Guest blog by Laura Wilson, IBA Vice President-Communications
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving – a day to give pause, give praise and give thanks. Like many of us, my gratitude list is too lengthy to share in a single writing, but the short version is that I am thankful for family, friends and meaningful employment … “meaningful,” in that the people I work with are committed professionals, passionate about their communities.
I joined the Indiana Bankers Association 27 years ago as associate editor of Hoosier Banker. One lesson I learned early on is that banking is, above all, a people business. A bank president shared that insight with me, and I was surprised at the time, because I had viewed banking as a purely transactional “numbers” business. By now, of course, after years of working with community-minded bankers, I see banking as so much more.
I see banking as the industry that makes all others possible. Any business endeavor, whether in the for-profit or nonprofit sector, needs capital, which the banking community is able to provide. Banks additionally support industry through guidance and advice to fledgling and growing businesses. Many an entrepreneur saw a dream become reality through bank assistance.
Banking also is the industry that, more than any other, helps build better communities. Banks are in the unique position to provide a mixture of fiscal support, leadership skills and hands-on volunteering. When I interview bank leaders for Hoosier Banker magazine, a common refrain is that their greatest satisfaction comes from helping others. Their eyes light up and their voices lift as they describe the joy of assisting a young couple, eager to become homeowners; or of driving by an industrial building, knowing that the bank helped a local business to grow; or of witnessing the good that comes from caring bank staff who donate time and talent to every community cause imaginable.
One example of bank support of community is the “Bridges out of Poverty” project, currently being implemented in Morgan County by Home Bank, Martinsville, and other area organizations. The Bridges out of Poverty concept takes a long-term approach to alleviating poverty, a topic of huge impact for the banking industry. Because of its wide-scale potential, the IBA has been introducing Bridges out of Poverty to Indiana bank leaders and to regional state bank trade associations. Certainly, if anyone has the right blend of compassion and intellect needed to effect solutions to poverty, it is banking professionals.
If in any small way, as an IBA staff member, I can stake some claim to being part of the Indiana banking community, I am thankful. And may Thanksgiving Day 2014 be safe and happy for all of us, as we reflect on family, friends and life’s many blessings.