April is community banking month, a perfect time to reflect on the value and importance of our industry.
In my role as chairman of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers (PACB), I am very interested in what our public officials, journalists, and consumers think about our industry and the words they use to describe a community bank. Descriptions involving words like “local,” “relationships,” and “small,” very often are the first that come to mind.
These all are true; however, I believe the definition is much broader.
Developing close relationships with our customers and giving back to the communities where we live and work are the hallmarks of our industry. Technology is allowing us to expand our reach. But it is our desire to know our customers and value their needs that sets our industry apart.
The millennial generation accounts for a large portion of today’s working population and is known for donating their time and giving back.
These traits fit perfectly with the ideologies of community banking since we pride ourselves on community involvement, relationships, and local lending (but with a twist).
As we grow our industry, we must abide by these core attributes.
In recent weeks, there has been a call by some policy makers and local leaders for public banks and other financial alternatives to support residents and small businesses in underserved communities.
Let’s broaden the community banking industry rather than replace it.
We always should help promote de novo bank formation in order to assist underserved communities and expand the industry.
We also need to continue to educate the banking industry on the risks of data intrusion and the safeguards necessary in this heavily (and often complicated) digital world.
Information Security is now one of the largest expenses on the income statement for anyone in the financial industry, and for good reason.
There are many new risks that arise daily and destroy the prosperity of the bank we put so much time and effort creating and building up.
Organizations like the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers (PACB) can alleviate threats like these by providing education on such subjects, as well as equipping our staff with resources to give them peace of mind.
PACB’s mission statement is “to promote the ideals of community banking by addressing the educational, legislative, and networking needs of our members.”
PACB has shown its value to the community banking industry in a multitude of ways since its inception. It is the only PA banking organization dedicated exclusively to community banks.
The organization has been instrumental in advocacy, training, and education solely for our industry. Its new leadership has fostered ideas to embrace professional collaboration, which brings value to this membership through resources like PACB Connect.
It has also taken great strides in offering relevant educational programs in key areas like information security, which is vital to keeping our organizations alive.
Along that line, I ask that you spend a few moments with our feature article this issue, which focuses on enhancing your bank’s security safeguards in today’s more online banking world.