State Bankers Associations: Committed to the Banking Industry

Last week I participated in a meeting in Portland, Oregon, of about 20 of my counterparts from throughout the country to discuss issues we face in leading small-staff state bankers associations (SBAs). The Indiana Bankers Association, with a staff of 15, was one of the largest associations represented at the meeting. As with any other business, leaders of SBAs deal with a thousand details to be accomplished daily. Many of us are blessed with talented and long-tenured staff – certainly the case at the IBA – which makes the task much easier.

Like some of our member bank leaders, several SBA executives will be retiring within the next five years. Some of our discussion centered on the preparedness of each association regarding succession planning. Within the past couple of years, there have been some retirements among SBA leaders, and I have been impressed with the successors who have been selected to advance the missions of these associations. IBA also has a succession plan in place, reviewed and updated regularly by our executive committee.

Whether having served long-term or for a brief time, each SBA executive is deeply committed to the betterment of the business of banking. We share our successes, both individually and as a group, so that we can each make the environment better for our members. We all appreciate and understand the significance of the business of banking to the entire economic, social, educational and governmental environments. Our bank members fund the financial might of the United States. Our members are leaders in their respective communities, and we who represent them are proud of their contributions. We take pride in knowing that we help each of these banks to fulfill their missions of improving the economic atmosphere of the communities they serve.

We also share industry-wide frustrations, particularly within the past few years, when the financial crisis changed our business forever. Some frustrations result from nefarious legislation, but most stem from poorly written regulations. As industry advocates, we work hard to navigate the maze-like legislative process to help promote sound laws. The regulations which result from those laws are intended to uphold legislative best intentions yet, all too often, misaligned regulations do more harm than good.

Regardless of how or why issues occur, it is always an honor to be on the side of those trying to better life for others. While the state bankers associations each seek the same results, at times we go about it very differently. The variation from state to state is surprising. Consequently, meetings like the one held in Oregon allow us to share collectively the ideas we generate individually within our organizations. That free sharing of ideas is at the root of the success that we enjoy on behalf of our members.

It was an honor to participate among such a dedicated and intelligent group of peers from throughout the country. I learned much from them and also shared a few ideas with them. As we return to our offices and put into place the ideas that were shared, we do so in anticipation of creating a stronger financial services industry for the benefit of the consumers and businesses that rely on its products and services.

– S. Joe DeHaven

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