Rebeca Romero Rainey: Cornerstones of the community

Rebeca Romero Rainey

“As the cornerstones of the community, community bankers offer a light in the darkness of hard times.”

September traditionally acts as “back to school” month, where, after the slower-paced dog days of summer, we settle back into our normal routines. The same holds true this year, though the image of what constitutes normal in 2020 looks incredibly different than it has previously.
As we enter this new season, I hold out hope for what is to come. Bolstered by the unfailing dedication of community banks, our communities will continue to weather the storm. In response to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, community bankers will continue to unfailingly support and lift up our nation’s communities. Our role is to ensure their connectedness and long-term success.

That’s precisely because the core of the community bank business model revolves around serving our communities. An ecosystem exists where, for the community bank to be successful, the community it serves must be as well. So, there’s a beautiful, symbiotic relationship that plays out where the work community banks do enriches the community, and the community’s achievements enhance the bank’s impact.

What you need to know

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Over this month and next, ICBA is convening various leadership groups to prepare for our collective future in this new normal. From the virtual LEAD FWD Summit this month to the Directors Conference in October, we are setting the tone at the top.

That’s why this month’s National Community Bank Service Awards highlight the work of all community banks to lift up their communities during this time. This issue features many good deeds that exemplify the spirit of the community banker and the true power we have to make positive change in the communities we serve. Working together, hand in hand with our communities, community bankers make a difference.

So, as we close out the third quarter of the year and begin a more intense focus on 2021 planning, I encourage each of you to explore where we go from here. How do we take this commitment to service and extend it in our communities? How can we address rebuilding from the effects of COVID-19? How can we be a positive force in diversity and inclusion; both in having the conversation and in everyday actions? How do we support our communities in new ways?

These are heavy questions, but ones we will work through together to achieve a better outcome. Because as the cornerstones of the community, community bankers offer a light in the darkness of hard times. We are the community leaders who can foster a commitment to service in others around us. We can help chart the future by increasing resiliency and strength within our communities and building a stronger, more connected world—one community at a time.

I see community banks leading recovery efforts and forging a path where we grow, learn and evolve together, becoming stronger as communities every step of the way. I think that’s a picture of a new normal that we can look forward to painting.

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