Robert Fisher: The journey ahead

Robert Fisher, Chairman ICBA
Photo by Heather Esposito

From new competition and new technology to new regulation, we have adapted and continued to offer the relationship-centric experience that our communities, customers and missions depend on.

I was recently reminded of this quote from Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau: “The pace of change is faster than it’s ever been, but it’s never going to be this slow again.” He made those remarks four years ago at the World Economic Forum, but never have they felt truer.

In our industry, the only constant is change. We have had a significant evolution in financial services over the past decade. From new competition and new technology to new regulation, we have adapted and continued to offer the relationship-centric experience that our communities, customers and missions depend on.

My Top Three

Here are my top 3 ways to stay connected with your teams during this time of change:

  1. Walk around the office and talk to them.
  2. Take them to breakfast or lunch, or hold a virtual event.
  3. Communicate,
    communicate,
    communicate.

But we haven’t done it alone. Newfound partnerships have allowed us to excel and rise to the challenge. For example, we have witnessed significant growth in the number of technology providers who want to offer solutions to community banks, and ICBA’s ThinkTECH Accelerator has played a major role in making that happen.

As a member of the Selection Committee, I have witnessed firsthand all that goes into finding the right companies to support our unique needs. The ICBA team has sifted through hundreds of applications to narrow the candidates to the select few invited to share a full pitch. And we heard hours of pitches to whittle it down to this year’s 11 companies. It was an inspiring process that exposes us to nontraditional, nonlinear thinking, and it provides insights on new ways to address friction points for our banks.

This year, we selected solutions that will help community banks excel in today’s environment. We emphasized companies that offered revenue-generating ideas, back-office efficiencies or an enhanced customer experience. While not every solution will be directly relevant to every bank, we looked for those solutions that speak to the greater good of community banks.

So, as you read this month’s issue and prepare for ICBA LIVE, I hope you will take a little time to learn more about fintech collaborations and the companies in this year’s accelerator cohort. They will be presenting at the ThinkTECH Showcase during LIVE, so you can attend and hear firsthand about what they offer and how their solutions can support your bank. You can also sign up at icba.org/accelerator to participate virtually.

In today’s rapid-fire environment, having fintechs in our corner can help us navigate what’s next. Amid all this change, we’ve got to keep moving forward, and having the right technology partners on the journey will help us better prepare for what lies ahead.


Robert Fisher Chairman, ICBA
Robert Fisher is president, CEO and chairman of Tioga State Bank in Spencer, N.Y.
Connect with Robert @RobertMFisher