Rebeca Romero Rainey: Tell your incredible story

“You’ve got an incredible story to tell, and ICBA is honored to help you tell it.”

Community Banking Month holds a special place in my heart. It began early in my career at Centinel Bank of Taos. Every April, I would visit local elementary schools to speak about community banking. And let me tell you, talking to a group of 8-year-olds is a lot more intimidating than speaking to a convention hall of colleagues!

To keep their attention and make community banking relevant, I had to get creative. So, we did a little role-playing. I would bring in enough Susan B. Anthony coins for every child in the class, and I would have each of them place the coin in the middle of the room. We would go around and talk about how we could use that money as a community investment. Each child would share ideas about businesses to start, homes to build, college funds to launch and ways to benefit the community. Then, collectively, we would decide on the best investment for our resources and why.

Beyond the basics, the beauty of this activity was that it instilled in the students the core concept of community banking: We support the communities we serve. We make collective investments in helping our neighbors achieve their goals. For us, it’s about pooling resources to make dreams come true, and I loved that these kids were connecting with that message.

Tell your bank’s story

No matter where you are, take a moment this month to share what makes your community bank great. Craft your message using the ICBA Marketing & Communications Toolkit, found at

The same story that resonated with second graders needs to be told far and wide. People of all ages should understand what separates community banks from other financial institutions. They should know that we offer so much more to the neighborhoods we serve.

To help you get that message out, we’ve updated the Marketing & Communications Toolkit. This valuable ICBA member-only tool is designed to help you leverage local media, along with traditional and digital marketing channels, to tell your story.

In addition, we launched a consumer-facing video that highlights the value that community banks bring to their customers and communities through mortgage and small business lending, along with financial literacy and civic service. These resources can complement your existing promotional efforts.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg! One of our initiatives over the next few years will be to address how American consumers see us. We’re working on activities to convey the benefits of choosing a community bank, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months. Because you’ve got an incredible story to tell, and ICBA is honored to help you tell it.

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