Our Bedrock Principles

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By Camden R. Fine, President and CEO of ICBA

Stop and consider: What changes has your community bank undergone recently? How about during the past five years? What about the last 10?

Most likely your community bank is larger today, both in accounts and assets, and also its influence within its market area. I also imagine that your bank’s operations have become comparatively leaner while, paradoxically, also much more technologically complex. Its products and services, and advancing technology are driving and transforming its operations. Nearly everything is going digital throughout community banking. More and more operations are shaped by analytical computing power. Access to nearly all information is easier, faster and almost instantaneous.

It is amazing when you look back and account for all that remarkable and dynamic change. Despite these transformations, however, I’m even more certain that the fundamental purpose and principles of your community bank business model haven’t changed. That’s because the bedrock upon which your business model is based is relationship banking where the best interests of your customers and communities remain paramount. This is what permanently defines your community bank. The community bank business model is distinct, special and needed more than ever in the financial services marketplace.

In an industry where community bank imposters linger, your community bank’s authenticity is essential and inviolable. Your community bank won’t compromise, and can’t compromise, its fundamental principles. In fact, everything it does must adhere to and be guided by those principles. If I’m right about all of this, congratulations, you are a community banker. Be proud of it. Tell the world.

Just as community banks serve their customers and communities based on a principled business model, ICBA serves community banks in the same way. Still the only national trade association that exclusively serves the nation’s community banks, ICBA was formed 86 years ago by and exclusively for the benefit of community banks. Our mission is and has always been crystal clear. Our actions are defined by our founding principles. Our positions cannot be compromised. Our voice is purely that of the nation’s community banks.

ICBA is much more than an association for community banks. We are your trusted ally and advocate. Everything we do is for our members’ best interests. From fighting regulatory overkill and excessive financial concentration to preserving our uniquely diversified financial system, time and again ICBA has been steadfast and true, always first and often alone. Our core mission and principles will not and cannot waver.

Certainly, ICBA has changed over the years and will continue to change. We will always seek new ways to work smarter and more effectively to help ensure that community banks flourish. The association knows that we can’t rest on our past successes. Community banks are constantly changing, as is the world around us. While looking to the future, ICBA will continue to be your community bank’s most trusted and most dynamic advocate. We are proud to serve only community banks, and we are proud to tell the world.

Join us. Work with us and beside us. Our strength is greater in our greater numbers. By working together, we will always have higher principles to promote, defend and live by.


Reach Camden R. Fine at
cam.fine@icba.org.