By Rebeca Romero Rainey, chairman of ICBA
Last year, I stood up on the convention stage so excited and humbled to be your ICBA chairman. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of a year and even more exciting and humbling than I ever thought possible.
I’ve truly loved having the opportunity to visit and speak with so many of you over the past year. The stories that you’ve shared with me have touched my heart—especially the many parents and grandparents who’ve come up to me and said that I’ve been a role model for their sons and daughters who are now considering a career within the family community bank. You have no idea how honored I feel to have helped ensure that your family legacy lives on at your bank, like it has for my grandfather’s bank, my father’s bank, my bank, Centinel Bank of Taos.
Community banking has a bright future because of you—the community bankers who represent it.
Last year on the convention stage in New Orleans, I asked you to tell your story. I asked you to get engaged and advocate for our great industry. You did that. Thank you.
You got engaged and advocated because community banks matter. We know that community banks make a tremendously positive impact in our local communities and beyond. We help Main Street thrive. We help America thrive.
That’s why sharing your story has been so important. We can’t let anyone forget what we do for our customers and our communities, and the impact it has on our local economies. We make a real difference, and that’s why policymakers need to create and promote an environment where community banks can flourish. They need to look at ICBA’s mission statement and make it their priority as they try to unlock the full potential of America’s economic system.
I also want to thank you for your support and encouragement over the past year. Just like family, you have been there for me and provided such inspiration and compassion. You’ve showed the same support to my family, and for that I’m so grateful. Being ICBA chairman has been such an amazing opportunity for me, my family and for our bank. I will never forget this experience and will continue to be grateful for it.
It has been a blessed year, and you’ve made that possible. Thank you for being community bankers. Thank you for telling your story. Thank you for believing in our industry principles, and thank you for all you do to make community banking the revered industry it is.
I wish you continued success in your career as a community banker and look forward to our paths crossing once again.
Rebeca Romero Rainey is chairman and CEO of Centinel Bank of Taos, in Taos, N.M. Follow her on Twitter at @romerorainey.