Preston Kennedy: You can’t afford not to be a member

“The value of ICBA membership extends beyond dollars and cents.”

Over my 40-plus years as a community banker, I have developed countless budgets, and they still come down to this fundamental principle: We must efficiently allocate our limited resources.

Take ICBA membership. When I first became the CEO of a community bank 25 years ago, I had our investment portfolio dropped into my lap. Outside of a course I took at banking school, I knew little about bank investments, so I quickly became acquainted with ICBA Securities. I knew it was governed by community bankers, which gave me comfort. And when I reached out, they didn’t “sell” to me—they educated me. It was that positive experience that sparked my involvement in ICBA and led me to where I am today.

My Top Three

Here are ICBA’s most memorable advocacy victories:

  1. Defeat of Walmart’s Industrial Loan Charter (ILC) application
  2. Changes to FDIC premium assessment calculations
  3. Passage of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S.2155)

The tangible value of ICBA membership extends to the many advocacy initiatives that continue to bear fruit. From the ongoing implementation of S.2155 to the Fed’s community banking seat, our collective voice generates positive gains that help lessen our regulatory burdens and directly benefit us and the communities we serve. Further, ICBA gives us resources to advance our advocacy goals, such as the Be Heard grassroots action center and annual Capital Summit.

Yet, our regulatory environment remains complex, and ICBA’s Compliance Vault helps us navigate it. This searchable database allows us to drill down on specific regulations. Having that type of recall on our desktops saves hours of research, and it’s now a free member benefit.

But the value of ICBA membership extends beyond dollars and cents. As we look to the future of our banks and of our industry, we must invest in the next generation of leaders. The LEAD FWD Summit, set for this month in New Orleans, allows us to do just that by giving attendees the knowledge they need to become better leaders.

And leadership in today’s environment means innovation. That’s why ICBA is again partnering with The Venture Center for the second ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator, which helps community banks partner with early stage fintechs. Meanwhile, the ICBA ThinkTECH Network provides anytime access to an online database of fintechs geared toward community banks.

No matter how you look at it, the benefits we receive in banding together as an organization of community banks far exceed the costs of ICBA membership. Together, our voices are amplified, and we’re able to achieve goals that benefit community banking now and into the future.

The way I see it, you can’t afford not to be a member.

Preston Kennedy, Chairman, ICBA
Preston Kennedy is president and CEO of Zachary Bancshares Inc. in Zachary, La.
Connect with Pres @BankPres