What are the benefits of ICBA membership?

An at-a-glance look at the ICBA member benefits that empower community banks across the country.

By Andrea Lahouze

As the nation’s only association solely dedicated to community banking, ICBA supports and gives a voice to the more than 5,800 community banks of all sizes and charter types. Its mission is simple, yet powerful: Create and promote an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is a tireless advocate for the industry in Washington. It also offers members advanced professional education through its Community Banker University, along with a bevy of high-quality products and services to help its member banks thrive. Here are just a few reasons why it’s great to be part of the ICBA crowd.

Meeting of the minds

ICBA Community Banking LIVE is one of the highest-profile member benefits. This year, nearly 3,000 members made the trip to San Antonio, Texas.

Insider knowledge:

Loughlin Cleary, MRO, on ICBA’s best benefits

“The Travelers dividend can often pay for the entire ICBA member dues check.”
—Loughlin Cleary, ICBA

ICBA maintains member relationship officers (MROs) who travel to community banks across the US to help their businesses thrive. MROs provide a listening ear and deep knowledge of ICBA’s myriad member benefits. We asked Northeast region MRO Loughlin Cleary to talk about a few of his favorite benefits.

IB: Part of your role as an MRO is to be a consultant to community bank members. Can you describe what this entails?
What I try to do, either with a prospect or a member bank, is look at all publicly available information before I go in and have a meeting with them. That includes looking at their website, seeing what kind of product offerings they have and what they don’t have. Beyond that, I dig into their numbers to see how they are performing and where there are areas of performance that could use enhancement, or things that can be augmented, so I can get a better picture of where they are. With that information, I can go in and ask the right questions and then offer them the products we have that could work for their bank. I can go in and lay out our whole portfolio of solutions, from insurance to technology, and let them know about all the partners we work with as well.

IB: Which one ICBA benefit would you tell a potential new member about?
One of our longest-running partners is the Travelers insurance program. A lot of ICBA members will get enrolled in the dividend platform, and that [dividend] can often pay for the entire ICBA member dues check.

IB: What are the most popular benefits?
Every bank is a little different, so things that resonate and make sense for one bank may not for another. However, the ones that are the most popular are our payments solutions, the Travelers insurance program and our endorsed solutions with our core providers. Our small-business lending solutions for banks are starting to become popular, too.

IB: Any lesser-known benefits community banks should know about?
Cleary: One unsung benefit would be the education we offer. Community Banker University does a tremendous job, and the people there are great. Our product offerings are just tremendous, since it really goes from teller all the way up to bank director.
—Sara Schlueter

Hard numbers

ICBA members that participate in one or more ICBA Services Network programs perform better than community banks that don’t:
+26%-Average return on assets
+45%-Average return on equity

Standing up on the Hill—ICBA members often testify to Congress about the impact of legislation on community banks. Right: ICBA chairman Scott Heitkamp testifies in March.

ICBA membership gives you a voice in Washington
Federal policies are shaped by clear and consistent grassroots advocacy. ICBA’s Be Heard is a suite of industry advocacy tools for community bankers, from a step-by-step guide to developing relationships with legislators to a digital library of sample letters to Congress and regulators. Be Heard also invites members to amplify their collective voice by participating in Action Alerts on specific pieces of legislation. In addition, ICBA’s nonpartisan, federal political action committee, ICBPAC, contributes to industry-supportive federal candidates and committees, donating $1.9 million to more than 300 federal candidates and committees in the 2015–16 election cycle.

ICBA membership gets you into all the best events ICBA Community Banking LIVE
is the biggest industry event of the year. The 2017 convention, held in San Antonio, featured everything from displays of cutting-edge banking technology to a puppy corner. Don’t miss next year’s event, to be held March 13–17 among the glittering lights of Las Vegas.

The Capital Summit is all about power—the power of community bankers to make an impact on financial legislation. The 2017 event, held in Washington, D.C., in late April and early May, welcomed more than 1,000 community bankers, 100 of whom were invited to the White House for a meeting with President Donald Trump focused on regulatory relief. The summit also included ICBA’s first-ever Future of Banking Symposium, which brought forward-thinking speakers to the stage to arm community bankers with key insights into their fast-changing industry. icba.org/capitalsummit

The LEAD FWD Summit is a two-day, expert-guided deep dive into the challenges facing community banks, from compliance to banking forensics. Attendees collaborate with speakers and each other to brainstorm the desired future of community banking in the US, and receive 14.5 CPE credits. icba.org/leadfwd

Collective influence

“Without ICBA’s consolidated power, we really don’t have a voice. With an incredible amount of hard work and leadership from Cam Fine and the staff at ICBA, Washington and the regulators do pay attention.

“I’m very proud of the community banking industry. From my experience as a past ICBA chairman, I know thousands of community bankers. They are honest, they have integrity and they are trying to do good things, and they are working very hard for their banks and their customers. They are true America.”

—Sal Marranca, who was ICBA chairman from 2011 to 2012, is chairman of the board and former president/CEO of Cattaraugus County Bank in Little Valley, N.Y.

ICBA membership offers powerful tools for growth

1 Community Bank Locator
Community Bank Locator
This nifty tool gets pride of place on the ICBA website and is one of the best ways potential customers can find your community bank, beyond spotting you on the drive to work. Only ICBA members appear on the search results, giving you a leg up on the competition. icba.org/golocal

2 Social Media Monitor
Reputation is everything. ICBA’s Social Media Monitor scours blogs, social media and news websites for mentions of your community bank’s name and your leadership team and sends an alert when it gets a hit. By knowing who’s saying what about your bank, you can build stronger relationships with advocates and spot customer service issues more quickly. icba.socialassurance.com

3 Compliance Vault
Ease the regulatory burden with ICBA’s Compliance Vault. This web-based resource contains 1,500 compliance Q&As, eLearning courses and compliance-related documents. Contributors include Community Banker University instructors, industry compliance experts, regulatory agencies and ICBA staff members. icba.org/compliancevault

Andrea Lahouze is deputy editor of Independent Banker.