After a full financial services career, John McNair serves community banks in the Mid-Atlantic region
By Michael Blankenheim
ICBA’s Calling Officers
Mid-Atlantic Regional Office
Phone: (717) 541-0237
Service area: District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia
Southeast Regional Office
Phone: (770) 650-9810
Service area: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina
Great Lakes Regional Office
Phone: (219) 464-1174
Service area: Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin and eastern Illinois
Central Plains Regional Office
Phone: (720) 328-3522
Service area: Colorado, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming
West Coast Regional Office
Phone: (310) 260-8632
Service area: California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Utah, Alaska and Hawaii
Northeast Regional Office
Position Currently Open
Service area: Connecticut, Maine Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont
John McNair is as enthusiastic about community banking today as he was 10 years ago, when he became ICBA’s calling officer for the Mid-Atlantic region.
“We help community banks to survive and thrive in this difficult financial services environment,” McNair says. “I fell in love with the mission, and I carry it with me every day. It’s a very pure mission, which is something everyone wants in an employer.”
Operating from Harrisburg, Pa., McNair serves community banks in New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. There are more than 730 community banks in those seven states. And it’s McNair’s job to call upon those community banks and assist them with any questions they have about the industry or ICBA. And, of course, community bankers call him frequently.
“The major thing I am hearing now is that things are beginning to stabilize somewhat,” he says. “Earnings are starting to come back a bit, and loan demand is starting to pick up a little.”
Then there is the response of community banks in the region to the increasingly costly and burdensome regulatory environment. “Many of the community banks in Mid-Atlantic region are absorbing the costs of these regulations by hiring additional staff, compliance-related people, so they can adhere to the new government regulations,” McNair offers.
McNair says community bankers are asking him how ICBA can help them find additional yield and how they can generate more noninterest income. The problem: The near-zero interest rate environment is still very flat. “From an association standpoint, we have to do anything we can to help our community banks find more yield and other sources of income and even reduce expenses,” he says.
As the nation’s largest banking trade association, ICBA has buying power, market influence it uses to help many community banks reduce their expenses, McNair points out. “We’ve been able to leverage our size with best-in-class providers to secure better pricing for community banks on many core products and services.”
The major accomplishment of ICBA for the community banking industry, however, is a much broader one, McNair says. “Without ICBA, there wouldn’t be nearly as much positive recognition of community banks,” he points out. “Since the financial crash, ICBA has been able to differentiate the industry and educate legislators and regulators about the critical role community banks perform.”
With a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in human resources management, McNair has spent his entire career in the financial services industry, so he says working for ICBA has been an ideal fit for his knowledge and skills. He has worked with a financial forms company, owned a financial forms franchise and been a business development officer for a nationwide appraisal where he appraised golf courses, marinas and ski resorts.
“Without ICBA, I don’t think there would be recognition in the financial services industry as to what exactly community banks are.”
—John McNair, ICBA’s calling officer for the Mid-Atlantic region
He lives in Harrisburg with his family and is active in many organizations, such as the local high school golf team, which he serves an assistant coach.
McNair has four events that he organizes each year for community banks, and he attends several state conventions every year. Just as important, however, are the in-person meetings he regularly conducts with community bankers as he travels throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
Understanding the wide range of member services programs ICBA offers, he helps community banks with everything from lending to compliance to new products and fee income. “You really can’t get to know a community bank and get to know its issues and challenges by sending tweets,” he says. “I walk through what their needs are and what our services are and what we can bring to the table for them.”
“I love the community bankers,” he adds. “These are very committed, hardworking, intelligent people. It’s just such as honor to serve them and to help their banks become better and more profitable.”
Michael Blankenheim is a freelance writer in Maryland.