlook that surrounds our great industry. While we face challenges, there’s nobody better than community bankers to address those challenges, find solutions and turning the tide for the betterment of our industry, our customers and communities. We community bankers are fighters, and we fight for what’s right every day. Never lose that spark, and always harness that powerful community banker perseverance to step up and speak up, because when we do, great things happen.
Jack Hartings is president and CEO of The Peoples Bank Co. in Coldwater, Ohio.