While the final count is not yet tallied, it is likely that the 2013 Mega Conference, hosted by the Indiana Bankers Association, will again set records for attendance, booth spaces sold and gross revenue generated. This event is the largest of its kind in the country and also the largest event hosted by a single bank trade association. That is impressive by any measure, especially considering that the IBA is only about No. 20 to 25 in size range, compared to other states by gross revenue, number of member banks and number of employees.
The creation and honing of Mega into such a successful tradition is testament to the foresight and ability of IBA’s talented staff. The Mega Conference was created more than 20 years ago by Paul Freeman and is superbly managed today by Chris Bennett.
This achievement, though, is not isolated among our staff. Other success shows in the work of Laurie Rees and her team, who provide more educational programming than any other state bankers association nationwide. Additionally IBA generates the most education income per member. We closely monitor the content of our programs and the ratings of the presenters to ensure that we are offering the best of educational opportunities, presented by top-notch instructors.
IBA’s products-and-services area is so strong that it generates about one-fourth of our annual gross income. Rod Lasley is now tasked with growing this area of the Association even further. We have become sticklers for quality, conducting extensive due diligence on those entities that seek our endorsement or partnership. We are constantly exploring ways to use the IBA to deliver the products that otherwise would be difficult for a single bank to deliver. Years ago, one of my counterparts coined a motto: “Independence Through Interdependence.” It describes IBA in many ways, particularly in the products-and-services area.
Our communications department, run by Laura Wilson, features Hoosier Banker magazine as its cornerstone. I review 30 to 40 bank trade magazines each month and – while I am admittedly biased – I rate Hoosier Banker as the best. It focuses more on bankers than on banking, a subtle distinction from most of our peer publications. Complementing our magazine is our e-newsletter, IBA E-News, distributed weekly to keep members abreast of what is happening in their world.
In the government relations arena, IBA has enjoyed a great deal of success for the past several years. The culmination came this year, with a Financial Institutions Tax reduction; legislative agreement to pay back a loan of $50 million to the Public Deposit Insurance Fund (PDIF); reversion of PDIF income to remain in the fund; and codification as to expired mortgage rules changes being only prospective, not retrospective. Amber Van Til and Dax Denton are ranked among the best lobbyists – both in the Indiana Statehouse and among state bankers associations nationwide.
Mega success in Indiana is not something that we take for granted. Our talented and tenured staff work hard and smart to provide bankers with the tools, education and environment they need to succeed. In return, the Indiana banking community has been highly supportive of our efforts through Association engagement. Thank you for another successful Mega Conference and for the continued Mega success of your IBA!