Providing continuing educational opportunities to the members of the Indiana Bankers Association goes hand-in-hand with our state government relations efforts in helping us to fulfill our mission: “To advocate for and sustain an environment in which banks can succeed.” Every survey of bankers in Indiana within the past 20 years shows that both education and government relations are the most compelling reasons for IBA membership. Your staff at the IBA takes these responsibilities very seriously. Generally this blog addresses advocacy issues, but today we focus on education. I am pleased to report that the IBA provides about 600 educational programs per year ‒ more than any other state bankers association in the country.
These 600 programs include about 400 webinars and 200 seminars, schools, forums, conferences and series. We have four and a half staff members devoted exclusively to providing this high-demand service. The cornerstone of these offerings is the IBA Mega Conference. This yearly event, held in addition to the IBA Annual Convention, was developed by IBA staff and first offered in 1992. Today, 25 years later, Mega has grown to become bigger and more comprehensive than any other event offered by a single state bank trade association nationwide. Other states have tried to copy the IBA Mega Conference, but none have met with the success that Indiana has experienced.
The 2016 Mega Conference is taking place today and tomorrow. More than 1,300 people are registered, 86 companies have purchased booth spaces, and yesterday 120 people enjoyed golf at the beautiful and unique Brickyard Crossing Golf Course. Each year at Mega, tracks of general topic areas are selected, with four specific sessions included within each track. The tracks for this year are Directors, Human Resources, Retail Banking, Risk Management, Sales & Customer Service, Trust, Business Lending, Compliance, Financial Management, Marketing, Operations & Technology, and Strategic Thinking. Add in outstanding keynote speakers, the excellent trade show and a couple of receptions ‒ plus our after-hours hospitality suite ‒ and you have the makings of Mega success.
Putting all of those ingredients together, however, is the secret to the success of this event. We seek a wide range of input from bankers, speakers and advisers to help us address relevant topics in order to maximize the value for our attendees. Having offered the IBA Mega Conference for 25 years, we have been continually honing it into the hallmark event that it is today.
As I visit with bankers from across the country about the future needs of the industry, I continue to hear that education and government relations will be increasingly important for bank trade associations to address. The IBA is well positioned to be able to provide these services well into the foreseeable future. We are financially sound, we have an expert staff, and we have a membership of dedicated and engaged bankers.
That said, we are always open to and looking for ways to improve on our menu of services, including the IBA Mega Conference. Please let us know how we are doing. As our values statement indicates, we “remain mindful that the success of the IBA is judged by the success of its members.”
– S. Joe DeHaven