Rebeca Romero Rainey: Lead with purpose

Rebeca Romero Rainey
Photo by Robert Severi

Our approach to service is not about checking something off the list for today. It’s about making incremental positive change over time.

In today’s world, it’s more important than ever for businesses to lead with purpose.

Consumers are demanding it from the companies with which they do business—so much so that in its Retail Trends 2021 list, Deloitte said it expects purpose to be as disruptive in the next 10 years as digital has been in the past 10. Other research supports this statement: Brands recognized for high commitment to purpose have grown at more than twice the rate of others.

Thankfully, community banks have been way ahead of this trend, having clarity of purpose from the moment we came into existence. We are here to serve our communities.

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What you need to know

The ICBA Connect TRENDS event on May 12–13 will help you distinguish evolving industry developments from temporary shifts. We hope you’ll join us at this event to hear from industry experts, learn about tools and solutions, and meet one on one with providers.

When I think of service as core to the community bank business model, I realize that relationship and service work hand in hand to set the tone for our banks’ cultures. In our service-oriented environments, our constituents—community, customers and employees—are the basis for all decisions we make. And their symbiotic relationship ultimately drives community bank performance. For example, if employees are being served in a strong environment and feel a connection to the bank’s mission and purpose, they are able to do more for their customers and communities.

The word “service” can be a noun, adjective or a verb, but to community banks, it’s all about the action. We roll up our sleeves, engage and work to serve. As fresh stories emerge about the efforts of community banks to support the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), we’re hearing a consistent theme, one that involves proactive outreach from community bankers. In story after story, small businesses are sharing that community bankers reached out to them to determine if a PPP loan would be helpful. Community banks didn’t wait to see if their small business customers needed this support; they reached out to help. And that, in a nutshell, is the essence of our model and what makes community banks unique in the industry.

As we peruse this month’s Best-Performing Banks issue, we see stories that demonstrate the connection between top financial performance and commitment to our community-based mission. We see evidence that our approach to service is not about checking something off the list for today. It’s about making incremental positive change over time. That’s because community banks make an investment in the future and make decisions to support relationship growth over the long haul. And the more we can continue to do that, the more successful we’ll all be.

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