Rebeca Romero Rainey: ICBA’s fintech partnership

“Innovation will be the key to sustaining and growing our businesses.”

Here at ICBA, we’re in full innovation mode, so it’s only appropriate that this issue be dedicated to technology.

This year, you’ve probably heard me say that ICBA is focused on three pillars: community bank advocacy, education and innovation. In particular, innovation will be the key to sustaining and growing our businesses.

As I put on three hats—consumer, community banker, and ICBA president and CEO (in no particular order)—I see three specific opportunities for innovation.

As a consumer, I welcome innovation because, for the most part, I know it will bring convenience, ideally saving me time and money. As a community banker, innovation excites me because it provides new opportunities to continually enhance how we serve our customers. Finally, as ICBA president and CEO, I know innovation gives the community banking industry a great opportunity to tailor our products, services and solutions to meet and exceed customers’ expectations. And we’ll do all of this while continuing to provide the relationship banking experience and local focus that our customers expect.

Where I’ll be this month

Most of my time will be spent in ICBA’s D.C. office, working with staff, meeting with policymakers and seeing community bankers at our Breaking Barriers event.

To help community bankers achieve this, ICBA recently partnered with The Venture Center to launch the ThinkTech Accelerator: the first community bank-focused fintech accelerator.

This means you and your team will have direct access to early-stage fintech companies that focus exclusively on community bank product development. They will be mentored and eventually vetted by community bankers, so they’ll get to know community banks’ wants and needs. Themes for the ThinkTech Accelerator include next-generation lending, AI and machine learning, blockchain, payments, advanced analytics and big data, regulatory compliance tools, cybersecurity, authentication and streamlining the customer experience.

Exciting, right? Speaking of exciting, ICBA is investing in the accelerator finalists, so we have a major stake in finding the right fit for community banks. The finalists will present their solutions at the ThinkTech showcase at ICBA Community Banking LIVE 2019 in Nashville, Tenn., March 18-22, so you’ll have an early opportunity to work with them. I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table. I know the consumer, community banker and leader in me is looking forward to everything this partnership will bring to startup entrepreneurs, community banks and, ultimately, the customers and communities we serve.

Rebeca Romero Rainey President and CEO, ICBA
Connect with Rebeca @romerorainey