One of our greatest assets is our reputation as relationship bankers. When the going gets tough, people want to be able to talk to their banker.
I’ve always been a glass-half-full guy, and while 2023 is expected to be a challenging economic year, it also brings opportunity. We just have to remember what makes us special as community bankers, and with that as our foundation, we can embrace this season of change in four main ways:
1. Demonstrate the community bank difference.
One of our greatest assets is our reputation as relationship bankers. When the going gets tough, people want to be able to talk to their banker. They want to walk into the bank and say, “We need your support to figure things out.” With community bankers by their side, they have a real connection to someone who can help them solve their problems, and we can find creative solutions to work with them through difficult times. That’s the community bank difference, and we should be proud to reiterate it throughout the year.
2. Get wins on defense.
Community bankers have proven to be vocal advocates for numerous issues facing our industry, including promoting a safe harbor for cannabis banking, closing the loophole for industrial loan companies, opposing an extension of Amendment restrictions Durbin to credit cards and shape the debate on the regulation of crypto assets. . I encourage you to join us and lend your voice in support of these and other advocacy efforts, which will shape the political landscape.
my top three
Priorities for a successful 2023
- Advocacy: Involve all employees
- Innovation: Implement new digital solutions.
- Education: Commit to Community Bank-Focused Training for Next Generation Leaders
3. Embrace innovative offerings.
Technology is a primary focus, because we have to be prepared to live where our customers live: on their phones. This growing emphasis on digital solutions is why ICBA brought all ThinkTECH programming, including Accelerator, in-house to ensure year-round support for community banks. ThinkTECH companies help us better serve our customers, expand our presence to a more diverse customer base, and create better service adoption through technology.
4. Unite with other community bankers.
I am a great advocate of the power of many in advancing the goals and objectives of community banks. There is nothing more impressive than summoning community bankers with a single mission focus. This year, coming together for ICBA LIVE in Hawaii and bringing our collective forces to Washington in the spring to advocate for our priorities will help ensure community banks continue to thrive.
While no one can predict how the year will go, I know that if we stay true to who we are as community bankers, we will pull through. And that is why I look forward to all that we will collectively accomplish in 2023.
Brad Bolton, ICBA President
Brad Bolton is president and CEO of Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, Alabama.
Connect with Brad @BradMBonton
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