map pin icon

Where I’ll be
this month

I’ll be at ICBA board meetings and then heading to the Independent Community Bankers Association of New Mexico Annual Meeting—an opportunity to get back to my home state and reconnect with my New Mexico family of community bankers.

When you enter ICBA’s headquarters, you are greeted with a large U.S. map that contains a peg for each community bank and a singular cord linking them all together. It not only demonstrates our collective impact; it also represents the strength of our financial system, built on thousands of local economies around the country and fueled by community banks.

Much more than surface-level connections, community bank relationships run deep. With detailed knowledge of the communities in which they live, play and work, community bankers make informed decisions using insights beyond standard credit models.

Consider a new small business that doesn’t make sense on paper but that you, as a financial steward of that community, know meets a community need or will be in demand. This type of insight can only be derived from being part of the community—not thousands of miles away in some ivory lending tower. That sense of presence, of connectedness, makes all the difference.

Recently, Dave Fishwick, whose story was featured in the movie, The Bank of Dave, spoke at our Capital Summit. His message was a reminder of how unique our model is outside of America’s borders, how paramount it is that we defend it with fervor and how important the work we do to protect relationship banking is. It’s the foundation of everything we do!

Community banks need to flourish so we can continue to fight for the little guy and stand up for what matters in our communities. We need to be there, so our customers have access to the financial services they need when they need them most.

The current environment threatens this paradigm. One-size-fits-all regulations don’t support our efforts. An uneven playing field puts us at a disadvantage. Mounting and constricting regulations hinder our ability to tailor our offerings. And the taxpayer-subsidized acquisition of taxpaying community banks further diminishes our numbers, while stripping away a vital community tie.

Now, more than ever, as we think about the impact of our banks, we need to stand up and fight. We can’t take our independence for granted, and independence requires action. It’s up to us to amplify our voices far and wide and make sure the leaders of this nation pay attention.

So, as you celebrate Independence Day, I hope you take time to revel in the role you play in our country’s financial wellness and recommit to your independence. Because it’s bankers like you who are making the country better, one community at a time. Have a happy Fourth of July!