First timer? You’re not alone

Two community bankers tell us what they got out of their first visit to the ICBA convention

My Bank, based in Belén, N.M., got out of residential lending in 2012 and didn’t think it would ever go back. Until now, that is. “These days, we are thinking about getting back into the market,” says Ed Robertson, president and CEO of the $165 million-asset community bank.

Ed Robertson

Over in Luxemburg, Wis., the Bank of Luxemburg, with assets of just more than $300 million, is considering introducing a relationship-based pricing model. Tim Treml, executive vice president, says, “We want to look at the whole relationship we have with a customer, not just one aspect of it.”

Why are they considering these new strategies? They learned more about them at ICBA Community Banking LIVE, which they both attended for the first time last year.

“I wasn’t quite sure I knew what I was getting into when I decided to attend the 2016 convention,” says Treml. “When I got the conference booklet, it seemed a little overwhelming at first. So I just hoped I would be able to figure my way through it. I ended up having a very positive experience.”

He found the breakout sessions to be particularly valuable. “They were not only well planned, there was also a good mix of bank-related topics, such as a session on interest-rate derivatives, as well as nontraditional topics, such as how to train your brain,” he says.

Treml enjoyed the chance to network with other ICBA members. “We do a great job of networking with other bankers in our state,” he says. “However, at the national convention, I had the opportunity to sit down and have conversations with bankers from other regions of the country about what is going on with their banks. These discussions helped me realize that our bank is going through some of the same things.”

Tim Treml

My Bank’s Robertson also found his experience attending his first convention to be a positive one. “For one thing, I was able to get caught up on what ICBA National and ICBA New Mexico are doing to help level the playing field for us with the farm credit system as well as credit unions,” he says. “I also found the seminars on upcoming legislation and regulations, such as CECL, to be very helpful.”

The chance to network was a bonus for him, too. “It was very helpful to meet bankers from all over the country who were similar in size to us,” he says. “All of us had the opportunity to share our trials and tribulations, our successes, and our plans for the future.”

—William Atkinson