Investing in Our Future

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By Rebeca Romero Rainey

For more than 30 years my community bank has offered college scholarships to local high school students. Through this process we at Centinel Bank of Taos have the opportunity to learn about their dreams and goals for the future.

Their enthusiasm and vision are infectious and have the potential to transform lives and organizations. That’s why I’m so passionate about our scholarship program, and why I hope to persuade one or two candidates to consider a career in community banking.

My mother, Cheryl Romero, our former human resources director, had a similar philosophy when she met another native Taoseño 20 years ago. Like many of our applicants, that young man demonstrated a hunger to learn, an eagerness to lead and a deep belief in our community.

I am so grateful that my mother had that vision and that Angel Reyes, saw the potential opportunity and joined the bank 20 years ago this September. Today he serves as our president and joins me enthusiastically in continuing our tradition of awarding scholarships. We both believe that empowering the next generation of bank leadership is critical for the future of community banking.

ICBA also plays an important part in preparing our future leaders for the challenges and opportunities facing our industry. Last month, ICBA awarded $30,000 in NextGen Scholarships:

  • one full scholarship to the Barret School of Banking’s three-year program;
  • two scholarships to attend the 2016 ICBA LEAD FWD Summit◊; and
  • a one-year scholarship to attend any certification program, educational event or institute offered by ICBA Community Banker University®.

If you haven’t already reserved a spot for your best and brightest talent, I urge you to consider sending them to this year’s LEAD FWD Summit scheduled for Sept. 11–14 in
Denver. Participants will learn from top industry experts, make invaluable connections and hear from ICBA’s President and CEO Cam Fine about the future of community banking, the current political landscape and how attendees can achieve greater community bank leadership success.

Our future is bright because community bankers recognize the importance of investing in our people.

Also check out ICBA’s Community Banker University, which offers state-of-the-art courses and certification programs in auditing, compliance, credit and lending, operations, security, technology and more.

Our future is bright because community bankers recognize the importance of investing in our people.

Please join me in investing in the growth of your employees and their careers. You will receive exponential returns for your bank, your customers and your community for generations to come.


Rebeca Romero Rainey is chairman and CEO of Centinel Bank of Taos, in Taos, N.M.