Noah Wilcox: Facing challenges head on

Noah Wilcox

“Community banks will strengthen our position at the center of the financial services industry. That’s the power of your membership at work.”

There are no two ways about it: We’ve been through a lot in 2020. This year has proven to be one of the most difficult on the books. It’s made me thankful for my ICBA membership as I work to navigate this new terrain.

In fact, membership has never been more critical than during this pandemic. We’ve all weathered calamities in the past and made it through uncertain times, but in the history of our businesses, we’ve never been in waters as uncharted as these. We’re in a time where what’s next is changing by the minute, and the sheer volume of new data to digest is mindboggling.

Just look at the early Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The regulatory agencies issued guidance literally by the hour—sometimes conflicting with each other. At the same time, we were trying to run our businesses, take care of staff during a pandemic and navigate opportunities for our customers. With new information being thrown at us on a continuous basis, it made for a near-impossible feat.

My Top Three

We can all use a little more music in our lives right now. If you know me, you know I’m a huge Bob Dylan fan.
So, please enjoy my three favorite songs:

  1. “Visions of Johanna”
  2. “Tangled Up in Blue”
  3. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”

That’s where ICBA stepped in. The organization has been able to take everything that was flying at us at 100 miles per hour and put it into a CliffsNotes version. The ICBA team has helped community bankers focus on what we really need to know so we can pivot, adjust and move forward. In addition, they have brought bankers together virtually to share experiences and help one another, and that connection has been invaluable in identifying concrete solutions for PPP issues.

Though the PPP has closed, the ongoing pandemic means we’re not back to business as usual. And as guidance continues to shift, ICBA persists in working for community bankers like you. We’ve been in virtual meetings with the Trump administration. We’ve shared our opinions with lawmakers through letters and statements. We’ve issued press releases and spent countless hours with reporters. And, through ICBA’s Be Heard grassroots action center (, we’ve empowered you to add your bank’s voice to the chorus.

As ICBA chairman, I am responsible for serving not just my community bank, but all of yours, too. So, in partnership with the ICBA board of directors and staff, I will continue to fight for what we need now and into the future, and we will identify ways for the association to respond to those needs.

Mark my words: As the world gains its footing and becomes more certain again, community banks will strengthen our position at the center of the financial services industry. That’s the power of your membership at work.

Noah W. Wilcox, Chairman, ICBA
Noah Wilcox is president, CEO and chairman of Grand Rapids State Bank and its holding company, Wilcox Bancshares Inc., Grand Rapids, Minn.
Connect with Noah @NWWilcox