Rebeca Romero Rainey: The spirit of innovation

Rebeca Romero Rainey
Photo by Robert Severi

A spirit of innovation and can-do attitude will serve you well this year, helping you remain ahead of the curve and address issues that arise.

“Dream big. Start small. But most of all, start.” This sage advice from best-selling author Simon Sinek is the motivation we need to navigate the new normal of this new year.

With the aftereffects of the pandemic still at hand, community banks are facing an unparalleled level of uncertainty. This is not just another year. We’re confronting historic margin compression, fee income attacks, employee recruitment challenges and the list goes on.

But as community bankers, we rise to the challenge by taking the next step forward. As the leaders of our organizations, what we do drives the path ahead. And as we prioritize where to start, we recognize that it’s not about being on the bleeding edge. Rather, it’s about focusing on what we can do to better guide our organization in these new and different times.

What you need to know

I’ll be kicking off the fourth year of ICBA’s ThinkTECH Accelerator, based at The Venture Center in Little Rock, Ark.

For instance, consider the partnerships that arose during the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Almost overnight, community banks nationwide launched new fintech relationships to meet the needs of their communities. From document collection to forgiveness tracking, you were able to think outside the box to find the solutions that spoke to your bank’s internal infrastructure and customer-facing offerings. That spirit of innovation and can-do attitude will serve you well this year, helping you remain ahead of the curve and address issues that arise.

And you’re not in this alone. We are a community of community bankers, and we lean on one another. Whether it’s amplifying community bank voices on Capitol Hill or providing insights into what’s coming next, ICBA will be by your side to support you in education, advocacy, innovation and beyond. Our commitment to you remains steadfast as you navigate these times, and we invite you to engage on new levels with us and to explore the power of the shared community bank story.

Because when we come together, we are stronger than when we are apart. Collectively, we brainstorm what’s next, determine how to tackle problems in our path and lead. From our shared vision grows an infectious enthusiasm that inspires us all to excel.

This year is about forward momentum. So, let’s explore new ways to connect ourselves and our teams with colleagues and expand our spheres of influence. Sign up for ICBA LIVE, spend a day at the ThinkTECH Accelerator, enhance skill sets through Community Banker University or connect with colleagues at a state banking convention. No matter what we choose, let’s make sure we take the steps to set our dreams in motion.


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