Annual Convention: What’s Your Game Plan?

Last week the Indiana Bankers Association hosted its Annual Convention in beautiful French Lick. Over 500 bankers, service providers and guests came together for this successful event, themed “What’s Your Game Plan?” The convention is designed specifically to facilitate opportunities for attendees to network, explore the exhibit hall for innovative products and services, and learn about new ideas or products from the outstanding speakers who made presentations.

The meeting was virtually the “who’s who” of the Indiana banking scene. Bankers in attendance benefited from the insights of Board Vice Chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America Jack Hartings, who also is president and CEO of The Peoples Bank Company, Coldwater, Ohio, and Board Vice Chairman of the American Bankers Association Dan Blanton, who additionally serves as CEO of Georgia Bank & Trust, Augusta, Georgia, who brought the latest news on their respective organizations to the attendees. The audience had no shortage of questions for both of them, covering everything from cybersecurity issues to credit union taxation to regulatory burden and more. These polished gentlemen certainly represented their national organizations well.

While there were several professional speakers who regularly travel the banking circuit, there were a couple of unique presentations. First was a presentation by Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., who introduced research regarding establishing regional cities throughout Indiana, primarily to accomplish economic development that benefits wider areas than current city/county efforts being used. Mr. Doden explained how the research was conducted and highlighted some interesting results. The study, which was recommended by Gov. Mike Pence and approved by the 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly, was due last week on Oct. 1. Eric’s presentation to the IBA convention delegates certainly was timely, since it was delivered on Sept. 29!

The other unique presentation was by Dr. Ruby Payne, founder and owner of aha Process!, a company which produces research and support material in Dr. Payne’s committed effort to reverse the increasing trend of generational poverty. Her spellbinding presentation was the talk of the convention. Who better to understand the devastating results of poverty, not only on those experiencing it, but to the community at large, than banking professionals? Ruby’s research over many years includes projections that show the multiplier effect of the growing reach of generational poverty. The thrust of her presentation, however, is that there is hope through her Bridges Out of Poverty program, designed to reverse this trend. The program already is being utilized to some degree in some Hoosier communities, with a couple of Indiana banks providing instrumental support. Following Ruby’s presentation, she sat on a panel presentation, along with Home Bank, Martinsville, President and CEO Dan Moore and COO Lisa Arnold, as well as community representatives who have been working with the program. The insights presented were inspiring. IBA is working with Ruby Payne and her team to develop a banker initiated and led effort to establish her program throughout the state.

Current IBA Chairman Dave Heeter, CEO of MutualBank, Muncie, was appropriately recognized for his successful year, and he spoke eloquently about the importance and success of IBA. Chairman-elect Larry Myers, president and CEO of First Savings Bank, FSB, Clarksville, spoke with passion about his goals for the coming year. There is little doubt that Mr. Myers will continue the lengthy string of outstanding IBA leaders. IBA appreciates and thanks all who participated in the 2014 Annual Convention, and we look forward to even more success in 2015.

– S. Joe DeHaven

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