Change is in the Air

From paBanker Magazine's Fall 2017 Edition: Volume 19.4

The leaves have begun to change in Pennsylvania, which means pumpkin spice lattés, the World Series and football have already begun to enter the commercial realm. To bankers, the change in season means that our fiscal year has only just begun. With three months of the 2017-18 fiscal year under our belt, it’s time to reflect on what we have accomplished thus far and where we want to be next year.

We started this fiscal year with the entrance of the 2017-18 PA Bankers Board of Directors. I would like to officially welcome Chair Joe Major, First Vice Chair Jim Dionise and Second Vice Chair T. Michael Price as our officers. I am excited for the vast knowledge, activism and enthusiasm that they will bring to the association, and I look forward to working with them to advance the association. 

Our 2017-18 board started its term with the annual PA Bankers Board of Directors Retreat on Aug. 13-15 in Cambridge, Md. The goal of this retreat each year is to take a step back and strategize on how we can make the association better for our members, their customers and the industry. At the retreat, the board reviewed the association’s strategic plan, specifically the ongoing challenges we face, including, but not limited to:

  • Bank consolidation;
  • Competition (bank & association);
  • Member CEO succession;
  • Shift in demographics;
  • Increased banking regulation;
  • Fintech; and
  • Industry image.

We are working to address these challenges in the context of the impact they have on the sustainability of the industry and the sustainability of the association. 

As an example, there are several initiatives currently underway focused on recruiting the next generation of bankers and advocating for regulatory relief. We are working on several strategies to put these goals into action immediately:

1. Recruiting Next-Generation Bankers.
This is an integral goal for the association and industry’s broader sustainability. It is important that we do what we can to recruit the next generation of bankers and offer them the knowledge and education that they need to succeed - education about what our banks do for their communities, what our association does in coordination with our member banks to further the industry in connecting to different recruiting audiences, and the role that banking plays in shaping the global economy.

At the retreat in August, the board approved the association’s involvement with two organizations that will help the industry in connecting to different recruiting audiences: Bankwork$ and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors’ (CSBS’) Case Study Competition.

We recently signed an agreement with BankWork$ and their local training partner, Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. (OIC), to participate in their workforce development program. BankWork$ offers adults from low-income and minority communities the opportunity to become trained for positions in the banking industry through an intensive eight-week class. The program trains qualified entry-level bank tellers, customer service representatives and personal banker candidates. It has a solid placement rate with its graduates, boosting recruitment efforts within local banks and financial institutions.

For the past two years, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) has encouraged college students from across the country to explore community banking by partnering with local banks to conduct
original case studies. In its first year, only one Pennsylvania university partnered with one financial institution to participate in this competition, but last year, four Pennsylvania colleges/universities partnered with four PA Bankers members. We are committed to expanding the number of Pennsylvania participants. 

By participating in these programs, the association will have the opportunity to educate future bankers and connect them with Pennsylvania banks, all the while helping to maintain our industry’s sustainability. PA Bankers is also in the preliminary stages of discussions with the Pennsylvania School Boards Association on how the two organizations can work together to improve access to financial literacy programming in schools.

2. Advocacy
With the uncertainty in the regulatory world, it is more important than ever that we take the time to reach out to our legislators to show them the important role that banks play within their communities and in the economy. Our Fall Recognition Breakfasts this October include a dynamic discussion about getting into grassroots, including advocacy trends and best practices. There are several other easy ways
that the association and its members can contact local legislators, including:

  • Contributing to PaBPAC State;
  • Tweeting at your legislator;
  • Sending a pre-written letter;
  • Calling your legislator;
  • Creating your own letter;
  • Visiting your legislator in his/her office;
  • Inviting your legislator to your bank;
  • Helping to conduct a PaBPAC campaign in your bank;
  • Participating in a PA Bankers gov't relations advisory committee; and
  • Offering your experience to a campaign.

Your bank’s community activities also have a tremendous impact on attracting the attention of local elected officials, but we must do more to both synthesize and collectively report out on these efforts. I encourage you to think visually about your efforts, not just in the form of a giant check, but in community action-oriented ways that show true engagement and interaction (i.e., a group of bank employees at work at the local food bank). Please have regular conversations with your legislators, let your community know what you do to support them, and do not forget to send us photos and stories so that we can show the power of the industry as a whole! 

With the help of our new officers and the 2017-18 PA Bankers Board of Directors, I believe that we can have another fantastic year. Let’s work to strengthen our communities, recruit the next-generation banker and advocate for regulatory relief. Finally, I would like to thank all of our banks and volunteers for making 2016-17 such a great year, and I look forward
to working with all of you as we continue to better our industry.

Thank you,


Duncan Campbell
President & CEO