Ushering in a New Generation of Banking Leaders

Golf history was made last weekend, when 21-year-old Jordan Spieth won the 2015 Masters Tournament. The young phenom set numerous Masters records for this year’s event. His poise and composure far exceed the maturity expected of most his age. It certainly is refreshing to see such a mature young role model in the making.

I have written many columns bemoaning the fact that there is a leadership dearth among bankers, not just in Indiana, but throughout the country. There are many logical and compelling reasons that this situation had occurred. Recently, however, I have been encouraged, as many intelligent, mature young bankers are poised to take over the reins of banks throughout Indiana. These young professionals are rising through the ranks in both family-owned and non-family-owned institutions.

I am now confident that the Indiana community banking industry is well-situated for the next 30 years, though I would not have made this statement just a couple of years ago. Many of the young bankers I have met are becoming increasingly involved in Indiana Bankers Association committees and boards. They participate in IBA educational opportunities and aid our grassroots advocacy through government relations initiatives.

While most of these young people are in their 30s, as opposed to Mr. Spieth in his 20s, they are no less talented for their age in the business of banking. While banking has long been a bastion for the “pale, male and stale,” this scenario is rapidly changing. Banking, like other segments of the business community, is embracing diversity industry-wide, as reflected in upcoming leadership. It is a joy to me to witness, particularly since many of our financial institutions are far older than the 79-year-old Masters Tournament.

To keep pace with these positive changes, IBA has been refreshing the face of our Future Leadership Division (FLD) during the last year and a half. Membership has more than doubled, as programming has been expanded in quantity, quality and breadth. Many of our newest FLD members are in their 20s, eager and hungry to learn. Despite allegations that millennials want to run the company today, that is not what we are seeing. These young professionals understand that they have much to learn before they can lead a business. They are smart, hard-working and determined. They value personal time and success equally with career aspirations. And their comfort with technology is off the charts, because they grew up with it.

Much as Jordan Spieth is ushering in the next generation of golf greats, the young bankers that I have met in the past couple of years are ushering in a new generation of banking leaders. I am pleased that the IBA can play a part in their career development, and touched that these young people appreciate the value that IBA brings to their banks. IBA has its own stable of talented young people who will be working hand-in-hand with these young bankers over the next 30 years to keep our industry strong.

– S. Joe DeHaven

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